Avis Budget Group—the parent company of Avis Rent a Car, Budget Rent a Car, Zipcar and Payless Car Rental—faces a lawsuit that claims it violates customers' privacy by not clearing data from GPS and infotainment systems when rental cars are returned.
Avis Budget Group, Inc.—the parent company of Avis Rent a Car, Budget Rent a Car, Zipcar and Payless Car Rental—is staring down a proposed class action lawsuit that claims it violates the privacy of its customers by failing to erase their data from GPS and infotainment systems when rental cars are returned.
According to the suit, which has been removed to federal court in California, cars to which smartphones or other mobile devices are connected collect various bits of users’ personal data. This data can include past GPS locations, contacts, users’ addresses, web history, call logs, text messages and app login information, the case says.
The complaint alleges the defendant, despite its routine cleaning and maintenance on short-term rental vehicles, refuses to routinely clear data from cars before placing them back into rental circulation, and does not disclose to customers that their information is collected and stored.
“Defendant’s failure to perform such routine maintenance that would protect the consumer’s Private Data is inconsistent with Defendant’s other policies and procedures providing for routine physical maintenance (e.g., refueling, vacuuming, and washing) upon a consumer’s return of the short-term rental vehicle at the conclusion of the rental term,” the lawsuit reads.
Consequently, customers’ private information remains accessible to subsequent renters, the case explains, leaving customers vulnerable to identity theft and other misuse of their data.