Rental Cars Prove To Be A Financial Pitfall On e–Toll Roads

Alap Naik Desai

Rental cars have always been one of the best modes of customized public transport. Similarly electronic techniques of collection of tolls have greatly simplified the process. However, when these two collide, car renters have discovered that the results are highly unsavory and financially burdening.

With the introduction of electronic toll highways, traveling on toll roads was supposed to have become a pleasure for harried drivers who had to face multiple problems. Cities and Road Development authorities promised super–smooth highways devoid of continually glaring brake lights, lines of cars and fumbling for coins. Car owners merely had to get electronic transponders, while toll booths had special license plate readers to charge the owners directly on their credit cards.

However, rental cars do not have a direct owner behind the wheel and this is where things started to get complicated, which was unfortunately liberally abused by multiple parties to fleece the customers who approached the car rental companies to seek personalized transportation.

Driving a rental car in an unfamiliar city on an road that only accepts toll via electronic and automated techniques can and has become a nightmare. Interestingly, many of these roads do not even have "cash" lanes for drivers who wish to pay via the traditional method or who are customers of a car rental company. As there are no specific laws governing the collection of tolls from a driver of a rented car, companies are minting money from unsuspecting customers.

Under the guise of "service charges" many customers have been slapped with a steep charge for driving on an e–toll road while using a vehicle from a rental car company. Since the Violation Management Services overlooks the process of toll–collection, Seattle attorney Averil Rothrock got a nasty shock when she had rented a car from Fox Rent A Car. For a mere $3 toll that she couldn't pay on the e–toll road for lack of a "cash" lane, she had to foot a bill of $106 on a round trip to Denver. The amount reflected two $3 tolls and two $50 "service fees". This resulted in a class action law–suit which was settled in a surprisingly quick manner.

However, the law suit has spurred many an amendments in the charges levied while using a vehicle from a rental car company, reports Fox Business. But, as always it is recommended to be extra cautious about rental cars when planning a trip that may involve e–toll roads.

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