New Zealand Rental Car Companies Fined for Bogus Charges

After charging tourists for vehicle repairs that never occurred or were exaggerated, two New Zealand rental car companies have been fined, according to Stuff.

Fines of $36,500 were imposed in February on Euro Car Rental NZ Ltd and Affinity Car Rentals NZ Ltd of Christchurch, New Zealand and their shareholders and directors in the Christchurch District Court in February. They had earlier pleaded guilty to 18 representative charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act.

After complaints from customers, a Commerce Commission investigation of the two firms last year found Euro Car credit-card charges relating to repairs for damage that either had not happened or had been exaggerated. Some customers were also charged extras, such as administration and off-road fees, which were not covered in the rental agreements.

Others said they had booked late-model cars, but were given cars up to eight years old.

Judge Jane Farish said the offending was mostly directed at overseas tourists.

The judge ordered Euro Car Rental to pay a $20,000 fine and $3,725 in reparation to affected customers. Affinity Car Rentals was fined $1,500 and ordered to pay reparation of $2,025. Kylee Harris, director for the companies, was fined $10,000, while her husband was fined $5,000. They were also ordered to each pay $600 in solicitors' fees and $130 in court costs.

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