A $93 “top off” charge for my rental car?

Question: I rented a car from Hertz in Miami a few months ago. Before returning it, I filled it up with gas. When I turned the car in, I double-checked the fuel gauge, made sure my receipt reflected that the car had been returned full, and, thinking I had myself covered, flew home.

A few days later I received a letter from Hertz saying I had been charged $93 for refueling. It went on to say that their own receipt that stated the gauge was full, was not ample proof that I had refueled the car and I would need to provide a receipt.

I paid for the gas with cash and did not keep my receipt.

I was aghast that I was not protected by their own paperwork and the burden of proof was on me to produce a receipt.

What can I do? I’ve called Hertz numerous times to no avail. Am I just a victim of their latest scam? Do you think it is fair for them to disregard their own receipt as proof that the car was refueled? — Danny Griffin, Los Angeles

Answer: No, that’s not fair. If Hertz gives you a receipt that verifies your car was returned with a full tank, then that should be the end of the story. Case closed.

It’s true that car rental companies are getting strict about cars that are returned with less than a full tank. Some companies make you show them a receipt when you bring back the car. That’s fine.

But making you show a receipt after you’ve settled up? I’ve never heard of that until now.

How did this happen? It’s possible that the Hertz agent checking you in didn’t pay attention to the gas gauge and printed your receipt. Later, another associate discovered that the needle on your gas gauge was tilting toward the “E” and decided to charge you.

I think a $93 bill is a tad excessive. That’s a very generous markup and probably more than covers Hertz’s cost to top off your tank. I can’t blame you for thinking it’s a scam.

Here’s what you have to remember the next time you rent a car: When you refuel, use a credit card and ask for a paper receipt. Keep the receipt and show it to the employee when you return the car. You might want to ask if it’s enough proof of a full tank, and if it’s not, what you would need to do in order to avoid a refueling charge.

I contacted Hertz on your behalf. It refunded your $93.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • john4868

    Sorry as soon as my receipt is marked F by Hertz, the car is full at return. Just like if they write “no damage,” they own a dent. Who’s to say one of their employees didn’t take it for a joy ride and burn the gas?

  • backprop

    That’s just wonderful, especially when you get a tiny thermal receipt from the pump and have to hold onto it as it turns black from being in the hot car. Bet that wouldn’t have been accepted as proof.

    Anyway, this one is a no-brainer. It should not have required mediation to settle this, and Hertz needs every bit of bad publicity it can get for putting Griffin through this little charade.

  • BillCCC

    I voted yes since it is probably the only way to prove that the tank is indeed full.

    If the employee noted that the tank was full then there is no way that he shouls have been charged for a tank of gas.

  • frostysnowman

    If the needle on the gas gauge is on F, the tank is full. No receipt should be required or requested. End of story.

  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    We have to draw the line somewhere. I get it if (big IF) an employee signs off “no damage” then they wash the car and find something, you can dispute it with your own photos. But now they’re going to say their own employees are too dumb to be able to determine if the needle is at F? If a receipt is required, then it should be a stated policy. Otherwise, the employee’s word is final. Low blow, Hertz.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    The car rental agencies are getting more and more creative with their money grab, aren’t they?

    “We realize, Mr. Car Rental Customer, that you’ve brought it back with a full tank and, yes, our own employee has said it has a full tank, but we don’t believe our own eyes and feel it MUST need a fill-up to the tune of $93.”

    Jeez Louise – unless the rental was a Suburban with a 40 gallon gas tank, there’s NO WAY a “top-off” costs this much.

  • cscasi

    I believe one of the
    “problems” with returning the vehicle with a full tank of fuel is, is
    it really when you return it? I know from past experience that one can fuel up
    and then drive in excess of 40 miles and still have many of the gas gauges in
    vehicles show full. So, I am sure there are many who know what and fill
    accordingly. Then, as soon as the next customer drives off the lot the gauge
    begins creeping down before he/she drives even ten miles.

