Accenture Tells Hertz, “You Should Have Read the Fine Print”


Read the Fine Print

In April 2019, Hertz filed a lawsuit against Accenture claiming that Accenture delivered a flawed product, exhibited extortionist-like behavior to fix it, and in general, breached its contracts with Hertz.  In its amended lawsuit on June 20th, Hertz took aim at Accenture’s talent and trashed the team that was working on the Hertz program.

On July 15th, Accenture delivered their response to the lawsuit.  The following represents a summary of Hertz’s claims and Accenture’s response:

Hertz:  Accenture claimed they had “the best talent” and “the skills needed to win.”

Accenture:

  • Hertz’s claims are made on marketing puffery. “Simply put, no reasonable person, much less a Fortune 500 company planning a multi-million dollar redesign of its digital platforms, could interpret a statement in a marketing presentation that a company had ‘the best talent’ and the ‘the skills you need to win’ as a factual assertion that everyone who ever worked on the project would perform their work flawlessly.”
  • Accenture limited its warranty to only what was defined within the contract and expressly excluded all other conditions and representations.

Hertz: Accenture said they had the best talent in the world and would provide their best team on Day 1.

Accenture:

  • Hertz provided no evidence that Accenture claimed to bring the best Angular JS front end and AEM back end coders.
  • Accenture had the right under the contract to determine all staffing, including to replace staff at will, with no agreement as to the minimum levels of experience of any particular staff member.

Hertz: Accenture had the responsibility to deliver the product by December 2017.

Accenture:

  • Accenture only had responsibilities to manage the portions of the project for the Accenture scope of services.
  • Hertz was responsible for implementing mid-tier and backend integrations, security, and user acceptance testing.
  • Hertz was responsible for managing all third parties.
  • Hertz was responsible to provide all website content, without which the website could not launch.

Hertz: Accenture exhibited “extortionist-like” claims, asking for more money to complete work.

Accenture:

  • This was not a fixed price contract and instead, Accenture was paid on a time and materials basis. Therefore, there are no circumstances under which an Accenture request for payment would be considered “extortionate.”

Hertz: Accenture did not properly test the code or comment out sections of the code. 

Accenture:

  • Hertz did not provide specific examples of this situation as required by governing law, so Accenture would have the ability to specially respond or defend itself. Claims should be dismissed.

Hertz:  We are due consequential damages as a result of the delay in the program and additional costs to a third-party.

Accenture:

  • The consulting services agreement signed in 2004 between the companies barred Accenture from being liable “for any consequential, incidental, indirect, special or punitive damage, loss or expense (including but not limited to business interruption, lost business, lost profits, or lost savings).

UpperEdge Analysis

What appears to be missing from this lawsuit is any denial from Accenture with regard to a specific recommendation to utilize the RAPID software.  The RAPID software was supposed to simplify the implementation of the content management system, but it was overwhelming to Accenture.  This product appears to have been developed specifically for Hertz by former employees.  The website for this product lists no other customers and claims Accenture as one of its partners in development.  It is not clear how Accenture, in its professional capacity, could have recommended this product in the design of the architecture or toolset to be used in support of Hertz.  This product appears to have been central to the transference of content of Hertz’s existing website to the newly developed product.

UpperEdge has obtained a copy of the SOW that was used to govern this project.   We will provide a deeper read of how Hertz could have more fully protected itself in future blog posts.

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