It took the death of two sisters in an accident involving a defective Chrysler PT Cruiser to focus national attention on a long-standing practice at Enterprise Rent a Car – renting out vehicles included in manufacturers’ recall lists. That practice could soon come to an end.
Two consumer safety groups are joining hands with the mother of the two victims, to petition the Federal Trade Commission to get Enterprise to repair recalled vehicles before renting them out to unsuspecting consumers. The two sisters were killed in an accident when the Enterprise rental car they were driving, crashed. The car had been recalled by Chrysler for a power steering fluid leakage problem, but Enterprise rented it to them anyway.
The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Enterprise. During the trial, former employees of Enterprise testified that the company had no policy in place preventing the renting out of recalled vehicles. In fact, it was a given at Enterprise that employees could place a recalled car for rent, when other cars were not available. The family of the two women was awarded $15 million. Even more valuable was the admission by Enterprise that its negligence caused the death of the sisters.
Now, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety and the Center for Auto Safety have filed a request with the Federal Trade Commission. They are seeking an order to get Enterprise to fix all recalled vehicles on its lots before these are rented to customers.
Enterprise Holdings Inc. is the country’s largest rental car company, and accounts for one-third of the total auto rental business in the US and Canada. It includes the National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car brands, and these cars are rented to millions of people every year. These customers may be at risk of death or serious injury if they drive a recalled vehicle.
With the number of auto recalls announced every day, Los Angeles auto accident lawyers know it’s not possible for the ordinary American consumer to keep track of each and every recall. Enterprise needs to reevaluate its policies to completely prohibit the renting of any vehicle that features on manufacturers’ recall lists, unless the vehicle is repaired.