Proposed Policies Regarding Recalled Rental Cars Insufficient

In past posts, we’ve reported that rental car agencies regularly lease recalled cars without fixing the underlying safety issue behind the recall. There have been a number of attempts to fix this problem, including a joint petition filed with the FTC by two consumer groups asking that the FTC investigate the situation, legislation introduced in March by Senator Charles Schumer that would require rental agencies to immediately remove from circulation all recalled cars, and a California bill aimed at reducing the number of recalled rental cars on the road.

In April, in response to the growing concerns regarding the continued leasing of recalled vehicles and the safety concerns this practice poses to consumers, the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), which represents nearly 100 rental car agencies, issued a proposal intended to address the situation. Under the proposal, a system would be set up that would allow rental car agencies to assess the seriousness of an automobile recall and then determine whether or not to remove the recalled car from the road.

As explained in this Reuters article, according to Senator Charles Schumer, the proposal is insufficient and doesn’t go far enough to protect consumers:

Schumer said the association’s proposal would “create a vague double standard that defines some recalled cars as safe and others as dangerous,” allowing “these companies to shirk their responsibility to consumers’ safety.”

Schumer said ACRA’s proposal would allow each rental car company to set its own policy, which would lead to unsafe cars being rented out.

Schumer raises some very valid concerns. Safety should always come first, but judging from this proposal, it seems that ACRA is more concerned with profits and earnings over safety. The safety of consumers should always trump the convenience and profit of rental car agencies. Hopefully, instead of the lax standards proposed by ACRA, Schumer’s legislation and the other measures that we’ve discussed in the past will be passed, automobile accidents involving recalled rental cars will be prevented and lives will be saved.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 600-0000 and howard@ankinlaw.com.