Attorney General James Secures $275,000 from Car Rental Company Avis Budget for Unlawfully Denying Rentals to Consumers

Avis Budget Rental Locations throughout New York Illegally Refused to Rent Cars to Consumers without a Credit Card

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today secured $275,000 from the car rental company Avis Budget Group Inc. (Avis Budget) for illegally denying car rentals to consumers who did not provide a credit card. New York state law prohibits rental vehicle companies from denying services to customers who do not have a credit card. An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that 74 Avis Car Rental and Budget Rent a Car locations across New York informed customers that a credit card was required to rent a vehicle. As a result of today’s agreement, Avis Budget must pay the state $275,000 in penalties and update their policies and employee training.

“Having a credit card is not a prerequisite to rent a car to get to work or go on a family trip to explore our great state,” said Attorney General James. “Avis Budget put up unfair roadblocks for consumers who do not have a credit card and prevented them from renting cars. This practice unfairly harms low-income consumers and communities of color who are less likely to own a credit card, and no one should be discriminated against because of their credit or banking status. I encourage consumers to submit complaints and concerns to my office if they feel they have been treated unfairly or illegally.”

Avis Budget owns and operates car rental brands such as Avis Car Rental and Budget Rent a Car and has over 100 locations across New York. The OAG opened an investigation into Avis Budget in 2022 after receiving a complaint from a customer who was denied a rental because they were unable to provide a credit card. 

The OAG investigators visited Avis Budget locations in Buffalo and Amherst and were denied a car rental because they did not provide a credit card. In addition, OAG investigators called several Avis Budget locations across the state, including in New York City and Syracuse, and 74 Avis Budget locations refused to accept debit cards or provide other accommodations for those who do not have a credit card, in violation of New York law. Several locations also had signs displayed at their stores saying that they did not accept debit cards.

Most rental car companies allow individuals without a credit card to rent a vehicle by placing a cash deposit or a hold on a debit card. According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, roughly 30 percent of Americans do not have a credit card and low-income communities are less likely to have a credit card. New York’s car rental law is intended to provide equal access to a car rental to everyone, denying consumers services because they do not have a credit card disproportionately harms vulnerable communities. 

As a result of today’s agreement, Avis Budget must pay the state $275,000 in penalties. In addition, the company is required to update its employee trainings to ensure that all employees are acting in compliance with rental vehicle protections and provide OAG with compliance reports.

New Yorkers with consumer concerns are encouraged to file a complaint online with the OAG’s Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau or call 1-800-771-7755.

This matter was handled by Christopher Boyd, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Buffalo Regional Office, with assistance from Senior Consumer Fraud Representative Karen Davis and Supervising Investigator Jennifer Terranova. The Buffalo Regional Office is part of the Division of Regional Offices and under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jill Faber. The Division of Regional Offices is overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.