Each Friday, we feature a reader-submitted tip as our Travel Tip of the Day. This week’s tip comes from reader José, who says:
“When dropping off a rental car, such at an airport, always get a receipt from the attendant that says your car came back with a full tank (if you selected the option to fill it yourself in the rental agreement). Also fill up the car using a credit card, and not cash. If you need to drop off a car during off hours when an attendant is not available, also make sure you take a picture of your car’s license plate and fuel gauge on the dashboard to prove you left the car with a full tank.
Five years ago when the price of gas was significantly higher, I dropped off a rental car from one of the major rental companies at 430am at Reagan National to catch a very early flight. There were no attendants there that early in the morning, so I just left the car with the keys in it and a window down. A few days after arriving home, to my horror I discovered a charge on my credit card statement by the rental company for $70 for returning the car empty when I had returned it full.
I was able to get the charge reversed after calling the rental company customer service and telling them that I could prove I filled the car up since I could produce a charge on my credit card statement for fuel bought early that morning at a nearby gas station. I don’t know what would have resulted if I had used cash instead of a credit card to fill up my rental car.
Finally, I would like to think that the $70 charge was caused by an honest mistake, but with the price of gas much more expensive then and the car rental center being completely empty early that morning, I can’t help but wonder if the gas in my car was siphoned out by some thief!”
Thanks, José! For more rental car tips:
- How to Make Sure Your Rental Car Is Safe
- Doublecheck It’s Your Rental Car
- Photograph Your Rental Car Agreement
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.