But executives said recalls have to be evaluated individually, because there are so many, ABC News reported.
Earlier this year a California jury awarded $15 million to the parents of two sisters who died in a head-on collision with a truck while driving home for a visit in 2004. Raechel and Jacquie Houck, both in their early 20s, had rented a PT Cruiser that was under recall because of a defect that could cause engine fires.
Enterprise managers said in affidavits that it was company policy to rent recalled vehicles, depending on what was available. Hertz and Avis said they deal with recalls on a case-by-case basis while working closely with car companies to get repairs done.
Critics say most rental companies are too casual about recalls.
"Their policy is to gamble with the lives of their customers," Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, told ABC. "They want to keep the cars on the road making money, even though there are outstanding recalls on them."
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