AG: Michigan car rental company misled customers, violated law

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

State Attorney General Dana Nessel is seeking action against a Michigan-based rental car company that has allegedly violated laws and misled customers, including those involving withheld or delayed return of damage deposits.

Nessel's department and the Better Business Bureau have fielded more than 400 complaints against Executive Car Rental, including from 44 states, a Canadian province and Germany, officials said in a statement Tuesday.

The bureau started investigating the firm in October after an influx of nearly 90 complaints, according to the release.

There were nine in 2017, and the 330 last year represented 96 percent of complaints it received in Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, the bureau noted. There are now 55 cases pending.

“This serious increase in complaints over a short time is disconcerting," said Melanie Duquesnel, BBB president and CEO. "When consumers rent a car, they need to know what they are getting and how much it will cost. It should be absolutely crystal clear.”

The Attorney General's office began checking the company in November "after receiving a steady volume of complaints from Michigan and out-of-state consumers," investigators said.

Most of the complaints to the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division involved the Romulus location, which serves several Detroit Metro Airport travelers.  

In a notice of intended action and a cease and desist order issued Friday, Nessel noted several alleged violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act, including "making a representation of fact or statement of fact material to the transaction such that a person reasonably believes the represented or suggested state of affairs to be other than it actually is."

Many of the concerns relate to damage deposits of $250 or more that were allegedly not returned on time or withheld for questionable reasons. 
“Michigan companies have a legal obligation to tell the truth,” Nessel said. “When they don’t, our residents count on us to enforce the law.”
Officials with Executive Car Rental, which has 12 locations in Michigan and four in Florida, could not be reached for comment. 

According to its website, the company's "primary goal is to provide you with a rental vehicle that suits your needs at a rate you can afford, and we’ve been achieving that goal for over 10 years.

If the company does not respond by Feb. 6, Nessel plans to file a lawsuit to seek damages on behalf of affected consumers.