Federal Class Action Possible Against Rental Car Traffic Tickets

A federal judge in New Jersey will soon decide whether to certify a class action lawsuit against Avis Budget Group for the way the company uses American Traffic Solutions (ATS, now known as Verra Mobility) to handle traffic tickets issued to car renters. US District Judge Claire C. Cecchi had previously ruled that there is sufficient evidence that motorists are being ripped off by an “unconscionable” rental agreement that cuts off the customer’s ability to challenge unjust fines.

Lawyers for renters Dawn Valli and Anton S. Dubinsky hope to take the case nationwide, with refunds for Avis or Budget renters who were accused of a toll or traffic violation and had ATS automatically bill the fine and administrative fee to the renter before the accused driver was even aware of the underlying accusation. This fully automated system is of particular benefit to ATS, which is often also the issuer of the ticket or toll violation notice. ATS/Verra Mobility is the nation’s largest operator of red light cameras and speed cameras. Under the automated payment system, ATS or its competitors issue a photo ticket to Avis, as the registered owner of the rental car. Avis then pays the fine before notifying the renter about the accusation.