Imagine you get a rental car and you are journeying with it in Los Angeles as planned and suddenly you take a road leading to Texas.
As you drive on, you hear a voice from the speakers of the car. The tracking system of the car has been activated and has noticed you have deviated from the original route scheduled.
The voice is from the car rental service. They want to know if you are okay and why you have deviated from the planned route. You are probably worried as to how they found out. It is because there is a tracking device installed in the car.
Budget rental cars have tracking devices installed in them to monitor the exact location of the rented car. Tracking devices are no strangers to budget rental cars. It is used widely to track the location of the car at any time, anywhere.
If you really care about your privacy when renting budget cars, the next time you want to rent one, ask the company if tracking devices are installed in the car. The answer might shock you a bit.
What are Budget Rental Cars?
Budget rental cars are cars for hire or lease. They are operated by car rental companies. The lease of these cars is usually for specified hours or days. If you exceed the allowed time, you can be fined by these companies.
Do Budget Rental Cars Have Tracking Devices?
Yes, many of the budget rental cars have tracking devices installed in them. Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers are used in many budget rental cars to access the location of the cars in real-time. Some of the budget rental cars might be fitted with a camera or microphone.
For so long, companies that lease out their truck for personal and corporate users have made use of tracking devices to monitor the movement and location of trucks. It is not a new system in the transportation industry.
In the past, tracking devices were not so cheap. It used to cost a lot to purchase and install tracking devices in your vehicles.
But today, tracking devices are available at cheap prices and are more powerful. These gadgets are able to monitor and transmit location coordinates to far distances using networks.
Nowadays, it costs around 20 dollars to 30 dollars to install tracking devices on your vehicles. Budget rental car providers use a technology, “telematics” to monitor and track the location of their cars.
Telematics is a blend of a global positioning system and a mobile phone. When this is used on the map, it can accurately display the location of the carrier.
An interesting feature of telematics is that it makes use of technology that can transmit the accurate location of a vehicle and the status as well. Status, as in if the car is in motion or not in motion. It can be done without the knowledge of the driver in the vehicle.
There are ongoing debates as to the legality and correctness of installing tracking devices in vehicles.
Why Do Rental Cars Install Tracking Devices on their Cars?
Oftentimes, it could be to prevent theft of the car. Most of these companies that rent out their cars, want to know where the car is exactly and at all times.
Another reason is that the budget rental car companies use tracking devices in the cars so as to monitor the movements of the customers who failed to bring back the cars after the agreed time.
Many companies that provide car rental services say they only make use of tracking devices when their cars are stolen and not to track deviations from scheduled routes.
Actually, some budget rental car companies like Budget and Hertz rental cars have said that the tracking devices in their cars are not activated (passive mode). They only activate it when the car gets missing.
What is fascinating about these devices is that they not only transmit the location of the car to the rental car companies, but they also have the ability to transmit the speed of the car.
What to Do If There is a Tracking Device in your Rental Cars?
As a rental car owner, if a tracking device is left in your car by a customer, you should have it removed and returned to the owner.
However, if you are a customer and you find out that there is a tracking device in the car you rented, you have a right to sue if it was not stated at the company or in the contract.
Although tracking devices are used to determine the exact location of a vehicle, it shouldn’t be used to violate the privacy of people.
Do Rental Cars Have Trackers for Speed?
Rental cars have trackers for speed. Global Positioning Systems are not the only tracking devices installed in cars.
Tracking devices can now relay information about the speed of the car. If you drive so fast and exceed the speed limit, you can be fined by the company according to the terms of the contract.
Should Tracking Device Stop you from Renting a Car?
Tracking devices should not stop you from renting a car. It is not like you want to cheat the company and take the car to another location.
If you have nothing to hide, there is no reason why you should stop renting cars. The rental companies only want to monitor the location of the car, most especially in the event of car theft.
There have been cases in court where customers sued some car rental services. There was the case of a company, Budget Rent A Car that made use of these tracking devices to monitor the movement of customers without their knowledge and fine them in huge amounts.
Not long ago, another rental car company, New Haven was sued in court for using tracking devices to collect information about the speed at which renters were driving and them fine them illegally.
It is not advisable you stop using rental cars because there might be tracking devices installed in them.
Confirm from the car rental companies whether tracking devices are installed in their cars. If you are not comfortable with being tracked, you should not make use of the cars.
Also know that GPS in a rental car can be a lifesaver for you. You have no idea when you will need it.
If you are lost or you need help, the car rental company will be notified about it. Some customers do not return the cars on time, these tracking devices are used to locate the vehicle and find out what is wrong.
It is the responsibility of the car rental company to notify the customers of tracking devices present in the car. Posters can be used as signs to show the customer that their activities in the car will be recorded.
Pros of Renting a Car from Budget Rentals
The benefits of renting a car from budget rentals are numerous. Firstly, the cost of maintenance is off you. No one wants to be repairing cars often, you would like others to bear the costs.
Another benefit is that you save money. Assuming you are not a constant road commuter, renting a car might just be more economical than purchasing a car you will not use.
To conclude, tracking devices are now in demand by budget rental car companies. This is to monitor the location and speed of the car. In order not to violate the privacy of others, budget rental car companies should make sure the customer is aware of the installation of a tracking device in the car.