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Main > Archives > 2009 > February > Beware: Budget Car Rental Autovantage $10 Check Scam

Friday, February 13, 2009

Beware: Budget Car Rental Autovantage $10 Check Scam

I've seen some devious scams before, but last night I received one of the worst in memory. I was sorting through my mail, when I came across an envelope resembling a rebate check.

When I noticed the return address simply read "processing center" I questioned the legitimacy of the letter. Once I opened the check, I noticed it was for $10.00. I tried to recall any rebate form I'd filled out recently, but nothing came to mind. When I looked at the back, I saw the fine print above the signature line. It reads:

By cashing this check I agree to pay a thirty-day trial offer in AutoVantage Gold. I understand that the $64.99 semi-annual membership will be automatically billed to the card I have on file with Budget unless I cancel my membership by calling 1-866-584-2456 before the end of the trial period. My membership wil be automatically reneweed and I will also be billed every six-month period thereafter at $74.99 or the then-current fee unless I call to cancel for a refuned of the unused portion of the current fee. I authorize Budget to securely transfer my payment information to AutoVantage Gold for enrollment, billing and benefit processing and I authorize AutoVantage Gold to bill the semi-annual membership fee after my thirty-day trial.

budget autovantage check

Now, I know many of you may be thinking: "Anybody should read the fine print before they sign something." I counter that point with,
If Budget wasn't convinced many people would fall for this, they never would have sent it out, and if there wasn't such a deceptive method to it, their logo would have appeared on at least ONE spot of the letter.

You also have to consider many elderly people who can't read the fine print. I'm sure Budget isn't the first company to try this, but in the economic crunch we're in, people are searching for all the help they can get. Pulling a fast one on them with an enrollment "bonus" disguised as a check is just dirty.

By Matt O'Hern at 09:24 AM | Comments (15)

(15) Thoughts on Beware: Budget Car Rental Autovantage $10 Check Scam

Thank you so much for this information. I had a charge for 64.99 on my credit card and called the number you referenced. When I mentioned the AutoVantage SCAM I read about on the internet, they were very willing to reverse the charge. We'll see. Thanks again.

Comments by Nancy Hubbert : Friday, February 13, 2009 at 08:55 PM

Oy Vey! I personally have never seen this, but also I only use the smaller/cheaper companies like Fox and EZ, only problem is they are only in major cities and whatnot. As soon as you start working with the bigger companies it's time to get out your magnifying glass and read all the fine print...

Comments by EZ Rent a Car is better! : Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 02:27 PM

Hey Folks ...

I came within an inch of getting caught in this myself. I bought a number of things over Christmas that had rebates. They are all due to arrive about now. So, when this one came, I never bothered to look at it. I am a retired guy, I am almost 70, but I am also a retired college professor and I can still see as well as anybody. I was just careless! I was actually in the bank, about to sign the damn check, before something caught my eye.

A person just can't be too careful. Take the time to read everything. In tough times now, there are more crooks than ever. We almost have to assume that everyone other than close family is a crook. In my case, I even watch some of them.

This is out and out fraud an deceit in my opinion. Why isn't someone forcing Budget to face the music?


Comments by JOHN : Monday, February 23, 2009 at 03:39 PM

I too got caught with this same scam, except the sponsor was Plow & Hearth instead of Budget. I signed the check and gave it to my wife how does our banking. She caught it!

Comments by Sam : Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 09:35 AM

In addition to all the above, the Budget rebate check initiated a $64.99 charge on my AMEX from AutoVantage. The only way they could have my AMEX is if Budget gave it to them. If that is not fraud and identity theft I don't know what is. I think someone needs to initiate a class action law suit based on the exposure to fraud caused by Budget Rent a Car. I hope to hell you are reading this Budget! I will never use you again and I will tell everyone I know.

Comments by Robert Jones : Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 02:41 PM

I paid the rent of BUDGET car in June 12 to use a car in San Diego July 13-16. When I touch down in San Diego BUDGET simply sida they run out of cars. Now they avoid to pay 150 dollars I paid when month in advance. This is a real scam because a lot of customers were in the same situation those days. They collect money for cars they do not have. Never use Hotwire and never pay in advance to BUDGET

Comments by Ramiro Vega : Monday, July 20, 2009 at 11:12 PM

Here in Canada Budget isn't doing to well, due to there shady business practices, people are getting smart and avoiding scamming shady companies like Budget. Budget may have made a quick buck but nothing goes unpunished.

