According to a Washington Post article, Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) has asked the Federal Trade Commission in a letter to consider extending the requirements that now apply to car dealers to the nation’s largest car rental company Enterprise Holdings which is the parent company of the National Alamo and Enterprise agencies. Under the three brands the Enterprise fleet numbers 1.1 million vehicles.
The tenor of Schumer’s letter to the FTC was nothing short of threatening, writing that if the FTC “can't or won't act, Congress will.” The effort by two groups (now joined by Schumer) to petition the FTC to require repairs before renting recalled vehicles was covered by All Car Advice in August when the request was made of the FTC.
One impetus for the notoriety of this issue is a $15 million settlement that parents of two sisters received after their daughters lost their lives in a 2004 PT Cruiser which collided with a truck after being rented from an Enterprise agency. The car had been recalled by Chrysler for a power steering hose leak that was known to have the threat of causing a fire. At the time of the settlement All Car Advice reported on the tragedy in the post “Recalls Should Be Resolved Promptly.”
Enterprise’s position has been that they take out of service any vehicle that the car manufacturer recommends be idled until repaired. On the other hand car dealers are required to fix any safety recall regardless of the car maker’s recommendation. Not until these safety recalls are resolved can the vehicle be driven off the lot.
In his letter to the FTC Senator Schumer wrote, "If a car is not safe enough to be bought and driven off the lot, then it is not safe enough to rent."