The city of San Francisco and Hertz Corp. have reached a $3.65 million settlement of a lawsuit challenging the company’s former practice of charging allegedly hidden fees to rental car customers who crossed the Golden Gate Bridge.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who filed the lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court in 2017 on behalf of the people of California, announced the settlement on Tuesday.
The lawsuit alleged Hertz violated the state’s false advertising and unfair business practices laws by failing to disclose clearly its fees for electronic payments of bridge tolls and failing to offer customers an opt-out.
Under the former policy in the “PlatePass” program, car renters paid an extra fee of $4.95 per day for each day of rental up to a maximum of $24.75 in addition to the actual toll of about $7 even if they crossed the bridge only once.
While the lawsuit was pending, Hertz changed the policy last year to charge only for each day a bridge is crossed and to allow customers to opt out and pay the toll in other ways. Herrera said the settlement fund will pay for future consumer protection enforcement.
A Hertz spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. The settlement specifies that Hertz does not admit to any wrongdoing.
American Traffic Solutions Inc., which administered the fee program, also participated in the settlement.
In addition to the financial payment, the agreement provides for increased information for customers and training for employees.
Herrera said in a statement, “People leave their hearts in San Francisco. We’ve made sure they don’t have to leave their wallets with Hertz when they do.”
-Julia Cheever, Bay City News