Rental car company's extra fee for crossing 520

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by JESSE JONES / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @getjesse

KING5.com

Posted on February 28, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 28 at 7:41 PM

Back on November 30, Audra Goetz's totaled her Ford Explorer after a back tire blew out, causing her SUV to spin out and hit the wall.

Goetz decided to get a rental and chose Fox Rent-a-Car.

"Because Fox had the best rates," she explained.

Soon after Audra returned the car, she got a letter from Violation Management Services notifying her about an unpaid 520 toll tallied in the rental car.

"The toll was $3.70 but that they were going to charge me a $40 service charge for using the bridge in their car," she said.

The charge is in the fine print of the rental contract, saying VMS will charge up to $40 for an administrative fee for tolls and parking tickets.

Some of you may be saying she should have seen the fine print. But if you travel, it may not raise a red flag. Lots of rental car companies do charge administrative fees for tolls. But no one we found charges even close to $40 a trip. Enterprise Rental Car charges a $2.00 administrative fee each trip, after three trips there's no additional charge beyond the toll. Hertz Rental Car charges an additional $2.95 fee per day if you cross 520. Avis also charges $2.95 a day but caps the fee at $14.75 per rental.

We tried to get Fox's side of the story, calling four times, chatting online, and tweeting, but no one could explain the reason for the $40 fee. Even at the Sea-Tac office, some customers didn't about it.

We did finally talk with the Director of Western Operations for Fox Rent-a-Car. Once told of the situation, the company promised it will reduce its administrative fees to $3 to $5 per day excluding tolls.

Fox also gave Audra a full refund plus some additional money for the time spent trying to get it all fixed.

"Who doesn't need $40 in this economy?" she said.

Fox said it has a sign in its lobby that talks about tolls, but the sign has nothing about the $40 administrative charge. The company says that charge was an oversight on its part. And the change will take place this week. Fox explained the fee was set up to handle parking tickets, not tolls.
 

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