Had a bad rental car experience?

Know someone hurt by an unsafe rental car? Tell us your story here.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car company, which also owns National and Alamo, has been putting their customers’ lives at risk by renting out cars that are so unsafe, they are being recalled by the manufacturer. We believe you should not have to worry about your family’s safety just because the rental car company neglected to get an unsafe car fixed.

But — Enterprise  disagrees. They want to be allowed to keep renting and selling unsafe cars. Especially over major holidays.That’s when they may run out of safe cars, and can’t meet the increased demand without resorting to cars that are under a recall.

     That’s why we’re fighting to prevent tragic incidents like the one that resulted in the deaths of Jacqueline and Raechel Houck, ages 20 and 24, who were killed by an unsafe Enterprise rental car — that was under a safety recall. They were told they were getting an “upgrade.” Instead, they were being rented a vehicle that caught on fire and caused their deaths. It also put others who shared the roads in danger. Enterprise received the safety recall notice from Chrysler about 30 days before Raechel and Jacquie showed up, but continued to rent the car anyway, without bothering to fix it first.

To its credit, Hertz said that it does NOT rent vehicles that are under a safety recall. Hertz is supporting the Raechel and Jacquie Houck Rental Car Safety Act, that would require rental car companies to ground unsafe, recalled cars until they are fixed. Unfortunately, Enterprise is opposed to the legislation and has been working behind the scenes to kill it.

How can you guard against unsafe, recalled rental cars?

     Don’t rely on what the clerk behind the counter tells you. Unfortunately, they have a conflict of interest and may not even know the answer, or may lie.

If you have a smart phone or other device with internet access, get the Vehicle Identification Number of the car the rental car company is offering to rent to you. Go to the manufacturer’s website and in the search box, enter “safety recall.” Then enter the VIN number to see if there’s a pending safety recall, or if the repairs have been completed.

If you don’t have access to the internet, ask the clerk to use the company’s computer to check the manufacturer’s website and print off the report on the car, including the VIN, and hand it to you. Make sure the VIN on the report matches the VIN on the car. It should be on a tag on the dashboard, and also on a sticker on the driver’s door jamb.

Take action — how can you stop rental car roulette?

Protect yourself and your family. Insist on checking the VIN for safety recalls before you sign anything.

If you reserved your car online through an airline or another website — they have clout with the rental car companies. Comment on the airline’s Facebook page that you want them to ensure that their contract with the rental car company prohibits renting cars that are under a safety recall.

Complain on the rental car company’s Facebook page about their policies. If they hear from enough of us, they will have to stop trying to kill the safety law, and ground unsafe cars until they’re fixed.

     Would you “Like” Enterprise and other companies to stop renting unsafe vehicles?
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