RENO, Nev. (CN) – Enterprise and Vanguard rental cars must pay $22.7 million to settle a class action over airport recovery concession fees in Nevada.
U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks on Friday ordered the two companies to pay $19.3 million to 1,276,448 class members who sued when the firms did not include airport recovery concession fees in the advertised cost for rental cars.
Class members can choose vouchers for free car rentals instead of cash. If all class members accept vouchers instead of cash, the value of the settlement would be $70 million, Hicks wrote.
Hicks said one reason he approved the settlement was because “class counsel has been involved in this case for nearly nine years” and Enterprise and Vanguard said they would appeal if the settlement were not approved.
If appealed, Hicks said, the plaintiffs “predicted that this litigation would be ‘dragged on in the 9th Circuit for several more years without the class receiving the immediate and substantial benefit of the settlement’ and potentially without recovering at all.”
Nevada airports require rental car companies to pay a percentage of their gross revenue as concession fees, which the rental companies pass on to consumers as “airport recovery concession fees.”
The fees were not included in the rental car rate quotes but were itemized afterward.
Lead plaintiffs Lydia Lee and Carolyn Bissonette sued in June 2010, accusing Enterprise and Vanguard of violating Nevada law.
The court approved the preliminary settlement on Dec. 12, 2014.
Vouchers will be good for two years after issuance and can be used by anyone in a class member’s family.
Class members will receive one to five rental vouchers, based on how much they paid in airport concession recovery fees.
Anyone who paid less than $20 in fees is eligible for a single voucher, while those who paid at least $20 but less than $40 will be eligible for two vouchers.
Class members who paid at least $40 but less than $60 qualify for three vouchers, and those who paid between $60 and $80 are eligible for four vouchers. Anyone who paid $80 or more qualifies for five vouchers.
The vouchers are good nationwide, with those from Enterprise being good for Enterprise locations and those from Vanguard being good at Alamo and National rental car locations.
Enterprise and Vanguard agreed to pay $2.5 million in attorney’s fees and $96,913.43 in legal costs. When added to $804,229.95 in costs Enterprise and Vanguard must spend for serving notice to class members, the total potential cash settlement amount is $22,745,907.36.
Officials for Enterprise and Vanguard could not be reached for comment Monday, nor could class attorney G. David Robertson.
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