Avis Budget Surcharge Settlement
www.avisbudgetsurchargesettlement.com

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What are these lawsuits about?

The people who filed the class actions, Edward Schwartz and Daniel and Stephanie Klein, are the “plaintiffs” and Avis and Budget are the “defendants.” Two lawsuits filed in New Jersey federal court, Schwartz v. Avis Rent A Car Sys., LLC, 11 Civ. 4032 (D.N.J.), and Klein v. Budget Rent A Car Sys., Inc., 12 Civ. 7300 (D.N.J.), claim that Avis and Budget improperly charged FTP Surcharges to members of the Avis Preferred Service Program and the Budget Rapid Rez with Fastbreak Program in connection with online rental vehicle reservations where renters received frequent-flyer miles from Avis and Budget travel partners.

Plaintiffs assert legal claims on behalf of themselves and all members of the two “Settlement Classes”:

  • Avis Settlement Class

    All members of the Avis Preferred Service Program who rented a vehicle in the United States through www.avis.com, and paid an FTP Surcharge for receiving frequent-flyer miles from any of Avis’s travel partners at any time between July 14, 2005 and June 14, 2012, and who did not properly or timely exercise their rights to opt out of the settlement.

  • Budget Settlement Class

    All members of the Budget Rapid Rez with Fastbreak Program who rented a vehicle in the United States through www.budget.com, and paid an FTP Surcharge for receiving frequent-flyer miles from any of Budget’s travel partners at any time between November 27, 2006 and February 17, 2013, and who did not properly or timely exercise their rights to opt out of the settlement.
The settled claims include claims that Avis and Budget each violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, and breached their vehicle rental agreements with those of their customers who were charged an FTP Surcharge. Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief (meaning, a Court order banning certain of Avis’s and Budget’s practices), declaratory relief (meaning, a Court order that determines the propriety of certain of Avis’s and Budget’s practices), compensatory damages (meaning, cash or discounts to Settlement Class Members), punitive damages (meaning, money meant to punish Avis and Budget), and attorneys’ fees and costs. Avis and Budget deny Plaintiffs’ claims and charges, as well as any wrongdoing in the imposition of FTP Surcharges.

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2. Why are these cases class actions?

In a class action, one or more person(s) called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of those with similar claims. All of these people together are called a “Class,” and individually, are called “Class Members.” The Court appointed plaintiffs, Edward Schwartz (for Avis) and Daniel and Stephanie Klein (for Budget), as Class Representatives for purposes of this settlement. This settlement resolves all of the factual and legal issues for all of the Class Members, except for those who specifically and timely ask to be excluded from the Class (“opt out”).

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3. Why is there a settlement?

The Court did not decide in favor of either plaintiffs or Avis and Budget. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. That way, they avoid the uncertainty and cost of a trial, and those included in the Settlement Classes and others will get an opportunity to claim future rental discounts or a cash payment. The Class Representatives and the attorneys appointed by the Court to represent the Class believe that the settlement is in the best interests of all Settlement Class Members because the settlement makes available significant cash and non-cash benefits to Settlement Class Members and avoids the risk that the Class might ultimately lose this case and receive nothing at all.

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4. How do I know if I am part of the settlement?

You are entitled to settlement benefits if you were a member of the Avis Preferred Service Program, rented a vehicle in the United States through www.avis.com between July 14, 2005 and June 14, 2012, and paid an FTP Surcharge for receiving frequent-flyer miles from any of Avis’s travel partners.

You are also entitled to settlement benefits if you were a member of the Budget Rapid Rez with Fastbreak Program, rented a vehicle in the United States through www.budget.com between November 27, 2006 and February 17, 2013, and paid an FTP Surcharge for receiving frequent-flyer miles from any of Budget’s travel partners. These members will be able to receive one or more discounts on future vehicle rentals from Avis or Budget through www.avis.com and , or a cash payment.

Non-members of the above Programs, members who did not make their reservations through www.avis.com or www.budget.com, and members who did not pay FTP Surcharges in connection with earning frequent-flyer miles within the time periods set forth in the preceding paragraph are not included in this settlement and will not receive settlement benefits.

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5. Are there exceptions to being included in the settlement?

Avis and Budget their officers, directors, employees, and attorneys are not included in the Settlement Classes. Also excluded are the presiding judge, the Honorable Jose L. Linares, or any members of his family and his staff.

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6. Can I be a member of both the Avis Settlement Class and the Budget Settlement Class?

Yes. And you can use the claim form described in Answer 9 to apply for benefits from Avis and Budget.

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7. What does the Avis settlement provide?

Qualifying members of the Avis Preferred Service Program who submitted a timely, valid Claim Form were eligible to receive either (a) a 10% discount off of the standard Avis RAC rate (which is the average price per day paid by a customer who is not an Avis employee for daily, weekly and weekend rentals) for future vehicle rentals made through www.avis.com that they can use one or more times or (b) a cash payment. You must choose cash or a discount; you can’t get both.

The number of days you may use the 10% discount and the size of the cash payment depend on the amount of money that you spent on FTP Surcharge payments between July 14, 2005 and June 14, 2012. These details appear in the following chart.

Total FTP Surcharges Paid by Avis Settlement Class MemberNumber of Rental Days for Which 10% Discount Can be UsedAmount of Cash Option
$0 to $5 1 $1.35
$5.01 to $10 2 $5.00
$10.01 to $20 3 $9.00
$20.01 to $30 5 $13.00
$30.01 to $40 7 $17.00
$40.01 to $50 10 $21.00
$50.01 to $100 13 $25.00
$100.01 to $200 25 $42.00
$200.01 to $300 45 $75.00
$300.01 to $400 65 $91.00
$400.01 and above 100 $129.00

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8. What does the Budget settlement provide?

Qualifying members of the Budget Rapid Rez with Fastbreak Program who submitted a timely, valid Claim Form were eligible to receive either (a) a 10% discount off of the standard Budget RAC rate (which is the average price per day paid by a customer who is not a Budget employee for daily, weekly and weekend rentals) for future vehicle rentals made through www.budget.com that they can use one or more times or (b) a cash payment. You must choose cash or a discount; you can’t get both.

The number of days you may use the 10% discount and the size of the cash payment depend on the amount of money that you spent on FTP Surcharge payments between November 27, 2006 and February 17, 2013. These details appear in the following chart.

Total FTP Surcharges Paid by Budget Settlement Class MemberNumber of Rental Days for Which 10% Discount Can be UsedAmount of Cash Option
$0 to $51$1.35
$5.01 to $102$5.00
$10.01 to $203$9.00
$20.01 to $305$13.00
$30.01 to $407$17.00
$40.01 to $5010$21.00
$50.01 to $10013$25.00
$100.01 to $20025$42.00
$200.01 to $30045$75.00
$300.01 to $40065$91.00
$400.01 and above100$129.00

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9. How could I get my rental discount or cash payment?

You must have submitted a Claim Form to receive either of these settlement benefits. Claim Forms were sent along with copies of the Notice to potential Settlement Class Members. You could have also downloaded a claim form here. You could have completed and submitted a claim online by clicking here. You did not need to attach any receipts to this form or remember or prove exactly how much money you have paid in FTP Surcharges, since Avis and Budget have this information. If you are a member of both the Avis and Budget Settlement Classes, you could have used the same claim form to seek benefits from Avis and Budget.

Garden City Group, LLC, the Claims Administrator for the settlement, will then confirm whether you are eligible for benefits based on the information contained on your claim form. You must have submitted your claim postmarked by July 5, 2016.

You could not have selected both a 10% rental discount and a cash award for the same Settlement Class. If you did, Garden City Group, LLC will return the claim form to you as void, and you will have to re-submit it, still by July 5, 2016, with a single option selected. If this return occurs too close to July 5, 2016 for you to achieve this, you will have an extra ten days in which to do so. If you are a member of the Avis and Budget Settlement Classes, you can choose cash from one and a discount from the other.

If by the Claims Deadline Date, July 5, 2016, you did not participate in the claims process, or if you did not submit a claim form that selects a single form of relief from Avis and a single form of relief from Budget, you will not receive any settlement benefits.

