NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) — Zipcar Inc. has agreed to settle
a case involving allegations of charging New York consumers illegal damage fees
for rental vehicles, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced.
New York law mandates if rental car companies
mean to pursue charges for damages to their vehicles, they must give consumers
the opportunity to dispute the complaint. Schneiderman’s office alleges Zipcar failed to follow this requirement. The company sometimes purportedly charged
consumers damage fees before notifying them of the charges.
“Consumers should never learn that they have been accused of
damaging a rental car when they see a surprise charge on their credit card
statement,” Schneiderman said. “New Yorkers have a right to contest damage fees
before any penalties are assessed, and my office will continue to enforce the
law to ensure that customers are treated fairly.”
Zipcar will refund any damage charges assessed against
consumers who disputed their responsibility for the damage. Additionally, the
company will pay the Attorney General’s Office $35,000 for fees and costs.
Zipcar agreed, in the future, it will not charge consumers for vehicle
damage unless they affirmatively agree they are liable or Zipcar obtains legal
determination of liability.