NEW YORK (AP) — Zipcar has been slapped with a $300,000 fine after U.S. regulators found that the car-sharing company allowed customers to rent vehicles that had open recalls, violating federal motor safety law.
The civil penalty is a part of a consent order that the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration announced Monday. It marks NHTSA’s first enforcement action against a rental car company over recalls, the agency said.
“Vehicles with open, unrepaired recalls pose a safety risk to everyone on the road,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said in a statement. “The agency will continue to use the full scope of its enforcement authorities to protect the public from safety defects in their personal vehicles or in a vehicle they rent.”
Under the consent order, half of the $300,000 penalty is set to be paid up front — while the other $150,000 will be deferred and could become payable in the event of future violations, NHTSA said. In addition, the company is required to submit an audit of all Zipcar vehicles with recalls open at any time within 150 days after the consent order and provide updates to employee training materials, among other compliance reviews.
Zipcar agreed to the consent order. According to the NHSTA, the company also says it’s made multiple improvements to recall policies and procedures since 2018 — when the agency opened an investigation after getting information that Zipcar rented at least one vehicle recalled in 2017, the Ford Transit, without making repairs.
Based on its inquiry, NHSTA determined “certain unremedied recalled vehicles” were rented through Zipcar in 2017 and 2018, the consent order published Monday notes.
“At Zipcar, we prioritize our members’ safety and take manufacturers’ recalls very seriously,” the company said in a statement, adding that the NHSTA agreement relates “a 2017 recall in which less than 50 vehicles out of (Zipcar’s) 12,000 global fleet were found in violation.”
Zipcar, a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, rents vehicles by the hour or day.