Rental cars are vehicles put up for rent by rental car agencies or companies for a fee. These cars have been of great help to tourists, travelers and people who are on a budget and need a car temporarily. The contracts can last for as low as a few hours and as much as a few weeks.
Over the years, so much has been said about problems renters are likely to encounter when renting a car. A particular one that has been widely popular is whether rental cars have secret cameras installed. So popular that there is a CBS news article on the subject.
In this article, we discuss whether rental cars have cameras installed on them. Sit tight.
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Here’s the Short Answer to Whether Rental Cars Have Cameras Installed:
Rental cars typically do not have hidden cameras in them, as that would violate multiple federal laws. However, depending on what type and model of the vehicle you are buying, you can have backup and rearview cameras as part of a safety package. These cameras are there for safety reasons.
Do Rental Cars Have Hidden Cameras?
You’d agree with us that the concept of hidden cameras sounds incredibly invasive, voyeuristic, and downright illegal. We do not believe any decent rental car companies have hidden cameras installed, as that would violate your privacy rights.
What they have, however, is access to the inbound computers in the car, which gives them access to data such as mileage and fuel, amongst other crucial information.
Also, many of the cars rented out by rental agencies are relatively cheap. Hence, it’s safe to assume that rental cars wouldn’t risk potential litigation costs by putting hidden cameras on such cars. So, you don’t need to worry about the possibility of that.
Do Rental Cars Have Dash Cams?
A dashcam is short for a dashboard camera, which refers to an onboard camera that records road and traffic activities through the windscreen. Many rental cars have dash cams installed for the safety of the driver, and some of the information recorded could also help the agency’s case in the event of litigation.
We also found that some rental cars do not have dash cams, and it’s not a strict requirement. In that case, however, renters, especially those who rent frequently, may purchase a dashcam for their rental cars. We advise running this by the agency and making sure the contract does not forbid it.
How Do You Spot Hidden Cameras in Rental Cars?
Ordinarily, we do not expect any rental car from a respectable company to have a hidden camera installed. However, you can’t be too sure these days, right?
If you suspect there are hidden cameras in your rental car, your suspicion is valid, and we are going to show you exactly how to spot ‘em. Below are some tips that will help you out:
1. Pay strong attention to any clicking or buzzing noise. As you would expect, these sounds are made to be silent, so you would have to incline your ears and listen carefully. If you aren’t riding alone, you can have your partner(s) do the same just to be sure.
2. Look for a place where hidden cameras can fit with enough room to contain some wiring. It could be in the corner of a door, within the A/C vents and other such places.
3. Get a trusted professional to do a comprehensive scan/sweep of the vehicle. You should do this preferably before taking the rental car out of state.
What Happens If You Block the Camera?
On the off chance that you find any hidden cameras in your rental cars, the first thing you would want to do instinctively is disabling them. If you are worried about the consequences of doing that, we would like to tell you to not spend another minute worrying ‘cos there’ll be none.
What you want to do is have your evidence ready and get a great lawyer to help you sue the rental car company. Basically, if there will be any consequences, in this case, the rental car company will be the victim.
Can Rental Car Companies Track Your Car in Other Ways?
Truth is, while they cannot invade your privacy with a hidden camera, rental car companies are within their rights to track the car by some other means. This helps them stay in touch, gather information, and send help in times of trouble.
One way rental companies can track their cars is by using GPS. A GPS tracker is perfectly legal and helps the company know the exact location of vehicles with internal faults and maybe crashes/accidents. It can also help find stolen vehicles.
You also know that rental companies are not required to divulge any information gathered except by a court order.
Also, some rental companies like Hertz have admitted to having visible cameras installed in some of their rental cars. However, it’s not a socially acceptable phenomenon, even though these companies claim they never really use the camera.
Whether visible cameras or GPS, installing these systems cost a fortune, especially for companies with thousands of rental cars across the country. So, the likelihood of getting tracked ominously by rental companies is significantly low-not unless you are a celebrity or a political bigshot.
Do Rental Cars Have Black Boxes?
There is hardly any car you rent from a rental agency that is not equipped with a black box. Black boxes are inbuilt devices that monitor the vehicle’s speed, location, braking, mileage, crashes, and general driving habits.
Black boxes can be of great help in several ways. For instance, if you crash the car and the agency has a difficult time believing you, the black box can help your case.
Is it Legal for Rental Car Companies to Film You on the Road?
Rental car companies cannot legally film you through hidden cameras, as that would be a breach of your privacy rights.
However, they can have a visible dash cam installed in the rental car, and they must notify you of this. That will help you decide whether you are comfortable with the arrangement.
How Do You Know If You’ve Been Filmed in a Rental Car?
If you suspect a hidden camera and you actually find one while acting on your suspicion, it is safe to say you have been filmed all along.
Also, if the rental car has a black box, dashcam, and other such computers, you may have been filmed. Only that in this case, it is perfectly legal, and the rental company has legal access to the recorded data.
What Happens If You Speed in a Rental Car?
Speeding is an offense, and you’ll be appropriately fined for that if the police pull you over. You should also know that it wouldn’t matter if it’s a rental car or a personal car.
Sometimes, the fine would be sent to the rental car company car, after which it may be charged to your account.
Do Rental Cars Have Rear View Cameras?
A rental car may or may not have a rear-view camera depending on the car itself, its model year, and the trim level. Most modern cars have rearview cameras as part of their safety features, and of course, many of them are rented out.
However, if your rental car is an old model, it most likely does not have a rear-view camera.