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Rent-a-Car Companies Risking Lives With Recalled Cars?

Enterprise, National, Alamo admit risky policy in court case.

by on Jul.07, 2010

Enterprise acknowledges renting a car that should've gone back for recall repairs.

One of the nation’s largest rental-car companies has acknowledged in court that it regularly rents vehicles even though it is aware that they are covered by a safety recall and should be first taken in for repair.

That news came out in a California court case involving the death of two women whose rental car caught fire after a collision with a tractor trailer.  The PT Cruiser they were provided by Enterprise had, in fact, previously been rented out three times after the company had received a recall notice from Chrysler.

“When demand called, we rented out recalled vehicles, it happened, I won’t lie,” said Mark Matias, who previously served as an Enterprise area manager in San Francisco, near where the accident occurred that claims the lives of 24-year-old Raechel Houck and her sister, Jacquie, 20.

While the case was in discovery, Enterprise Manager Thomas Moulton was asked, “Did you ever consider the possibility that Enterprise should not rent cars to the public after they’ve received recall notices from the manufacturer?” Moulton, according to the ABC Report, responded, “No.”

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During the trial, reports ABC News, Enterprise tried to argue that the accident was the result of the driver, Raechel, being “suicidal or on drugs.”  But two weeks before trial, noted the Houck family’s attorney, Larry Grassini, the company “freely admitted that they were the only cause of the deaths.”

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