A petition filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calls on the agency to order Enterprise-Rent-A-Car to fix every vehicle subject to a safety recall before renting them. Petitioners are two auto safety consumer groups and the parents of two sisters who died in a recalled rented vehicle that caught fire and crashed. In May 2010, Enterprise admitted negligence in failing to fix a Chrysler PT Cruiser involved in the 2004 crash. A jury awarded the parents $15 million in June.
Clarence Ditlow, executive director for Center for Auto Safety, which was among those filing the August 9, 2010, petition, told a news source that under federal law auto dealers are not allowed to sell a new vehicle without carrying out a safety recall, but no such restrictions are imposed on rental-car companies. “We ought to apply the same logic to rental-car companies,” he was quoted as saying.
An Enterprise spokesperson has reportedly said that the company relies on an automaker’s expertise when deciding whether to “ground” a vehicle before renting it. But Carol Houck, the mother of the two women who died, said she wanted FTC “to order that any safety recall not be discretionary. If the hammer comes down on Enterprise, I would find it surprising if its competitors don’t take notice of that and revise their practices accordingly,” she said. See The New York Times, August 11, 2010.