A class action lawsuit filed in Seattle, Washington claims Fox Rent a Car and Violation Management Services illegally scammed rental car customers by charging them as much as 16 times the amount of automatically collected highway tolls incurred during the course of their car rental.
Fox Rent a Car vehicles are equipped with automated equipment that records the vehicle’s passage through a highway toll so that drivers can proceed non-stop without having to pay the toll at the time of use. Fox is later billed for the toll by highway authorities.
According to the Fox Rent a Car class action lawsuit, Fox and other rental car companies have several options available to ensure they do not incur toll charges in the first place and/or that they are able to recoup the actual cost of toll charges incurred by customers during the course of the rental.
FOX Caught Red Handed
This includes registering their fleets’ plates with “EXpress Toll” so that their renters’ tolls will be automatically applied to the rental agreement, paying the toll and then collecting the actual cost of the toll from the customer, or responding to toll bills by providing the issuing authority information regarding the rental so that the toll can be collected by the issuing authority directly from the customer.
Fox does not use any of these options, however, and has chosen instead to conspire with Violation Management Services “to turn Fox customers’ tolls into an illegal profit center for themselves,” the class action lawsuit says.
Rather than taking advantage of any of these collection options, “Fox has retained Violation Management Services to act as its alleged ‘administrator and processor’ of such tolls. Pursuant to this arrangement, VMS unilaterally charges customers’ credit cards for the amount of the tolls, plus an exorbitant ‘service fee’ – possibly varying in amount but sometimes exceeding 1600% of the actual toll.
This ‘service fee’ is not authorized by customers, is not properly disclosed to customers, far exceeds any actual cost to Fox and/or VMS for the collection of the toll, is arbitrary and unreasonable, and is accompanied by numerous false and deceptive statements about the alleged right to collect the ‘service fee.’
“The ‘service fee’ is nothing other than an illegal scam to collect from customers amounts that they do not owe. Indeed, VMS makes no bones about its practices, having indicated on its website that its business is to turn the collection of such tolls ‘into a profitable customer service solution.’
VMS further shares the spoils of its illegally-collected ‘service fees’ with the rental car companies with whom it contracts, offering to pay them a kickback in the form of a ‘summons incentive . . . for each service fee collected’ from customers,” states the class action lawsuit.
The class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of all Washington residents or entities who, within the applicable limitations period, have been charged a “service fee” by VMS in connection with the incurrence or alleged incurrence of automatic highway tolls during the course of a vehicle rental from Fox. It is asking for damages to class members, including a full refund of any money they paid for “service fees” and tolls.
A copy of the Fox Rent a Car and Violation Management Services Class Action Lawsuit can be read here. The case is Averil Rothrock, et al. v. Violation Management Services, Inc. and Fox Rent a Car, Inc., Case No. 11-2-18292-4 SEA, Superior Court of Washington for King County, Seattle Division.
Masoud Mirtorabi (Mark), Mansour Jaberi (Mike), Ali Rezapour (Allen) Owners of Fox Rent A Car who also control, manage and direct activities for an umbrella of companies in the industry including Pay Low Rent A Car Inc who is a franchisee of Payless Rent A Car, MAM Holding LLC, Certified Auto body Inc, Bayport Car Rental Inc and probably more.
California's Attorney General Sues FOX
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.
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.
More Customer Complaints
I rented an SUV from Fox Rent a Car for a week followed by a sedan for five days. When I returned the SUV, I was told the reservation for the sedan starts the next day. I agreed to pay for one more day but the price that was quoted was $163 for first day (which they claimed was my mistake) and $135 for next 4 days combined.
Why would I book a car, return it in one week and pick up a replacemrent car the next day? Then they refused to let me use up the time I had paid for with the SUV by saying he had already closed the contract. They they refused to let me see a phone book so I could make other arrangements with another company. Then they refused to send us back to airport and we had to wait half hour to see two shuttles come and go. Then we walked a lot to find a taxi (with a huge and heavy box in my arms).
This is a FRAUDULENT company. Stay away.
