Hertz charged 'unethical fees,' class action says

By Shaun Zinck | Jun 18, 2015

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (Legal Newsline) - A major rental car company is facing accusations in a class action lawsuit that it charged customers “unethical fees” to rent their vehicles.

Dawn Cooks and Emma Bradley filed the lawsuit on May 1 in St. Clair County Circuit Court in Illinois against Hertz Corp., claiming they were “compelled” by Hertz to pay two types of fees. The defendant removed the case to federal court on June 10.

One of the fees is the “energy surcharge” and the other is a fee to recover the cost of vehicle registration, the lawsuit said. The fees are charged in both Illinois and Missouri, and are “improper, deceptive and unethical,” according to the lawsuit.

Hertz said the fees are to reimburse it for some costs, but the plaintiffs claim the fees charged “greatly exceed” the costs and are meant to generate the company a profit.

The lawsuit claims Hertz instituted the energy surcharge fee in order to offset rising energy costs. However, the fee was allegedly imposed when energy costs were going down, the lawsuit claims.

The plaintiffs are seeking class action for those in Illinois and Missouri who rented cars from Hertz. The suit is also seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

The plaintiffs are represented by Richard S. Cornfeld of the Law Office of Richard S. Cornfeld in St. Louis; Richard S. Bender and David G. Bender of Rosenblum Goldenhersh in St. Louis; and Anthony S. Bruning and Anthony S. Bruning Jr. of Leritz, Plunkert & Bruning, P.C. of St. Louis.

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