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Arizona car rental company held liable for actions

An Arizona rental car company, known by both Saban's Rent-A-Car and Pheonix Car Rental, has been held accountable for some pretty underhanded business dealings that have left past clients in the lurch.

Now, past victims may be able to claim compensation for their losses if they step forward with a complaint.

The company was found guilty of hiding rental costs and gouging customers out of nearly triple what they were expecting to pay. They also left customers with rental cars and vans that were in clearly poor repair -- even unsafe.

A judge recently ruled that the company's actions violated the state's consumer-protection laws. Accordingly, the company was handed a significant fine -- nearly $2 million -- and ordered to pay additional restitution costs to around 150 consumers who have filed a complaint about their mistreatment.

Additional victims may also be entitled to claim restitution if they rented a vehicle from the company (under whichever name it was doing business) anytime between 2009-2016. Anyone who has been victimized is being encouraged to contact the state's Attorney General's office to file their complaint and initiate proceedings to collect whatever restitution they are due.

Consumer fraud is treated very harshly by the state's prosecutors. Law enforcement and legislatures alike have an invested interest in seeing that consumers are protected from unscrupulous business dealings because it can damage the state's reputation for consumer safety and hurt the general economy.

A serious financial penalty that gets leveled at a company that's caught defrauding consumers through switched-out products and overcharges can serve as an object lesson to others and discourage similar behavior.

Anyone who is a victim of consumer fraud should take action. You can start by gathering documentation and contacting the company directly with your demands. If that fails, it's usually wisest to involve third parties like the a regulatory agency in your state, business associations and licensing boards. If necessary, you may have to explore your options under state business laws with professional assistance.

Source: azcentral, "Her family saved for Disneyland. Then a Phoenix rental-car company ripped her off," Rebekah L. Sanders, Feb. 19, 2018

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