Attorney General Dana Nessel and Better Business Bureau Put Michigan Rental Car Company on Notice
January 31, 2019
LANSING — The Michigan Department of Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau (serving Detroit and Eastern Michigan) have received more than 400 complaints against a rental car company headquartered in Michigan. Executive Car Rental has a total of 12 locations in Michigan and four in Florida. The Department of the Attorney General and the BBB have received complaints from 44 states, one APO, one Canadian province and one from Germany.
On Friday, Jan. 25, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a notice of intended action and a cease and desist order to the car rental company for several alleged violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act, including;
Causing a probability of confusion or of misunderstanding as to the legal rights, obligations, or remedies of a party to a transaction.
Failing to reveal a material fact, the omission of which tends to mislead or deceive the consumer, and which fact could not reasonably be known by the consumer.
Failing, in a consumer transaction that is rescinded, canceled, or otherwise terminated in accordance with the terms of an agreement, advertisement, representation, or provision of law, to promptly restore to the person or persons entitled to it a deposit, down payment, or other payment, or in the case of property traded in but not available, the greater of the agreed value or the fair market value of the property, or to cancel within a specified time or an otherwise reasonable time an acquired security interest.
Making gross discrepancies between the oral representations of the seller and the written agreement covering the same transaction or failure of the other party to the transaction to provide the promised benefits.
Making a representation of fact or statement of fact material to the transaction such that a person reasonably believes the represented or suggested state of affairs to be other than it actually is.
Many of the department’s concerns relate to damage deposits of $250 or more that were allegedly not returned timely. In some instances, deposits were either not returned or were withheld for allegedly questionable reasons.
“Michigan companies have a legal obligation to tell the truth,” Nessel said. “When they don’t, our residents count on us to enforce the law.”
The company went from having nine complaints in 2017 to 330 in 2018 and currently has 55 pending complaints with the BBB. “This serious increase in complaints over a short time is disconcerting. When consumers rent a car, they need to know what they are getting and how much it will cost. It should be absolutely crystal clear” says Melanie Duquesnel, BBB President and CEO.
Similarly, the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division has received complaints from more than 50 people throughout the country and one from Germany, most of which were in reference to the company’s Romulus location, which serves several airport travelers.
In 2018, 96 percent of complaints BBB serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula received against car rental companies were for Executive Car Rental[MD1][MD2].
Better Business Bureau started an investigation into the company in October 2018 after receiving an influx of nearly 90 complaints. The company was first responsive to those complaints but became unresponsive at the beginning of January.
Similarly, the Department of Attorney General began taking a closer look into the company in November 2018 after receiving a steady volume of complaints from Michigan and out-of-state consumers. The department interviewed several of the complainants and obtained supplemental documentation that led to the notice of intended action.
Nessel will file a lawsuit to seek equitable relief under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act and financial damages on behalf of affected consumers unless Executive Car Rental responds by Feb. 6.