Comments by John : Friday, July 31, 2009 at 10:26 AM

You guys just need to be smart and know money doesn't just come in the mail what a bunch of retards! Who does that? It would only be a scam if the small print didn't say it in it like on the commercials in the small print just be smart and never accept money that isn't yours just go to work and make it instead of cashing a free check in the mail STUPID!!!!!!!!

Comments by WOW : Thursday, October 08, 2009 at 05:37 PM

I had three charges on my credit card for 15.99 each, Oct., Nov., Dec., for a total of $47.97. When I inquired today I was told that I cashed a check from (Poupori Pyramid?) for $10.00 on Aug. 13th and that on the back in fine print they informed me that if I cashed the check I was signing up for Roadside service from Auto Vantage. I have never received anything from Auto Vantage, so if I did need roadside service I would not be able to call them because I do not know who they are. However I have paid them $15.99 a month for three months. If this was legitimate, why didn't they send me a membership card? Instead they just took my money. They say I will be reimbursed within 1-week, but I think all of us with complaints should organize and bring a class action suit. Why did my credit card company allow a charge that I, quote, "Cannot dispute because it is a third party charge"? This is highway robbery and I hope Karma bites them all in the butt for the rest of their lives!

Comments by Toni : Wednesday, December 09, 2009 at 01:51 PM

i had autoadvantage for many years, used tow service 2 times in approx. 9 yrs. no problems THEN break down 1 9 10 called no. on card that i did have...woman on line told me i was canceled last may,what was i going to do? PANIC set in i punch autovantage on internet and this what i find THIS thank to the internet. i am saved!

Comments by glenn m. hunt jr. : Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 09:59 PM

Budget has updated this scam.
(1) All reservations at airport locations in US and Canada must be done through their one main phone number or web site.
(2) After completing my reservation, I was congratulated on receiving a bonus $20 of gas and redirected to the special offer "office". They provided the very fast speech telling me all the great things I would also get. Now I am in a habit of listening carefully to the details. Something my job requires of me. So when they got to the part about accepting the $20 cash bonus and charging my card $60/month until I cancel, I told them no. I canceled my reservation. I called my credit card company and told them I have not authorized any charges from budget rent a car and will not be covering any unauthorized charges.

Comments by Greg : Monday, March 15, 2010 at 09:34 PM

Hi Guys:

Same Company (AutoAdvantage)- Same Scam. Different method. I got my First National of Omaha visa bill and transfixed on the payment envelope in big letter and says get your $40 dollar Walmart Gift Card. There are 2 steps I needed to take this off the envelope. There was a clear plastic seal. That had to come off first and then it was glued inside the envelope. I read everything on it and it was Auto Advantage and said by signing this I agreed to 19.99 a month. I tried to read the small print and I am a young guy and I couldn't even read the print on the little sign-up form. I went with First Natioanal of Omaha because they were a smaller company, shame on First National for participating in this kind of scam. The reason these companies do this is because sometimes they capture up to half of the "so-called" membership fee. VPRT - Vista Print just got in trouble for this and are no longer doing this after many years of scamming customers. After what happened with Vista Print I was sure these scams would go away for good, but I guess not. For all the people that call and cancel and complain there are at least 10 who don't even notice the charge for years. It is such a huge money maker that comapnies would rather deal with the blow-back than do the right thing and not partner with these rip-off artists. I say shame on First National for allowing this. You guys are chumps.

Comments by Bill : Sunday, May 02, 2010 at 03:51 PM

You are an idiot. First of all it's not fine print, it's size 12 font. Second, I was taught to read before I sign. Theres no scam there :)

Comments by ed : Monday, March 14, 2011 at 11:17 PM

i was also just notified that my card will be charged (not sure what card) on a monthly basis for memebership that i never enrolled in. my husband just called the 800 to to cancel and they gave him a cancellation number...hope they mean it. we got suckered in it thru a macy's rebate check...we thought it was some refund and we too did not read the fine print. from now on any checks that come i will read very very carefully. thanks for all your postings - was very helpful.

Comments by rachel : Tuesday, August 09, 2011 at 10:02 PM

i was also just notified that my card will be charged (not sure what card) on a monthly basis for memebership that i never enrolled in. my husband just called the 800 to to cancel and they gave him a cancellation number...hope they mean it. we got suckered in it thru a macy's rebate check...we thought it was some refund and we too did not read the fine print. from now on any checks that come i will read very very carefully. thanks for all your postings - was very helpful.

Comments by rachel : Tuesday, August 09, 2011 at 10:02 PM

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