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April 7, 2014

Pardalis & Nohavicka Consumer Law Update: Crawford v. Hertz

Life Imitates Comedy; But Not So Funny For Car Rental Company.

A New York City customer made a reservation at Hertz in Manhattan on the street where he lived, 45 days in advance. When he arrived at the designated time, Hertz informed him that it had over booked. Two hours later, Hertz offered to reduce its charge by $25 if he would go to Hoboken or Hackensack NJ where it could not guarantee a car would be available. He declined and missed the holiday with his family.

The customer sued Hertz in Small Claims Court, even though he did not incur out-of-pocket damages, for mental anguish and inconvenience.

The court ruled in favor of the customer awarding him $500.00 for inconvenience. (Damages are not recoverable for mental anguish in an action for breach of contract). The court noted that the customer was entitled to "actual damages" for breach of contract, and "actual damages" include inconvenience, delay and uncertainty because they are worth something even in the absence of out-of-pocket costs.

The full decision can be found at the following link: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2014/2014_24087.htm

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