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10. When will I get my discount code or cash payment?

On February 17, 2017 the Claims Administrator began distributing Settlement Benefits to all Settlement Class Members who submitted a timely eligible claim form. If you elected to receive a cash payment, your payment was issued as a postcard-check. Please allow 7-10 days for your check to arrive. If you elected to receive a discount code, emails containing discount codes were sent on February 17, 2017. If you elected to receive a discount code, but did not provide a valid email address, a postcard containing your discount code was mailed to you.

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11. What other relief are Avis and Budget providing to the Settlement Classes?

Over the years since these lawsuits were filed, Avis and Budget have made improvements to the online rental reservation process on www.avis.com and www.budget.com, so that the imposition of FTP Surcharge is more clearly disclosed to their customers, and so their customers can better see how much the FTP Surcharge will likely add to their final rental bills. Avis and Budget have agreed to keep the following features of the online rental reservation process on www.avis.com and www.budget.com in place for at least five years from the Settlement Effective Date:

  • Including the FTP Surcharge in a “Running Total” column that appears throughout the online rental reservation process, including on the confirmation page, and in the confirmation e-mail, through a line item entitled “Frequent Travel Program.”
  • Including a “Help” link to a specific web page that provides detailed information regarding the FTP Surcharge. This link will appear on the screen during the online rental-reservation process where you enter information regarding your membership in any frequent-travel programs as to which an FTP Surcharge could be imposed, and your travel preferences. The Help link will also appear on the screen where you enter your airline information.
  • Including the following language on the pages of the online rental-reservation process where Settlement Class Members enter information regarding their membership in any participating frequent-travel programs and their travel preferences, as well as on the page of the online rental reservation process where Settlement Class Members enter their airline information: “Note: A Frequent Traveler Program Surcharge or Excise Tax may be applied and will be assessed in connection with miles earned pursuant to this reservation. Please click the ‘Help’ link for more details.”
  • Reference to the FTP Surcharge will also continue to be included in Terms and Conditions that appear on the confirmation page after renters completed their online reservations.

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12. What rights am I giving up against Avis and Budget to get a discount code or cash payment and to stay in one or both of the Classes?

If you are a Settlement Class Member when the settlement becomes final—even if you don’t claim one of the alternative benefits described in Answer 1—you will be releasing Avis and Budget and their officers, directors, employees, and related corporate entities, from any liability or claims associated with or relating to the imposition of FTP Surcharges during rental transactions. The specific terms of the release are set forth in the parties’ Settlement Agreement, which you can view on the Court Documents page of this website.

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13. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

Yes. Karon LLC, Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC, and other attorneys represent you and the other Settlement Class Members. The Court has appointed Karon LLC and Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC as Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel for these lawsuits. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

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14. How will the lawyers be paid?

Plaintiffs’ Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees and expenses. Avis and Budget have agreed not to oppose Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s request for these fees and expenses up to $3,050,000 for both cases. The Court may or may not approve that request. Importantly, none of these fees or expenses will come out of the cash or discounts to be received by Settlement Class Members. To earn these fees and expenses, Plaintiffs’ Counsel spent almost five years of time and effort. During those years, they didn’t get paid. They also faced the risk that they might never get paid for their efforts. Plaintiffs’ Counsel also spent thousands of dollars of their own money pursuing these cases, and they faced the risk that those expenses might never be reimbursed.

Avis and Budget are paying the costs of this and other notice to the Settlement Classes; they are also paying to administer this settlement. These notice and administrative amounts will not come out of the funds for benefits to Settlement Class Members. Finally, no Settlement Class Member will pay anything.

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15. If I would have preferred not to participate in the settlement, what could I have done?