I would like a full refund
I was very disappointed with my experience at Fox Rental. I arrived in San Francisco to discover that they had overbooked the economy cars and that all they had available was a mini-van. So, I took the mini-van temporarily and was told to come back when they got more cars in to switch out the car.
It is extremely hard to park a mini-van in San Francisco! The next day I went back to exchange the car. There was a 2-3 hour line to get through just to talk with an agent. Also, the previous day the agent gave me a card with contact numbers to call for assistance. This was a dead end number that nobody ever picked up on. So I had to leave messages.
On another number I found they kept putting me on hold and not picking back up. Once I finally did get my new car (hours later taking up much vacation time, and still not getting an economy car) we were on our way down to Big Sur. This car (a PT cruiser) was much better, but it turned out that the air bag light/chime would go off repeatedly throughout the next couple of days.
I cannot tell you the stress of being in a strange car and having to worry the airbags might go off at any time while you are driving along a cliff near the ocean. Having to listen to the very loud chime noise over and over and over really sucked as well. Additionally, the power plug in the car provided did not work so we were not able to listen to any music in Big Sur. Overall it took quite a lot away from our supposed relaxing vacation. Frankly, I would like a full refund, but I have heard nothing back in response to my complaint.
They said that I didn't return the car!
Never rent a car from Fox Rental car unless you want to ruin your trip. I rent a car from Fox for my Las Vegas trip for 3 days from 09/03/2011 to 09/06/2011. I returned the car to the office on time on 09/06/2011. A week later I've got a call from fox and they said that I didn't return the car.
I told them that I did return it. Another week they send me a letter and said I still didn't return the car (sic.) I tried to call their office for about 2 or 3 hours and no one answer the phone. I don't know why a big company like fox but no one answer the phone or at least they have an answering machine.
After, hundreds of call, i finally get someone answer me and she told me that the car was returned but 1 week late (???????) and she told me to ignore the letter. Today I've just check my credit card which I gave them when I rent the car there is a long list of charge that I don;t know where it came from. I tried to call them but still the same, no one answer the phone.
Below the the list of extra charge.
SEP 17, 2011 FOX RENT A CAR LAS VEG LAS VEGAS NV Car Rental $81.54 SEP 14, 2011 FOX RENT A CAR LAS VEG LAS VEGAS NV Car Rental $34.58 SEP 14, 2011 FOX RENT A CAR LAS VEG LAS VEGAS NV Car Rental $35.00 SEP 13, 2011 FOX RENT A CAR LAS VEG LAS VEGAS NV Car Rental $34.58 SEP 13, 2011 FOX RENT A CAR LAS VEG LAS VEGAS NV Car Rental $69.16 SEP 10, 2011 FOX RENT A CAR LAS VEG LAS VEGAS NV Car Rental $24.29 SEP 07, 2011 FOX RENT A CAR LAS VEG LAS VEGAS NV Car Rental $150.00
Fox Car Rental is a scam company and should be out of business.
Do not rent a car from them.
Service is Just Not Trustworthy
We decided to give a try for Fox rent a car because of the cost...Yet, should haven known - you get what you pay for.
So we made a reservation online with a pick up time. We got there about two hours before the scheduled pick up time and were told that since we are ahead of schedule we would get a different vehicle for, of course, a higher price.
We suggested that we cancel the original one and make a new reservation, but of course, they said that wouldn't work. So we got this jeep that is much bigger than we needed, which is bad on gas mileage.
We returned the car as scheduled, and they came look at the fuel and everything, and told us to go to the front desk to check out. A gentleman said that since their system is down, he can't provide a receipt but the charge will be the same as when we reserved the car.
A week later, we got a letter in mail saying that our car was short of gas when we returned it, and they charged our credit card for $40. Now we know it is impossible as we filled the car right on the airport boulevard which is less than a mile from them.
As I called to dispute, the manager told me to fax him the gas receipt that we filled it. Not sure what would do as the receipt wouldn't tell if we filled the car or not?? I told him that I wouldn't do it as I just don't have the time.
I was reading the other comment about Fox trying to charge them for car damages three months after the rental...Their service is just not trustworthy. I wouldn't use them again.