PHOENIX, AZ (STL.News) Attorney General Mark Brnovich is proud to announce a $1.85 million verdict in a consumer fraud lawsuit filed against Dennis N. Saban and his companies, Phoenix Car Rental and Saban’s Rent-A-Car. After a 5-week trial, a judge found Saban and his car rental companies must pay $1.85 million for violating the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. Of the $1.85 million, nearly $1 million will go to consumers who were charged unlawful fees during car rental transactions from 2009 to 2016. This is one of the largest consumer fraud trial verdicts the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has ever obtained.
“Our priority was to get consumers their money back and the defendant continued to fight us. We refused to back down and ended up with a great victory for consumers,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “After an intensive 5-week trial, the judge’s ruling sends a message that consumer fraud won’t be tolerated in Arizona.”
In 2014, the Attorney General’s Office filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against Saban and his car rental companies. An undercover investigation found consumers were improperly charged fees by Phoenix Car Rental and Saban’s Rent-A-Car. An undercover investigator was promised a rental vehicle for $129 a week, a rate also advertised on the company website. After additional fees and taxes, the total rental was more than $250. The agent was denied a copy of the rental agreement and falsely told he would be arrested if he left the Phoenix area because of specially coded license plates. An employee also informed the investigator that an additional charge was the “county tax” when in fact it was a surcharge imposed by Saban’s. Upon inspection, investigators also discovered that although the rental car’s odometer displayed 99,840 miles, the vehicle’s actual mileage was 199,840 miles. Multiple consumers testified at trial that they were subjected to similar practices by Saban’s.
The ruling also requires the defendant to provide consumers with a good faith estimate. The defendant is prohibited from inaccurately advertising the condition or rental rates of vehicles, renting any vehicle without regularly scheduled maintenance, from altering the odometer, and altering or disengaging a vehicle’s warning light.
This case was tried by Matthew du Mee, Unit Chief Counsel of the Consumer Litigation Unit, and Assistant Attorneys General Tim Watson and Mitchell Allee.
If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a complaint by contacting the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.To file a consumer complaint online, please visit https://www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer.