Hertz and Thrifty to pay $1.25M fine

OTTAWA — Car rental companies Hertz Canada Ltd. and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Canada Inc. have agreed to pay a total of $1.25 million in penalties following an investigation into their advertising by the federal Competition Bureau.

The law enforcement agency said Hertz and Dollar Thrifty were advertising prices that were unattainable because of mandatory fees that were systematically added to a customer’s bill.

The bureau said the additional fees could increase the final price by as much as 10 to 57 per cent.

The agency also said some of the fees were described in a way that implied that they were mandatory taxes or surcharges imposed by various governments when they were not.

In addition to the monetary penalty, Hertz and Dollar Thrifty have agreed to implement a program to improve their procedures, the bureau said.

However, the settlement did not contain any admission of wrongdoing by the companies.

Hertz Global Holdings Inc., the corporate parent of both companies, said that before the investigation it had no records of complaints about the issue from Canadian customers.

“Hertz’s practice in respect of prices, fees and discounts has long been consistent with industry practice, however we have co-operated with CCB in agreeing to make the required pricing and disclosure changes,” the company said in a statement.

Last year, car rental companies Avis and Budget agreed to pay $3 million in penalties plus $250,000 towards the bureau’s investigative costs to resolve similar concerns over unattainable prices due to additional mandatory fees.

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