The issue affects an unknown number of vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating the Hertz rental car agency over concerns that it rented unrepaired vehicles to customers.
According to the public filing via Reuters, the NHTSA claims it has information indicating that "Hertz rented vehicles to customers without having performed required recall repairs." The government agency confirmed it has opened an "audit query to seek additional information concerning the issue."
The affected vehicles are the Ford Explorer and Nissan Altima, but the NHTSA did not reveal how many of those units are involved. The problem with these models reportedly involves latches and locks. For its part, Hertz, which also owns the Dollar and Thrifty brands, said it is "reviewing the NHTSA's request for information. We are committed to providing safe rentals for our customers."
The NHTSA claims this all began late last year when it started receiving reports suggesting Hertz might have rented vehicles out to customers without completing the legally required safety recall repairs issued for the cars.
"Information gathered by the agency to date, including from vehicle manufacturers, suggests repairs required under multiple NHTSA safety recalls were not made before the rental of such affected vehicles to Hertz customers," the agency added.
According to the original report, there's a law that dates back to 2015 requiring rental car companies with 35 or more vehicles to perform all recall repairs before those vehicles are rented to customers.
This has not been the best year for Hertz for other reasons, mainly it reporting its vehicles as being stolen when, in fact, they were not. Customers driving them were pulled over by police and sometimes arrested for vehicle theft. Hertz blamed a data system error for the debacle, but the damage was done nonetheless.
It recently agreed to pay around $168 million by the end of this year to resolve over 95 percent of pending claims from victims of the wrongful theft reports.
Some of those individuals sued Hertz outright following their wrongful arrests and, in the case of one person, being locked up in prison for a night.