I ran across an interesting article by David Sims over at Customer Think. It seems that there's a buzz down under about a young man who was killed and buried in an avalanche. The boy was driving a rental van he wasn't authorized to drive, in a restricted area where he wasn't supposed to go, after the renters refused to take out the renters insurance on the vehicle. The keys to his rental car were buried with him in the remote location, and now the car rental company is charging the boy's parents for the cost to go get the car. If they'd paid for the renters insurance it would have been covered.
The situation has caused a maelstrom. Many people, including New Zealand's Prime Minister, have vocalized their opposition to the rental company for being heartless. Others support the rental company, who maintain that, while they empathize with the family, it should not bind them to eat the costs. The rental company doesn't feel they should have to pay for the tragedy of a customer who broke the rules and refused to pay for the insurance which would have covered the costs.
What about you? Where do you stand on the issue? Do you take the financial loss and avoid the PR nightmare, or do you stand on principleand weather the storm?