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The car rental company must stop its practices unfair to consumers and provide refunds to eligible customers.
The court’s judgment settles an investigation by the California Attorney General’s Office and the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office into certain business practices at Fox Rent A Car’s locations in California. See Judgment.
The judgment prohibits these practices and provides refunds for customers who were charged extra because of them. For example, if Fox charged you extra for driving outside California, Nevada and Arizona, you are entitled to get back that extra charge. If Fox made you buy liability insurance because you didn’t have an insurance card with you, you may be entitled to get that charge back as well. If you were charged extra for either of these things, you should soon receive a Notice Card in the mail telling what to do to get your refund.
If you had a different problem with Fox and filed a complaint about it, under the Judgment you might get a refund directly from Fox.
This judgment does not affect any other rights you may have regarding Fox.
Records indicate you were a customer of Rent A Car and may be eligible for a refund under consumer protection action brought by the Attorney General and District Attorney. The Complaint, pdf filed by the Attorney General and District Attorney cited a variety of practices unfair to consumers that include:
Charging customers a penalty for driving outside California, Nevada and Arizona,and using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to track renters’ location;
Making renters buy liability insurance if they couldn’t show proof that they already had such a policy; and
Charging customers, long after the rental was over, for damage done to the rental car.
In November 2006, the Attorney General and District Attorney reached agreement with Fox for remedies. Under the Judgment, pdf, and Stipulation, pdf, Fox does not admit that it did anything wrong but the company must stop the practices cited in the consumer protection lawsuit. Fox also must refund money to some of its customers who were charged extra because of the company’s geographical-restriction and insurance-sales practices. According to Fox’s records, you may have been one of those customers. That is why you received the Notice Card from the AG and DA.
Check out the other FAQs for more information on the three groups of renters eligible for a refund and the process for claiming refunds.
The company that printed the original notices made a mistake. The original notices all contained the wrong dollar amount in the sentence, “Fox’s records show that you were charged $______....” The “Corrected Notice” mailed on December 28, 2006, fixes the error and shows the amount on which your claim will be based.
If you have already sent the response card from the first notice, you do not need to file another claim form. If you’re not sure, submit another claim form. Your claim will be counted only once and your refund will be based on the amount shown in the “Corrected Notice” you receive.
The Attorney General and District Attorney believe that the business practices of the Fox rental company violated California law. First, Fox charged renters who drove outside California, Arizona and Nevada a $50 “administrative fee” plus an additional $.35 for every mile after the first 100 miles per day. These charges meant customers had to pay hundreds dollars that had no direct relationship to the increased costs, if any, that driving outside these states cost Fox. Section 1671 of the California Civil Code prohibits companies from charging consumers this kind of “penalty.” Second, Fox customers were made to believe that they had to buy liability insurance if they couldn’t show proof that they were already covered by insurance. Section 1936 of the Civil Code prohibits rental car companies from requiring customers to buy this insurance. Third, some Fox customers filed complaints about the company for other issues – including, for example, being charged long after the rental for windshield damage that they weren’t responsible for. Fox denies that any of its practices violated the law.
There are three groups of renters eligible for refunds. (A renter may qualify for more than one group.)
Geographic Charges – Renters Driving Outside California.
These renters were monitored by Fox using a Global Positioning System (GPS) device and charged for driving outside California, Arizona and Nevada. These rentals occurred between March and November 2004. This group of renters is eligible for a full refund of any extra charge they paid (if they haven’t been reimbursed) for driving outside the three states. These renters will be sent Notice Cards, and will receive restitution checks once they confirm by return postcard that their addresses are correct.
Additional Insurance Charges - Renter’s Liability Insurance
These renters purchased renter’s liability insurance from Fox, believing they had to if they couldn’t show proof that they were already covered by insurance. This group involves rentals between March 1, 2004 and August 31, 2005. These renters are eligible for a refund up to the amount that they paid for the insurance, even if they made a claim under the insurance. Refunds will be made to renters who by return postcard confirm their mailing address and that they believed they were required to buy the additional insurance.
Other Complaints About Fox Rental Company
These renters submitted a valid complaint about Fox – on a subject other than geographical violations – to the California Attorney General’s Office, to the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office, to the Better Business Bureau, or to Fox (including to Fox corporate headquarters, to any Fox office, or to Payless Rent A Car) at any time between January 1, 2003 and November 9, 2006. These renters will receive a refund directly from Fox. Renters who submit a valid complaint about Fox – on a subject other than geographical violations or “renter’s liability protection” insurance – that is received by the Attorney General or District Attorney or Fox by February 7, 2007, will also receive a refund directly from Fox.
Driving Outside California.
If you received a notice about getting a refund of the extra amount you were charged for driving outside California, Nevada and Arizona, you should sign and return the attached postcard to confirm that the Settlement Administrator has your correct address. You will receive a check in the mail for your refund.
Additional Insurance Charges.
If you received a notice about the possibility of getting a refund of the amount you paid for “renter’s liability protection” (RLP) insurance, and you purchased this insurance from Fox because you thought that you had to buy it in order to rent a car, you should check “Yes” on the attached postcard, fill out the address-correction information (if anything is different), and send the card to the Settlement Administrator. You will receive in the mail a check for either the amount you paid for RLP insurance or, if so many people make claims that they cannot all be given full restitution from the amount in the RLP Restitution Fund ($350,000), a pro rata share of the amount in the Fund. If you purchased RLP insurance because you wanted to – not because you believed that you had to in order to rent a car from Fox – then you are not entitled to restitution and you should not return the card.
If you received two cards – one about charges for driving outside the three-state area and one about RLP – then you should fill out and return both of them.
There are several reasons why you may not have received notice from the Settlement Administrator:
Already Received A Refund.
If Fox has already paid you the full amount that you were charged for geographical violations or “renter’s liability protection” (RLP) insurance, or for anything else you made a complaint about, then you are not eligible for a refund.
Didn’t Pay Extra Charges.
If you never paid the extra charge because you successfully disputed it through your credit card issuer, then you are not eligible for a refund.
Rental Not Covered By Period of Legal Action.
If you purchased RLP insurance before January 1, 2004 or after August 31, 2005 and did not make a complaint before November 9, 2006, then you are not eligible for a refund of the amount you paid.
Covered By Direct Refunds.
If you submitted a complaint about Fox to the California Attorney General’s Office, the Better Business Bureau, or Fox itself (including to Fox corporate headquarters, to any Fox office, or to Payless Rent A Car corporate headquarters), between January 1, 2003 and February 7, 2007, you may be eligible to receive a refund directly from Fox. Renters in this category would not receive a Notice Card from the Settlement Administrator.
If you are not covered by any of the categories but feel you are entitled to a refund under conditions of the settlement, feel free to contact the Settlement Administrator, Rosenthal & Co., at 1-800-207-0343.
Checks will be mailed to most of those eligible for refunds no later than April 8, 2007. The refund payments will be handled through the Settlement Administrator named by the court.
Anyone who made or makes a complaint about Fox to the Attorney General’s Office, the Better Business Bureau, or Fox between January 1, 2003 and February 7, 2007, on a subject other than geographical violations or renter’s liability protection insurance, and whose complaint is determined to be valid by the Attorney General and District Attorney, will be paid directly by Fox. Those checks will be mailed once the complaint is reviewed and validated.
Contact the Settlement Administrator, Rosenthal & Co., at 1-800-207-0343.