A man is suing The Hertz Corp. in a lawsuit that could resolve the question of whether renters' credit cards can be charged, without their consent, for toll road use, according to theNewspaper.com.
In a federal lawsuit, North Carolina resident Dwight Simonson is suing Hertz for allowing the photo enforcement firm American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to place charges on the credit cards of customers without their consent.
Simonson had rented a Hertz automobile in Orlando, Florida in 2009 and was later billed $10.75 by ATS for a 75 cent toll. Since 2005, Hertz and ATS have operated a program called PlatePass. The program allows renters to use toll roads with a built-in payment system. But Simonson says the program is intended to defraud renters, and travelers have stated the automatic billing for various forms of traffic fines can be excessive.
Simonson complains that all Hertz renters are automatically enrolled in the PlatePass program without notice. Automatic service fees can be $2.50 to $3 per day, even on days they do not use any toll roads. Customers only see the credit card charges after they return their rental car.
The suit alleges breach of contract, violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, and "unjust enrichment to stop defendants from continuing on their unlawful course of conduct and to recover for ascertainable monetary losses defendants have caused to him and class members."
PlatePass is never specifically identified on the standard agreement that Hertz renters sign. The agreement does not mention that the fees are automatically imposed even when the service is not used. The agreement specifies fees and taxes including a $7.49 per gallon charge for gasoline if the vehicle is not returned with a full tank. No such amounts are given for the ATS administrative fees.
Had he known of the charges, Simonson said he would not have rented from Hertz.
ATS spokesman Charles Territo noted that signs at the Hertz counter and window stickers in the vehicle further clarify the terms and conditions that apply to the program.