Hertz Sues Accenture for Breach of Contract Over ‘Seriously Deficient’ Web Design Work

Client paid $32 million but claims in suit the firm 'never delivered'

The Hertz logo and the Accenture logo are positioned side by side.
The law firm representing Hertz claimed Accenture's arguments do not 'have any merit.' Getty Images
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Hertz, one of the world’s largest rental car brands, is suing former marketing partner Accenture LLP for breach of contract, claiming the company failed to deliver when Hertz hired it to redesign its website and mobile apps.

In a lawsuit filed on April 19 in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York by law firm Brown Rudnick, Hertz demanded a jury trial as well as repayment of all attorneys’ fees, related costs and unspecified millions in damages caused by Accenture’s alleged “breaches” and “unfair and deceptive acts.”

According to the filing, which is embedded in full at the bottom of this story, Hertz paid Accenture’s digital division more than $32 million from early 2016 to 2018 to “redefine the customer experience on Hertz’s digital platforms” with a redesigned website and “complementary suite of mobile applications” but that Accenture failed to deliver.

“We believe the allegations in this lawsuit are without merit, and we intend to vigorously defend our position,” an Accenture spokesperson said. “Because this is an ongoing legal matter, we decline any further comment.”

“Hertz can confirm that it filed a lawsuit against Accenture for breach of contract and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act for its work on Hertz’s next generation website and mobile app,” wrote a company spokesperson in an email to Adweek. “The lawsuit outlines that Accenture failed to deliver a viable product, even after multiple delays and additional expenses were incurred. Hertz brings this action to recover the fees it paid to Accenture and the resulting damages.”

Hertz declined to elaborate, saying, “We look forward to resolving this matter in a court of law.” Brown Rudnick did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hertz says in the suit that it lacked the internal capacity for such a “massive undertaking” and therefore hired Accenture over an unnamed competitor after a one-day presentation highlighting the latter’s “claimed expertise in implementing such a digital transformation.”

"The lawsuit outlines that Accenture failed to deliver a viable product, even after multiple delays and additional expenses were incurred."
Hertz spokesperson

According to the suit, the now former client fired Accenture in May 2018 because the company “never delivered a functional website or mobile app” after delaying the project’s launch date twice. The new assets were initially scheduled to debut in December 2017 but later postponed until January and then April 2018, at which point Hertz “no longer had any confidence that Accenture was capable of completing the project,” according to the filing.

In one of the suit’s key disputes, Hertz says Accenture developed a website that only worked on desktop and mobile and “ignored” a clause in the initial 2016 contract that also required a medium breakpoint for tablets. According to the filing, Accenture “demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional fees” from Hertz when asked to deliver the tablet functionality.

The suit also claims Accenture ignored an “extensibility” requirement that would have applied the “common core of libraries” across Hertz’s global properties as well as its Dollar and Thrifty brands. Instead, Hertz says in the suit, Accenture “deliberately disregarded” that part of the contract and wrote the code so the data could only be used in North America.

“The quality of Accenture’s programming was deficient as well,” the filing reads, stating that the front-end development work “created serious security vulnerabilities and performance problems” and “had to be scrapped.” The suit goes on to claim Accenture failed to properly test the software it created and that the unspecified tests it did perform were “seriously inadequate, to the point of being misleading.”

Hertz alleges in the suit that because Accenture failed to deliver a “usable” site or app, Hertz had to spend $10 million “in additional fees” to finish the work Accenture had agreed to complete while losing “millions of dollars in revenue in a tremendously competitive industry.”

Earlier this week, Accenture received an electronic summons, and the case was reassigned to Judge William H. Pauley III. At the time of publication, Accenture had not yet named a legal representative or filed a response.

U.K.-based IT publication The Register first reported on the suit Tuesday night. The entire 16-page filing is below:

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.