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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