SF City Attorney: Rental Company Hertz duping tourists

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San Francisco Deputy City Attorney Matthew Goldberg says rental car company Hertz Corporation is duping tourists with misleading language. (KGO-TV )

Boston Newlyweds John and Christine Spiridigliozzi began their Bay Area journey on the Airtrain at San Francisco International Airport with brighter destinations in mind.

"I keep calling it the Golden State Bridge but the Golden Gate Bridge," said Christine laughing.

San Francisco Deputy City Attorney Matthew Goldberg says what rental car company Hertz Corporation is doing to unsuspecting tourists is no laughing matter.

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"Essentially we're targeting their fraudulent and deceptive toll service which they call PlatePass which we believe has been defrauding their consumers of millions of dollars in fees over the past 4 years," said Goldberg.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit against Hertz Corporation Wednesday.

PlatePass is activated for any Hertz rental car customer driving over the Golden Gate Bridge who doesn't pay the bridge toll on their own within 48 hours of crossing the bridge.

"They charge consumers for every day of their rental even if they only cross one bridge on one day," said Goldberg.

"I did not know that," said John Spiridigliozzi.

John and Christine walked up to the rental car counter armed with new information and walked away with a pamphlet describing their options.

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"It's kind of all fine print," said John Spiridigliozzi. Including that service fees can run nearly 25 dollars

"I said if I didn't ask you how would I have known he said well you wouldn't have," said Spiridigliozzi.

The Hertz employee at the counter told ABC7 News customers who don't ask up front will find the pamphlet inside their rental car. Also that he explains to them the less expensive option is paying on their own.

"Always try to help my customers," said the employee.

"In our experience and based on our investigation people are not getting the proper notice," said Goldberg.

"Who is going to read these things it's just annoying," said Spiridigliozzi.

A Hertz Spokesperson said the company could not comment on pending litigation.
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