ROMULUS, Mich. – State officials are investigating a car rental company near Detroit Metro Airport after hundreds of customers filed complaints accusing the business of keeping their deposits illegally.
If action isn't taken by the company to make things right, the Michigan Attorney General's Office is threatening legal action, and possibly more.
The investigation stretches from Michigan to Florida, and authorities said there are even victims in Germany and a number of other states in the U.S.
Customers claim Executive Car Rental owes them money and hasn't paid back their deposits.
Last year, the company had 350 complaints.
"This isn't right," customer Kay Hoover said. "Something has to be done about this."
She said she traveled from Philadelphia to Detroit last year for a funeral and rented a car at Executive Car Rental in Romulus. Months later, she said she's still fighting to get her deposit back.
"I called them on the phone," Hoover said. "My understanding was I would get my deposit back, and they said, 'You're right.' Then, next month, no money. So I called again, and this went on for three months."
Another customer said she spent hours on the phone and online working to get her deposit back, but company officials always had an excuse. She said she finally called her credit card company, hoping for help with the battle.
"That's a lot of people that have not had their money returned appropriately," she said. "It seems like a scam to me."
Her story isn't unique. Online reviews show complaint after complaint from people accusing the company of keeping deposits. The Better Business Bureau said 96 percent of complaints received about car rental companies in Metro Detroit were for Executive Car Rental.
"A lot of people are saying they would receive their deposit back in a certain amount of time in working with the company," a bureau spokesperson said. "We still have many customers that haven't received refunds."
Local 4's Hank Winchester visited the Romulus location to get some answers.
"If you're the manager, you must be aware this is a problem," Hank said.
"I don't deal with anything here," the manager said.
"You don't deal with anything here and you're a manager?" Hank asked.
"I don't deal with billing," the manager said.
There were few answers, but business owner Mark Waad isn't a stranger to investigations. He made headlines in 2015 when police raided his collision and rental shops in Macomb County. The investigation focused on allegations of insurance fraud.
The charge was later dismissed.
"I just kept my head up and stayed strong and, finally, the justice system worked today," Waad said at the time.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released the following statement:
"When our department began taking a closer look into the business dealings of Executive Car Rental, we found disturbing reports of a company that appears to have consistently violated the Michigan Consumer Protection Act. Let me (be) clear, in no uncertain terms, I will file a lawsuit to seek equitable relief on behalf of affected consumers unless Executive Car Rental responds by Wednesday."