Do Rental Cars Have Trackers?
Depending on your view of the world, a GPS tracker can be considered a technological advancement that helps us all to be a little bit safer or a technological advancement that makes it easier to keep tabs on citizens. Whatever your school of thought on the subject, it may occur to you when you rent to wonder if the rental car has a tracker.
There is no universal rule that states that rental cars should have a tracker on them, but there are also no laws that prohibit the use of GPS trackers on rental cars either.. There are GPS trackers on some rental cars. As with your own property, it is up to the owner, in this case the rental car company, to decide if GPS trackers should be placed on their vehicles.
What Is a GPS Tracker?
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. GPS trackers use this system to keep up with the location of tracking devices. Typically those tracking devices are attached to an object that isn’t stationary. For example, you can usually turn on the GPS tracking on your smartphone and be able to pinpoint its location if it is lost or stolen.
GPS trackers on cars can help locate cars in the same instances. If a vehicle is lost due to an incapacitated driver, abandoned, or stolen, GPS tracking can help locate the vehicle quickly and easily. When you consider the fact that vehicles are costly to replace, it makes sense that rental car companies would want to keep up with their fleet of vehicles.
With the advancements in technology in modern cars, most vehicles are already rolling computers. You could almost call them automobile devices. Like our smartphones, modern cars often offer GPS as part of their safety features as well as the technology to help navigate unfamiliar areas or receive real time traffic updates on mounted screens.
Adding a GPS tracker is not a lot of additional tech to give the car owner, the rental car company, a lot of additional peace of mind. So, what are the rewards of putting trackers on rental cars? Are there any challenges for rental car companies if they place trackers on their fleet of vehicles?
Remember, GPS trackers are not added with the intention of spying on customers. The concern is not about where customers are going. The rental car companies simply want to keep track of the assets they use to bring in revenue.
Rewards of Trackers on Rental Cars
GPS trackers can benefit rental car companies and their customers in a variety of ways. Here are some of the rewards of putting trackers on rental cars.
GPS trackers can help rental car companies locate vehicles within their fleet when the vehicles need maintenance. If the car has a tracker, then when a recall notification or an alert about internal components of the vehicle that need to be addressed, the company can find the vehicle and schedule the vehicle to come out of use for the duration of the maintenance more accurately.
When a vehicle is returned after hours, a rental car company with a GPS tracker on their vehicles can verify that the vehicle was returned to the proper location as reported by the customer.
GPS trackers can also verify that a vehicle is the correct vehicle and not just a vehicle of the same color, make, and model.
Lost and Found
When you think about the variety of vehicles in the fleet of most rental car companies and the variety of destinations and duration of rentals that vehicles within the fleet see on a regular basis, it’s not hard to imagine that vehicles can easily be lost or, at the very least, misplaced.
Also, the ugly truth is that sometimes people steal or attempt to steal their rental car. At other times, renters abandon the vehicle or just fail to return it to the proper drop off location.
Without trackers, these situations could mean that vehicles could be lost to the owner, the rental car company, for weeks, months, years, or indefinitely. With trackers, vehicles can be located, rescued, and brought back to the fleet quickly and easily.
Challenges of Trackers on Rental Cars
While it might make sense for rental car companies to track their vehicles, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges that come along with that. Here are some of the challenges that rental car companies face from trackers on their cars.
Distrust is a fairly easy concept for most customers to understand. They can understand that companies should have the right to protect their assets from being lost or stolen. However, when it comes to the application of trackers, some customers don’t understand why companies would want to track them.
They can feel like they’re being spied upon or unjustly mistrusted. It can be difficult for rental car companies to assuage the customer’s fears of being monitored and feelings of having their privacy invaded.
It can be a marketing challenge to keep customers from reacting negatively to learning that the vehicle they’re borrowing can and will be tracked.
With the addition of GPS trackers, other technologies can be added as well. The rental car company can have the added responsibilities of remotely locking after a return or remotely unlocking a vehicle for a customer who’s been locked out.
The additional monitoring of diagnostics and fuel levels can require more maintenance and more manpower to facilitate the logistics of tending to the fleet.
Vehicles involved in an accident can need to be remotely shut off, and that can bring the rental car company into the aftermath of an accident in a way that they previously wouldn’t have been expected to be.
With technology always comes the responsibilities of how to handle the information gathered from it. This can mean that rental car companies must provide additional services for their customers that are hard to seek compensation for, and these services just become part of the overhead of operations.
While GPS trackers are legal on some level in all 50 states, it’s important that rental car companies check with state law to be sure they are operating within the laws of the area.
On the other hand, GPS trackers can help rental car companies know if their assets have been illegally taken into areas that were not permitted within the rental agreement, such as crossing the border into Mexico without proper permission or insurance.
GPS trackers are an advancement that allows property owners to track and locate their property wherever it may roam. Rental car companies loan out fleets of assets to customers. While customers don’t always lose or misplace vehicles, it can and does happen, with or without malice.
It makes sense for companies to put trackers on their vehicles to ensure the vehicles and their customers stay safe. Trackers can help ensure timely maintenance, and not losing valuable assets on a regular basis can help companies avoid passing rising replacement costs on to all of their customers.