Senator: Stop Over-Charging by Airport RACs

When the California State Legislature recently reconvened for its 2008 legislative session in Sacramento, State Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco/North Bay) immediately introduced legislation to protect rental customers from being overcharged at California airports, the California Chronicle reports.

Migden's SB 1057 would repeal 2006 legislation which has allowed companies to overcharge California consumers by millions of dollars—$24 million in 2007 alone. Migden said she also intends to prohibit car rental companies from passing on to consumers costs of funding the California Travel and Tourism Commission, a cost that the rental car companies were supposed to impose on themselves.

In a last-minute "gut and amend" in 2006 rental car companies operating out of California airports agreed to increase tourism assessments that they contribute to the budget of the CTTC, in exchange for being allowed to "unbundle" (separately list) their fees when the companies advertise or quote rates, for example, on the Internet.

One of the fees that the rental car companies have to pay, a fee they wanted to unbundled, is the charge that airports levy on them. That airport concession fee is typically about 11 percent of the rental price.

The University of San Diego School of Law's Center for Public Interest Law filed a class action anti-trust case against seven rental car firms in November alleging that the add-on charges were the product of unlawful and collusive private price fixing.

According to the California Chronicle, Migden's legislation also requires rental car companies to provide the legislature with a certified audit of how much additional money they made off of consumers while AB 2592 has been in effect.

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