Hertz, Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Dollar and Enterprise are all household names for daily rental cars. The ease and convenience of pay-per-day driving is a blessing to the traveler, whether on business or for pleasure. On the other hand, we've all returned from a trip saying, "Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there." The same can be said of rental cars.
Despite what the car companies say, daily rental drivers just don’t treat those cars and trucks like their own. All too many otherwise responsible people don’t bother about running up over a curb, leaving gum in the cupholder, slamming on the brakes or stripping the gears. Day after day, someone unfamiliar with the vehicle is at the controls. Innumerable poor driving incidents will go unnoticed at the end of the day. We even heard about one fellow who drove off with the gas pump nozzle still connected to the fuel tank, ripping the fuel cap hinge off in the process. Although possibly invisible on return to Hertz or Avis, these small defects add up over the short eventful life of a Prior Daily Rental. And that’s not all. A predictably large percentage of PDRs (as Prior Daily Rentals are known in the trade) come out of service in two states: Florida and Hawaii. These two locales are great for a holiday, but the environment is tough on any car or truck. Rust and corrosion are common problems with Prior Daily Rentals. Most troublesome is the fact that many rental cars and trucks are in serious accidents involving body and frame damage that diminish the safety and overall life of the vehicle.
Did you ever stop to think what happens to all of those prior daily rental cars? After somewhere between 15,000 and 30,000 miles on the odometer, they are taken out of fleet service and shipped throughout the 50 states. They then re-enter the marketplace in a wide variety of used car markets. Some are resold at dealer-only auctions.
Consumer protection laws in California require that Prior Daily Rentals must be disclosed as such. It is a clear violation of law to knowingly fail to disclose a vehicle’s history as a PDR. Why? The public policy behind the law is clear: the fact is important to the decision to buy or not to buy a particular car or truck, and certainly material to the price someone would pay. Some experts say the difference in value is 20-25% -- but many consumers say they would not buy a PDR at any price. The risk of frame damage, invisible rust or corrosion, and just plain poor driving habits day-in and day-out over the vehicle history are deterrents about which most used car buyers really want to know. The failure to make the disclosure required by law at the time of sale is deceptive; and when a single dealer makes a pattern of this concealment, that can be a deceptive business practice.
Unfortunately, cars often change hands only to have the title sent later in the mail, or even worse, sent only to the bank as lienholder. Used car buyers should protect themselves against these deceptive practices by ordering a CarFax report when they buy a used car.Whether we handle a PDR non-disclosure case as an individual matter or a class action, a CarFax report is one step in our investigation.
If you bought a low-mileage used car that seems to suffer from a high level of driveability or suspension problems, rust or corrosion, small dents and dings – not to mention that dangling fuel cap hinge – give us a call.