An interesting case for customer service

I recently found this article at TMC News. Recently, two brothers from Australia were in New Zealand on a glacier, and died when buried under a landslide of falling ice chunks. Their parents were contacted a few days later by the rental car service the boys had used, letting them know they had late fees to pay because they hadn’t received the the car back that the brothers had rented. The keys to the rental car were in the pockets of one of the brothers. They did not purchase insurance for the car, and the company claims that they’ve lost at least $390.

The Minister of Tourism of New Zealand has told the company they are “crass at best” for trying to collect the money, and Edwin Chen, the director of the rental company, had this to say about the ‘unfortunate’ situation: “We feel for them. If there are things that are going to cost the company, we have no choice but to recover the costs. They should … travel with insurance. It’s not up to us as a company to pay for the costs.”

What would you do in a situation like this? Travel insurance was created for emergencies. These brothers did not buy it. There’s a business to run. However, your public image may decrease if you pursue the matter too closely. What would your service business do in this situation?