    One car rental at New Orleans airport requires that returning customers
    provide a gas receipt when they return the vehicle; a receipt with the current
    date on it and within ten miles of the return location. That will help stop
    some who would fill up way out and drive another 30-45 miles. It’s a shame we
    are faced with this, but with the price of fuel and labor these days, having to
    top off its vehicles does eat into the rental company’s bottom line.

  • Cybrsk8r

    This is a total scam. If the gauge showed full, what exactly does Hertz think was in the tank, water? I’m waiting for a rental company (probably Alamo) to try that one. And isn’t Hertz supposed to be one the “good” companies that never pulls this crap? I guess you’re not really safe from “gotchas” anywhere.

    I keep my receipts until my statement comes. Even if you pay cash, you can still ask the cashier for a receipt. And if you pay with a credit card, your monthly statement showing the fuel purchase should be enough to win a dispute with the CC company if it comes to that.

    And any requirement for a receipt should be disclosed at the beginning of the rental. In fact, I would go so far as requiring an initial line on the rental agreement. That would ensure that the customer is made aware of the requirement.

  • SoBeSparky

    If Hertz’ contract says you have to produce a receipt upon request, then you have to produce the receipt. You cannot pick and choose the contract items you want to have apply.
    Yes, rental car companies have a right to enforce contracts, even when it seems illogical.

  • Daisiemae

    But if that is the policy, it should be stated up front both in writing and verbally…not after the customer has settled up and has been given a receipt marked full. And certainly a top off is not going to cost $93! That’s a blatant ripoff!

  • IGoEverywhere

    Absolutely save a full gas receipt. Every travel agent knows to tell the client this. Hertz probably did wrong, and wrong happens is all phases of life, but now you need to prove it.

  • jikinn

    I just got back from a trip to Seattle, where we had rented a car from Hertz. Sea/Tac airport has a brand new rental car facility, which is not on-site at the airport, so when we returned the car, the Hertz people offered to drive us to the departure area at the airport (which we appreciated because it meant we didn’t have to schlep our stuff to the shuttle bus). However, all of us, our luggage, and the Hertz driver didn’t all fit into the car we had rented, so they moved our luggage to another car that was just coming back from having taken its previous renter to the airport. Everything was uneventful, but if that same car had been used several times that day to ferry people to the airport or if some kind of damage to the car occurred while the Hertz employee was driving the car, the cost for the gas or the blame for any damage could have been assigned to the person who rented it last, even though he had returned the car to Hertz undamaged and with a full gas tank. Being driven to the departure gate was a big convenience, so I hope this service doesn’t have to be discontinued due to the potential for disputes about the condition of the cars after they have been returned.

  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    The only problem with that is that gas stations near car rental places are notorious for having higher than average prices.

  • charliebgolf

    I don’t think the receipt for gas is proof as someone might fill up in the morning and then drive a hundred miles to the airport. If the gauge says full that should be the end of the story. If the gauge is malfunctioning then that is not the renters problem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TravelingSalesman Jim Daniel

    They get to ask for a receipt WHEN they start giving me a receipt at the time i rent the car showing it was full.
    has anyone ever taken a car directly to a station to check the actual fuel level upon renting the car

  • Joe_D_Messina

    He can prove it because Hertz’s own paperwork says the tank was full. That’s much more proof than any receipt could provide–he could have filled the car up many, many miles away from the rental return site. Demanding the receipt is just Hertz’s way of giving him the runaround.

  • l2y2

    I recently rented a car from Avis at Ontario in Southern CA. On the way to the airport, my passengers encouraged me to refuel sooner rather than closer to the airport. I was the one who signed the contract stating that if the car was not returned with a full tank I would be charged $10 a gallon for refueling. After reading all the horror stories about ridiculous charges by rental car companies, I did not want to take the chance that they thought I did not return the car fully fueled. We refueled a mere 2 miles to the airport. I am wondering if Hertz saw that the needle was very slightly below the F and took advantage of Mr. Griffin? BTW, I also took numerous pictures of the car and made sure the agent checking me out with the car signed off on every little scratch and dent already there. I feel like I am be overly paranoid, but problems like this are all too common now.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    If they’d demanded a receipt when he had turned the car in, I’d agree with you. But this didn’t come up until days after they’d accepted the car and marked “Full” on the paperwork which closed the transaction as far as the fuel issue was concerned. If demanding a receipt days later was to be considered a reasonable practice, how much further could they go? Would demanding a receipt months later also be okay? A year later?

  • l2y2

    I also voted to save your receipt to prove you refueled. From past experience they do look at the time on the receipt you refueled and the time you are returning the car. With the high prices of gas now, they have gotten very picky about making sure you didn’t refuel too far away from the airport.

  • Dutchess

    Last time I checked every car has a nifty little gadget that tells you the tank is fuel. Why should we now have to provide double proof that the tank is indeed full?

  • Dutchess

    If you read your response it makes no sense. You say not topping off eats into the rental company’s bottom line. Yet you also say the victim is the next person who rents the car? So, which is it?

    I think it’s a bunch of crap. There’s a fuel gauge in the car that indicates the fuel level of the car. That should be sufficient to prove the tank is full.
    If you buy into their story that it hurts other consumers you’re a fool. We all know there true motive is PROFIT. If they start requiring receipts they have a “GOTCHA” moment for dozens of renters a day where they will put $5 in gas in a car and charge them $95 on their credit card. If you think that Hertz or any rental car company has customers in mind when they enact rules like this, you’re sorely mistaken.

  • Rochelle

    A receipt with the date and time stamp from the gas station, compared to the date and time of vehicle return should be sufficient. If you fill up at 10:02 two miles from the dropoff, and they check you in at 10:15, that’s close enough for time difference of reaching the desk to turn the vehicle in (or whatever your case may be) with a full tank.

  • Dutchess

    There’s a difference between a best practice to save the receipt and voting YES that the rental car companies should ask for receipts.

  • Cybrsk8r

    And be careful about accepting a car with less than a full tank. I have an Enterprise near here that always rents their cars with 1/2 a tank. So what’s the difference? Well, think about it.

    If the tank is full when you rent it, then there are only two possible scenarios when you return it. Either the tank is full, or it’s not. If the tank isn’t full, they charge you for the fuel.

    But if the car only has 1/2 a tank when you rent it, now there are three possible scenarios when you return. The third scenario is that there is MORE gas in it than when you took possession. And I have yet to see a contract that doesn’t say the agency will not compensate the customer for extra fuel. So if you forget and fill it up before returning it, you’ve just given them a free half-tank of gas, and it’s a pretty safe bet they are not going to pass that free gas onto the next renter.

  • Rochelle

    Fill up at a different station along the way, say a gallon from the car rental location (20 miles? 30 miles?), and then top off at the airport vicinity to get that receipt. That way you’re not filling the tank with over-priced gas..

  • BrownLunchSack

    As a former rental car agent, I have a few opinions on this story and the things being written in the comments. Firstly, I agree with most that as soon as you receive your receipt upon return, no other charges/penalties/etc. should be assessed to the renter. What I always found interesting is that (at least with the rental car company I worked for), there was nothing stopping employees from going back into any rental within a set period after the return and changing things around, all without requiring any signatures from the renter; in fact, we weren’t required to print a receipt, and the receipts didn’t need to be signed by the renter upon return.

