After repeatedly answering reader complaints about the “shady inner workings” of car rental agencies in the U.S, nationally syndicated New York Post financial columnist John Crudele is calling for an investigation into unethical business practices industrywide. Crudele noted that the industry may be ripe for “an enterprising attorney” willing to pursue a class action lawsuit.
Travelers who have not been hit by hidden fees or gouged for “compulsory” services when returning a rental car, likely know someone who has. Now, New York Post syndicated columnist John Crudele is saying what many frequent flyers have suspected for years – the car rental industry might not be the most ethical game in town.
“Sure, you get great deals on car rentals,” Crudele wrote in his latest “Dear John” column on January 13. “And then you get ripped off on the return.”
The longtime business reporter was responding to a reader complaint that Avis unfairly charged nearly $20 for putting gas into a car that he had returned with a full tank. Crudele noted that this wasn’t the first time this sort of “shady” car rental practice had been brought to his attention.
“Look, I’ve been on this case for a long time,” he explained. “The car rental industry needs to be investigated. Or some enterprising attorney needs to file a class action suit against the lot of them because of their business practices. The truth is, there is no way to fill a gas tank up to the brim. No safe way, at least. I’ve tried. And no matter how much gas you put in the tank, you still have to drive some distance to return the car. If you’ve picked the option to return the car full — or pay for the gas they have to add — then you are always going to get charged. And the last time this happened to me the charge was $10 a gallon.”
Even with the media attention, it appears that Avis was unwilling to budge on the questionable fee. The columnist, however, reassured the reader that he was not unreasonable to be upset by a charge of $19.17.
“Twenty dollars from you,” he lamented. “Twenty from someone else. Twenty from a million customers, and it starts to add up.”
[Image: Flickr/Atomic Taco]