You're supposed to bring your rental car back full of gas. But according to this reader, some rental companies want to see more than an arrow on the gas gauge pointing to "F".
A few weeks ago I did a post called Car Rental Rip-offs: 6 Things to Know. It got lots of response then, and is still getting some now. For example, this email I just received:
I stumbled on your article on car rentals, saving money and avoiding rip-offs. I do a lot of business travel and wanted to pass along a couple notes that I think might be useful to your readers:
a) A number of the companies are now sticking a special charge clause in when you sign for the car related to, essentially, topping off the gas. The clause says that if you DON’T show a receipt to prove you recently filled the tank, they can charge you $13.99 or so for topping it off. I assume this is because people take short trips and the gas gauge tends to lack accuracy near the top of the range, thus it’s just easier to charge everyone and make a little more cash. The tip is to ALWAYS get a receipt when you fill just before turning it back in. It protects you against this charge. Before you think I’m nuts: I’ve even gone the length to show the receipt and they still “accidentally” leave the $14 fee on there – only to take it off when reminded I showed them the receipt. It’s a complete scam…
b) You didn’t mention credit cards as an excellent source of insurance coverage. I always rent with Amex, and that has the coverage (on top of my normal business insurance). I’m sure you knew that but I’ve been surprised how many don’t in my everyday experience.
I really appreciate the additional tip, Mitch! I hadn’t heard of car companies demanding to see a receipt proving you topped off the tank. As far as credit card coverage, that I have mentioned before in other stories, but there’s nothing wrong with a refresher.
If anybody else out there has something to add to this or any other story, drop us a line! And if you have any ideas that can help save more, spend less or avoid rip-offs, we’d love to hear that too.