    As for the fuel charge issue, all major rental car companies have a clause in their contract that says something to the effect of “If you don’t pre-purchase your fuel, you will be charged $X per gallon or $X/mile if you don’t return the car with at least as much fuel as when you received it.” There are 2 things to note with this:

    1) if you rent a car, drive it 5 miles, return it, the tank still shows full, and you indicate to the rental agent upon return that you didn’t put any gas in the car, you will be required to pay that per-mile fuel charge because you clearly didn’t replace the fuel that you used; and

    2) it says what the rate is for the rental company to refuel the car for you. To those who say that $90 is an excessive charge, I say it isn’t. I just pulled a rental contract from a Hertz rental I made in December 2010 and it shows that the per gallon charge to replace the fuel is $8.99/gallon. If had used 10 gallons of fuel on this rental and not replaced the fuel I used, how much would I have had to pay? That’s right! About $90, the same (approximate) amount that was originally billed to the OP in this story. I’m not saying the OP should have to pay this as he had a receipt indicating the car was returned full (see my first paragraph above), however it definitely looks like the $93 was a reasonable charge for replacing fuel in the car based on terms spelled out in a normal rental car contract. To those that say it doesn’t cost Hertz $93 to replace that fuel, I agree with you, however that’s faulty logic to complain about the charge. No for-profit business charges things “at-cost” and with rental car companies,
    they spell the terms out pretty clearly on their contract (honestly, Hertz makes it really clear on the old contract I looked at), so to complain about a clearly disclosed fee as excessive doesn’t hold any water with me.

  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Hmmm. Maybe. Not sure what a $1 gas receipt would really prove, tho… I think in the end, it has to be the employee eyeballing the gauge. As others have noted, F doesn’t necessarily mean the tank is completely full. I’m all for less documentation / rules than more, so once the employee signs off that it’s “full”, I don’t think the rental company has any more claim.

  • BrownLunchSack

    One other thing I’ve always thought about…a receipt proves nothing. Think about it: I’m returning a rental car, I stop at a nearby gas station, ask someone else to give me their receipt (or just go up to the cashier and say “pump 4 is out of paper, can I have a receipt please”), and presto! I have a receipt that indicates somebody at this gas station put 8.768 gallons of gas into some car. Alternative scenario (for those who say “the receipt will have someone else’s name from the credit card”): I go to the station, fill up someone else’s car with my credit card, and they pay me cash. Now I have a credit card receipt in my name indicating I filled up X gallons in some car.

    What’s my point with all of this? I don’t really know, just that a receipt doesn’t necessarily prove anything.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Wow. Please tell me what rental car agency you worked for, so I can avoid it like the plague. Your attitude towards customers is horrendous.

    I find it ironic that you seem to view the customers as the scammers, when all of us who read Christopher’s blog know full well that rental car agencies are notorious for scamming their customers with things like the mysterious dent or windshield chip that ends up becoming a profit center as customer after customer is charged for “repairs” that never get done.

  • BrownLunchSack

    I am not trying to imply anything with regards to who is scamming who with my above comment, simply posing the thought that a receipt doesn’t prove anything. A rental car company could just as easily manipulate records on their end to show that cars are fueled/not fueled/etc.

    As for you thinking that I seem to view customers as the scammers, my stance has always been (and will always be) that both parties are responsible for knowing and abiding by their sides of whatever contract they enter. I don’t think I once encountered anyone who was trying to work the system or “scam” the company I worked for, but many people were misinformed or didn’t understand the terms and conditions spelled out in a car rental agreement.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    I get your main point that a receipt doesn’t necessarily prove a whole lot, but your “alternative scenario” has probably never happened once in history. A complete stranger approaches offering to fill up my car on his credit card in exchange for cash. There’s no incentive for me to go along with this oddball request, as I’m out the same amount of money as simply paying the station normally. Without a doubt I conclude it’s some sort of scam and/or the guy’s a whacko.

  • BillCCC

    You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. If you want to show that you did indeed fill up a receipt will help. If you would rather fight the rental company and cause yourself grief for not providing something that you already have (like a receipt) then you are free to do so. I only stated my opinion. I would rather avoid the hassle.

  • twres

    A rental company once explained to me that they require receipts as proof of a full tank because there were people who would put small rocks into the gas tank to make it appear full without buying much gas. That seems ridiculous someone would do that, but I guess it only takes one dummy to ruin it for everyone.

