(Headline from college boy Jonathan Rauch.)
And here’s the press release:
“Herrera sues Hertz for bilking customers with hidden Golden Gate Bridge ‘toll service’ fees
Thousands of unwitting Hertz customers routinely charged $32.25 for a single bridge crossing. Case brought to counter long-standing problem and compensate victims.
SAN FRANCISCO (March 2, 2017) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today sued the Hertz Corporation and its business partner for misleading customers and engaging in unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices by charging steep fees for a “toll service” to unwitting rental car customers who cross the Golden Gate Bridge.
Hertz is fraudulently and deceptively inducing its customers who drive across San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge to purchase an “optional” toll service called PlatePass, according to the lawsuit Herrera filed Wednesday, March 1, in San Francisco Superior Court.
On other California toll bridges, PlatePass is an optional service that permits Hertz customers to bypass cash toll lanes and use the faster electronic FasTrak lanes without having to establish a FasTrak account.
But on the Golden Gate Bridge, ever since it went cashless four years ago, Hertz customers neither choose the service, nor receive sufficient notice to avoid it. They neither receive its supposed benefits, nor consent to its charges. Instead, by simply driving over the Golden Gate Bridge a single time, as millions of tourists do each year, Hertz customers are charged not only the undiscounted toll rate of $7.50, but up to $24.75 in extra fees. For many customers, that means a $32.25 bill to cross the bridge one time — more than four times the toll rate.
Worse, Hertz does not charge and disclose these fees on the receipt it provides to customers upon the close of the rental, but instead provides its customers’ confidential personal credit card information to a third party who slips in the charge at a later date.
“These practices are not only unfair; they’re unlawful,” Herrera said. “Rather than Hertz putting you in the driver’s seat, they’re taking their customers to the cleaners. I am not going sit back and allow one of the largest rental car companies on the planet to take advantage of a world-renowned San Francisco icon to rip off thousands of California visitors and residents. This lawsuit is designed to put a stop to this illegal scheme and force the companies involved to pay their victims back.”