Responsible Marketing

Is Budget’s PrivacyGuard offer responsible?

By February 17, 2009July 23rd, 20208 Comments

Why would anyone want a free credit report from when Budget has partnered with PrivacyGuard to pay you $10 to sign up for ID theft and credit monitoring?

Well, as we discussed here before, the credit report from isn’t free and as you might guess, the PrivacyGuard offer has plenty of strings attached, too.

Even though I’ve only rented from Budget once, they were nice enough to sell share my personal contact information with PrivacyGuard.

Here’s the classic cash-the-check-and-you’ll-sign-up-for-our-overpriced-service-indefinitely-if-you-aren’t-paying-attention offers they sent me recently:

Budget PrivacyGuard credit monitoring

Here’s a key section from the fine print on the back of the check:

By cashing this check I agree to a thirty-day trial offer in PrivacyGuard. I understand that the $64.99 semi-annual membership fee will be automatically billed to the card I have on file with Budget unless I cancel my membership by calling 1-866-622-5186 before the end of the trial period. My membership will be automatically renewed 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 refund of the unused portion of the current fee.

So, cash the check, and here’s what happens:

  1. You are automatically signing up for their service
  2. You are giving Budget permission to pass your credit card info to PrivacyGuard
  3. You will pay $64.99 immediately (kiss your $10 goodbye)
  4. You are agreeing to pay $74.99 or the then current fee (it could be any number) from that point forward

Oh, the irony: Budget has sold their customers personal information to a company marketing a product that’s supposed to protect—that’s right—personal information.

When I see offers like these, I think about my dearly-departed grandparents. Would they have been fooled by an official-looking check coming from the “Processing Center.”

I don’t know if I’d go so far as calling this marketing practice predatory, but it’s clearly deceptive.

All that being said, offers like this have been around for years and won’t go away.


They work. It fools some of the people some of the time.

What’s more, people that read the fine print cash the checks as well, thinking they can game the system. Sometimes they do, but often they forget. The charges get lost in their credit card statement, and three years later they are still paying.

It happens all the time. They’re counting on it.

So, is the PrivacyGuard offer responsible or not? How about Budget selling customer data?

Comment below to weigh in.

Subscribe to this feed.

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • These tactics are absolutely unjustifiable and I plan to send a complaint to the Better Business Bureau on your behalf.

    I was reading a book called Sway and learned that the extra insurance that Rental Car companies try to sell is a pretty questionable practice as well. Most people would be covered by their own auto insurance policy or by their credit card company if they were to get in an accident and yet the annual rate for extra insurance would equate to about $3,000-$9,000!

  • M Morningstar says:

    Truly deceptive. We received this “offer” today. We will not be renting from Budget again!

  • Manoa DNA says:

    Agreed, just got one in the mail today from “Great Fun.” Same deal, same offer. What a terrible company and should never be rented from again.

  • Doug says:

    I received this SCAM check in the mail today and I am LIVID! Budget, you can kiss my business Good Bye! I’ll be contacting the Texas State Attorney General in the morning!

  • Dan says:

    I filed a complaint with the Tennessee Attorney General’s office and the BBB. You should too!

  • Eric says:

    I’m one more customer who will be happy to rent from anyone but Budget going forward. My other feelings are unprintable.

  • Ray Post says:

    Outrageous scam. I thought I was signing another rebate check and find myself scammed for $65. There’s nowhere on Budget’s website to complain or request a refund. If the spiff Budget receives from participating in this sort of theft is so important to them, they don’t deserve my business. I will never rent from Budget again.

  • Ken Weisner says:

    Same thing happened to me and I didn’t catch it for many months. Budget is now out of bounds as far as doing business with them–for me or anyone I know who will listen to me. Who is the best entity to complain to?

Leave a Reply