A man from Lakewood, Ohio just spent two years and a whole lot of money to fight a $13.99 charge from Budget rent-a-car. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Steve Eder in the article “Small car-rental fee leads to big court fight,” plaintiff Michael Salling has just lost his two year battle. He rented a Hyundai Elantra from Cleveland Hopkins airport’s Budget rent-a-car counter. After driving for 64 miles, he filled up the car’s gas tank and returned it to Budget.
Unfortunately, he didn’t read the fine print in his contract that said he not only needed to fill up the gas tank, but he needed to produce a receipt for the gas that he put in the car. Salling was charged $13.99 under the company’s EZFUEL program. This definitely isn’t the first time that someone has been unhappy with their car rental company, as people have been unhappy with the car insurance and many other issues related to car rental contracts.
A Northern District of Ohio judge ruled after Salling’s lawsuit in August 2009 that Budget did not breach its contract or commit any type of fraud. The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals also sided with Budget and said that Salling’s payment of the $13.99 fee was voluntary, even though he said it was forced. Unfortunately, we do see a lot of companies making money off of their added fees rather than their original business. This lawsuit will not make any changes in that harsh reality though.
Tags: car insurance