Major car rental companies in Tasmania, Australia announced Jan. 7 that renters who abandon their rental vehicles because of the bushfires in the area will not be held responsible for penalty rates, according to The Mercury.
Avis, Budget, Europcar, Red Spot and Thrifty said customers will be charged for their rental until Jan. 4 or when they inform the company they are unable to return the vehicle.
Brad Aldcroft, IT and special projects manager for Redspot, told Auto Rental News that some companies were charging customers full daily costs until cars were returned. “It has brought up a bit of an internal discussion on the moral responsibilities car rental companies have when it comes to natural disasters,” he said.
According to Aldcroft, Redspot didn’t lose any vehicles to fires, though many homes have been destroyed in Tasmania and New South Wales.
“It’s causing a mess with our fleet availability as many customers have been forced to abandon their vehicles and evacuate by boat or helicopter,” he said, adding that the company used its Facebook and Twitter accounts to help send messages out to customers.
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What do you think is the responsibility of car rental customers in these types of natural disasters? Feel free to comment below.