Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Thursday, September 2, 1999


Will recommend protections for consumers
Wants to end car rental surprises for Labor Day vacationers

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced his appointment as Chair of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) National Task Force on Car Rental Advertising. The Task Force has been charged with examining the advertising practices of the car rental industry in order to make recommendations on what steps the nation's attorneys general can take to ensure that consumers receive accurate, complete information on car rental rates.

"This Labor Day weekend, many consumers will feel sticker shock at car rental counter. We will not tolerate the potentially misleading advertising that hides the true cost of renting a car. Consumers should receive full and accurate information about the cost of car rental before arriving at the rental counter," said Attorney General Cornyn.

Typically, car rental companies advertise a single nationwide rate, quote that rate over the phone or through the Internet. Consumers who actually rent a car are shocked to discover that their actual price could be as much as 75% more because of additional fees and taxes. For example, an investigation showed that a one day car rental in Boston was advertised at $19.99 but, with the additional fees, taxes and surcharges, would have cost $34.09.

Ten years ago, NAAG created guidelines for the car rental industry's advertising. These guidelines required car rental companies to include all mandatory charges, except for sales tax, in their advertised rates. With the rise of Internet use in Texas and the United States, millions of consumers now have the ability to access the same reservation systems used by travel agents and the airlines to make car rental reservations through their home computer.

"We want to make sure that consumers know exactly what their car will cost when they make their reservation," added Cornyn.

It is expected that this Task Force will review the 1989 guidelines, whether the car rental companies have adhered to those guidelines, and make recommendations for amendment or enforcement of the guidelines.

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Contact Ted Delisi, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050