Car Rental Agreements Cost Limitations Class Action

In Lazar v. Hertz Corp. (1999), a purported class action, the plaintiffs alleged that four rental car companies either refused to rent automobiles to person under the age of 25 or charged an unreasonably high age-based surcharge, which effectively restricted rentals to those under the age of 25. The appellate court affirmed the judgment against the plaintiff and concluded as follows: "In various places in section 1936, the Legislature set forth specific dollar or actual cost limitations that vehicle rental agreements may not exceed. (See, e.g., 1936, subds. (b)(4), (6), (c)(7).) However, in subdivision (m)(2) (permitting a surcharge for drivers of certain ages), the Legislature did not specify any dollar amount or other cost limitation. By implication, the Legislature's omission is significant, suggesting that it intended a different purpose--that is, not to impose such a limitation but to leave this amount to the business judgment of the vehicle rental companies. We may not substitute our judgment for that of the Legislature when it appears that that body has deliberately chosen not to impose a monetary limitation. . . . It is the Legislature's function, not ours, to determine the wisdom of economic policy. Judicial intervention in such economic issues is improper." (Lazar, supra, 69 Cal. App. 4th at pp. 1508-1509.)