SAN DIEGO - Rental car customers claim Dollar Rent A Car charged them insurance even when they declined the option at the counter.
And former Dollar employees told Team 10, rental agents charge for insurance even when the customer declines.
One customer who said he was charged without authorization came forward to Team 10.
Dr. Gordon Wong, who rides a motorcycle in San Diego, said he needed to rent a car after laser eye surgery.
"I rented a car based on recommendation to go to Dollar," Wong said.
He used his American Express card to pay for the car. Using a credit card can offer supplemental protection to someone's personal policy, which may duplicate what is offered at the rental counter.
"There was about 8 to 10 people behind me, so you could tell they were busy and I told the gentleman I didn't want the insurance," said Wong.
Wong said he signed the electronic pad and went on his way.
"A week later, I found out I had been charged for insurance," said Wong.
Wong says he was overcharged $80. He called the Dollar Rent a Car corporate office.
"They basically said there was nothing that I could do, I signed it and that was that," said Wong.
A former Dollar Rent a Car employee said some agents would do anything to sell a policy.
Jamal Powell said he worked for the company in Washington D.C. and Tampa. He told 10News Scripps sister station in Tampa, WFTS, that some agents would deceive customers to sell insurance.
"Once they sign that screen pad, they have to pay for it, whether it was done honestly or not," said Powell.
Other agents who didn't want to appear on camera said the same thing, including a former Dollar Rent a Car manager.
"It's a really big deal because as a rental agent, 95% of that money you make is from that commission," said Powell.
San Diego attorney Alan Mansfield said this is happening all over the country.
Mansfield has clients that claim this happened in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando, Honolulu, Denver, Tampa, Phoenix, Hartford, San Antonio and Columbus
He said his clients were overcharged hundreds of dollars.
"Our estimate is that tens of thousands of people have been impacted by this process," said Mansfield.
Dollar Rent at Car faces class action lawsuits in California and Colorado.
The suits allege the company engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices.
In California, under state law, a rental car clerk must tell customers that their insurance may duplicate.
Signs must be posted saying the same thing, and the suit alleges customers were not told this, and saw no signs stating it.
After the suit was filed, Team 10 and several Scripps stations across the country rented cars from Dollar Rent a Car but were not charged.
Mansfield said the lawsuit was the catalyst for that change.
"It doesn't address the thousands and thousands of customers who were overcharged and whose claims have universally been rejected by dollar," Mansfield said.
Mansfield wants a refund program to be set up by the company and for this alleged practice to stop.
Dollar released a statement about the claims:
"We do not typically comment on pending litigation. However, we can say that Dollar Thrifty complies with all laws and denies allegations that it sells customers products they do not want. The company intends to defend the cases vigorously."
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