You could have excluded yourself from (or “opted out” of) the settlement if you (a) were a member of the Avis Preferred Service Program, rented a vehicle in the United States through www.avis.com, and paid an FTP Surcharge for receiving frequent-flyer miles from any of Avis’s travel partners at any time between July 14, 2005 and June 14, 2012, or (b) were a member of the Budget Rapid Rez with Fastbreak Program, rented a vehicle in the United States through www.budget.com, and paid an FTP Surcharge for receiving frequent-flyer miles from any of Budget’s travel partners at any time between November 27, 2006 and February 17, 2013. To have opted out, you must have personally signed and mailed a request for exclusion to the following address:

Avis Budget Surcharge Settlement
c/o GCG
P.O. Box 10263
Dublin, Ohio 43017-5763

You must have personally signed the exclusion request and identified whether you are a member of the Avis Settlement Class, the Budget Settlement Class, or both Settlement Classes. You must also have clearly stated that you wished to be excluded from the Settlement Class(es). Your request must have included your name, address, telephone number, and, if you are represented by your own separate counsel, you must also have provided that attorney’s name, address, and telephone number.

You must have mailed your exclusion request to Garden City Group, LLC and it must have been postmarked no later than April 6, 2016. This deadline has passed. If you did not specifically request to be excluded by following these directions, you will automatically be a member of the Settlement Classes.

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16. If I excluded myself, will I still get a discount code or cash payment from this settlement?

If you opted out of the Settlement Classes, you will not be eligible for any settlement benefits, and will have waived all rights to object to the settlement. Similarly, if you filed an objection to the settlement with the Court (see Answer 19 below), you could not have excluded yourself from the Settlement Classes.

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17. If I didn’t exclude myself, can I sue Avis or Budget for the same claims later?

If the proposed settlement is approved and you are a Settlement Class Member who did not properly and timely exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, all claims that you may have now or in the future against Avis or Budget with respect to the imposition of FTP Surcharges on vehicle rentals will be waived and released, and you will be prohibited from bringing any such claims in the future on your own behalf, as provided in the parties’ Settlement Agreement.

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18. How could I have told the Court that I liked or didn’t like the settlement?

If you are a Settlement Class Member, you could have expressed approval of or objection to the settlement. You also could have given reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court would have considered your views. To have objected, you must have sent a letter to the Court saying that you objected to the terms of the settlement in Schwartz v. Avis Rent A Car Sys., LLC, 11 Civ. 4032 (D.N.J.), and Klein v. Budget Rent A Car Sys., Inc., 12 Civ. 7300 (D.N.J.). You must have included your name, street address, and e-mail address. You must have personally signed your letter and explained the reasons you objected to the settlement. If you are represented by your own separate counsel, that attorney will also need to file his or her appearance with the Court by no later than May 5, 2016.

Your objection must have identified whether you are a member of the Avis Settlement Class, the Budget Settlement Class, or both Settlement Classes, and it must have included your Avis Preferred Service Program and Budget Rapid Rez with Fastbreak Program membership numbers. You must also have enclosed copies of any materials that you plannned to submit to the Court. You must also have clearly stated in detail the legal and factual grounds for your objection.

You must have filed your objection with the Clerk of the Court at CLERK OF THE COURT, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Martin Luther King Building & U.S. Courthouse, 50 Walnut Street, Newark, New Jersey 07101, by no later than April 6, 2016. This deadline has passed. You must have included the phrase “Schwartz v. Avis Rent A Car Sys., LLC, 11 Civ. 4032 and Klein v. Budget Rent A Car Sys., Inc., 12 Civ. 7300” below the Court’s address on the envelope containing your objection.

You must also have delivered the objection to Plaintiffs’ counsel and Avis’s and Budget’s counsel at the following addresses, so that it was received by no later than April 6, 2016. This deadline has passed.

LEAD COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS AND THE SETTLEMENT CLASSES:
Daniel R. Karon, Esq.
Karon LLC
700 West St. Clair Avenue, Suite 200
Cleveland, Ohio 44113

Bruce D. Greenberg, Esq.
Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC
570 Broad Street, Suite 1201
Newark, New Jersey 07102

COUNSEL FOR AVIS AND BUDGET:
Philip R. Sellinger, Esq.
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
500 Campus Drive
Florham Park, New Jersey 07932

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19. What is the difference between objecting to the settlement and excluding me from it?

