Budget Licensee's GPS Use Spurs Lawsuits

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Car rental customers recently filed at least four lawsuits against a local Budget Rent a Car licensee, after the company used its GPS tracking systems to levy penalties against customers venturing past company-imposed boundaries. In at least two cases, the extra fees totaled more than $7,000.

The Budget licensee, Consolidated Enterprises Inc., charged an extra $1 per mile each time a customer entered a state outside of the approved boundaries. The $1-per-mile penalty was charged against the total miles driven during the rental period -- not just those miles driven in states deemed off-bounds.

Unlike the Tucson-area licensee, Budget's corporate-owned locations use GPS tracking systems to help recover vehicles only -- not to enforce driving boundaries.

The lawsuits allege that Consolidated Enterprises defrauded customers when it failed to adequately disclose its policy of using GPS tracking systems to enforce driving restrictions and charge penalties. The lawsuits also assert that the Budget licensee's use of GPS constituted an invasion of privacy.

However, Consolidated Enterprises states in court documents that the plaintiff customers were never granted permission to drive outside of Arizona. The company's rental agreement specifies that vehicles cannot be driven out of Arizona without written approval, and that violation of this policy will result in a $1-per-mile charge.

No trial dates have been set for any of the lawsuits.

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