The US city of San Francisco is taking Hertz to court over rip off charges for Golden Gate Bridge tolls. The lawsuit accuses the car hire supplier of misrepresentation which results in customers paying the maximum US$32.25 (£26) every time they cross the iconic structure.
San Francisco lawyer Dennis Herrera says that what Hertz is doing contravenes laws defining fair business practices for car rental companies. He said the bridge charges were a means of taking clients to the cleaners instead of leaving them in the driving seat when it came to choosing what they wanted to pay for.
The US$32.25 Hertz hirers pay can be quadruple the standard amount charged for vehicles traversing the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco operates an optional system called PlatePass which enables drivers to avoid toll gates at bridges in the bay area and enter preferential fast-track lanes.
Authorities scrapped cash toll gates at the Golden Gate Bridge four years ago. When people driving Hertz cars cross the bridge they are hit for the full no-discount toll of US$7.50 plus another US$24.75 in service fees.
The lawsuit claims Hertz does not inform customers about these charges in advance and they therefore have no choice whether to opt in or opt out. The first time hirers usually get to learn about the Golden Gate surcharges is when they appear on their credit or debit card statements.
American Traffic Solutions handles the billing side of the bridge tolls on behalf of San Francisco. Hertz has not so far released a statement detailing its response to the allegations.