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2 AREA CAR-RENTAL AGENCIES TARGETED FOR AGE BIAS

Two area car-rental businesses have been targeted by the state attorney general's office for allegedly refusing to rent to young drivers despite a recent court decision saying they must.

Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco announced Monday he plans to sue 14 firms across the state following an undercover investigation by his office.

Courts have ruled that it is illegal to refuse to rent to licensed drivers over age 18, solely on the basis of age, as long as insurance for such renters is available.

But Vacco said it was determined that two local firms require drivers to be at least 23 before they would rent to them.

He listed Best Dodge, 3551 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park. A spokesman there said the company had no comment. Also listed was Transitowne Leasing, 7408 Transit Road, Williamsville.

However, there is a question whether the Williamsville firm is still in business. There is no such listing in the phone book, and a spokesman at Transitowne Dodge, which has the same address, said the leasing firm has not been located there in many months.

Douglas McCall, rental manager at Transitowne Dodge, said his firm "does everything by the book" and does not discriminate.

But officials at Vacco's office said that on three occasions -- one as recently as last week -- they were told -- either in person or by phone -- by personnel at the Transitowne Dodge address or with the Transitowne Dodge phone number that you had to be 23 to rent a car, although you could rent a truck at age 18.

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