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement. You could have objected only if you stayed in the Settlement Classes (meaning you did not exclude yourself). If you excluded yourself, you could not have objected because the case no longer affected you. Likewise, if you filed an objection to the settlement with the Court, you could not have excluded yourself from the Settlement Classes. The deadline to object to the settlement or exclude yourself from the settlement was April 6, 2016.

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20. When and where did the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

The Court held a Final Approval Hearing before the Honorable Jose L. Linares at 10:00 a.m. on May 25, 2016, in Courtroom 5D of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Martin Luther King Building & U.S. Courthouse, 50 Walnut Street, Newark, New Jersey. On June 21, 2016, the Court issued an Order Granting Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement, Final Judgment and Order of Dismissal (Final Approval Order) approving the settlement. On June 29, 2016, a Notice of Appeal was filed in response to the Final Approval Order. No payments will be issued unless and until the appeal is resolved.

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21. Did I have to come to the hearing?

No. Plaintiffs’ Counsel answered any questions that Judge Linares might have had. However, you were welcome to come at your own expense. You also may have paid your own lawyer to attend the Final Approval Hearing on your behalf. If you sent an objection, you didn’t have to come to Court to discuss it. As long as your written objection was received before the deadline and you followed the directions contained in the Answer 18, the Court would have considered everything that you had to say.

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22. Could I have spoken at the hearing?

That was up to Judge Linares. You could have asked the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To have done so, you must have sent a letter saying it was your “Notice of Intention to Appear in Schwartz v. Avis Rent A Car Sys., LLC, 11 Civ. 4032 and Klein v. Budget Rent A Car Sys., Inc., 12 Civ. 7300.” You must have included your name and address, as well as the name, address, and telephone number of any attorney who would have appeared at the Final Approval Hearing on your behalf. Your request must also have indicated that you timely objected to the Settlement according to the directions contained in the Answer 18.

Your letter must have identified whether you are a member of the Avis Settlement Class, Budget Settlement Class, or both Settlement Classes. You must have signed your letter and listed the specific reasons why you wished to speak at the Final Approval Hearing, as well as any grounds for your objection.

You must have filed your Notice of Intention to Appear with the Clerk of the Court at the address listed in Answer 18 no later than May 5, 2016. You must have included the phrase “Schwartz v. Avis Rent A Car Sys., LLC, 11 Civ. 4032 and Klein v. Budget Rent A Car Sys., Inc., 12 Civ. 7300” below the Court’s address on the envelope containing your notice. Your notice must also have been received by plaintiffs’ counsel and Avis’s and Budget’s counsel at the addresses listed in Answer 18 no later than May 5, 2016.

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23. What happens if I did nothing at all?

If you did nothing—including not completing a claim form —you are a member of one or both of the Settlement Classes, but you will not get any future rental discounts or cash payments. Moreover, you will release any claims you have against Avis or Budget relating to the imposition of FTP Surcharges on vehicle rentals.

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24. Are there more details about the settlement?

More details are in the parties’ Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by visiting the Court Documents page of this website.

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25. How do I get more information?

If you think you may be a Settlement Class Member or may have paid an FTP Surcharge during one of the time periods set forth in Answer 4 and would like more information about the lawsuits or the terms of the proposed settlement, you may review the papers on file in these lawsuits, including the Court’s Order regarding the Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement and the Settlement Agreement, on the Court Documents page of this website, or weekdays, during normal business hours, at the Clerk’s Office, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Martin Luther King Building & U.S. Courthouse, 50 Walnut Street, Newark, New Jersey.

If you are not sure whether you are included in the Settlement Class, you may contact The Garden City Group, LLC toll free at 1-866-584-6178 or by mail at: Avis Budget Surcharge Settlement, c/o GCG, PO Box 10263, Dublin, OH 43017-5763 or by email at Info@AvisBudgetSurchargeSettlement.com. You may also contact Class Counsel, Karon LLC, at (216) 622-1851 or dkaron@karonllc.com, or Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC at (973) 623-3000 or avisbudgetsettlement@litedepalma.com.

PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT DIRECTLY WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT.

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