  • DavidYoung2

    Just in case, I always snap a picture of the receipt with my cell phone. Come to think of it, I need to clean out about 100 pictures off my phone of rental cars when I picked them up, rental cars that I dropped off and gas receipts!

  • Bill___A

    Charlie, some of them ask for the receipt so they can see where the fill up was done and when.
    One thing I do is make sure the car is properly topped off and I think I am more than fair with the car rental companies.
    I did have one incident where I had rented a car and it ended up being driven only 83 miles. Long story..but the British gas pump wouldn’t “top it up” properly. I don’t know whether the problem was me or the pump or the car. But time was running out, so I went to Hertz and explained the problem. Their computer made them charge for the gas, but they did a customer service credit, so I did end up paying for gas, and some money for their trouble, but I felt it was fair.
    Usually, when I return a car, even though they look at the fuel level, there is a brief conversation asking if I “filled up”. I also do my own photographic check of the vehicle before and after. I’ve not had problems so far, and I usually rent from Hertz.
    I don’t know what would prompt this $93 charge. It is not the Hertz I know.

  • Bill___A

    You have a responsibility to ensure the tank is full when you rent it, too.

  • JimDavisHouston

    I could fill 5 pages of bogus charges that I received from Hertz. You have to hold your ground, and have receipts for everything. I save my receipts for a couple of months after a business trip, just for this purpose. If you call their bluff, they back off.

  • Trudi

    If you fill the tank, why wouldn’t you have a receipt to show them? I always leave a copy of the receipt in the car, and I’ve lately taken a digital dated photo of the car before renting it and when returning including a photo of the gas guage. I’ve never had a problem, but I’ve read of others who have had issues. I rent more cars than the average person, and rental companies can be very difficult sometimes. Glad to hear they refunded the $93.

  • http://gspirits.com/ Zod

    Or you can rent from a rental company that doesn’t shaft their customers.
    I’ve rented from all the major players and have had problems with all of them *EXCEPT* for Avis. As a result, Avis now gets *ALL* my business no matter where I am. No exceptions!

  • Lynn Wilson

    You are fortunate not to have had a daughter who used that very scam to steal several thousand dollars from her father.

  • sdir

    A friend and I rented a U-Haul and the truck’s gauge was below full. Of course, it didn’t look like it was THAT much below, and we went to a gas station and immediately filled it up. We put in over 10 gallons! My point is, the gas gauge is deceiving and customers don’t receive a full tank, even when it appears they do. Maybe customers should ask for proof that the tank was just filled before renting.

  • emanon256

    Hertz pulled the same thing with me once, fortunately I still had the receipt and was able to e-mail ti to them. It was ~$80 in my case.

    I still voted yes, because many time I have rented a car that was supposedly full, and after 3-5 miles the gauge started dropping. In these cases when I have filled the car after driving 20-30 miles, they have taken 3-5 gallons. Other times while getting the same car make/model/year, it stays at full for the full 20-30 miles, and then barely takes a gallon. I think some people are using the car for 50 or so miles, and if the needle is still at full, they return it. Then if the rental company doesn’t catch it, the next driver gets caught paying for their gas. I really think they should always require proof that it was really filled up, 100% of the time, so that the wrong person doesn’t have to pay.

  • emanon256

    Many cars needles stay on F for a good 50+ miles. My car actually says on F until I have gone 100 miles. So returning a car on F, when a good amount of gas has been used, is cheating the next driver, not the rental car company.

  • Bill___A

    We all know how to fill a car up with gas., Do it, be fair, and be done with it.

  • http://upgrd.com/roadmoretraveled MeanMeosh

    While that may be true of gas stations in the immediate vicinity of an airport, you can usually avoid this problem just be refueling a couple of miles away. Here in Dallas, there’s a gas station at the south entrance to the airport right by the rental car return that charges your typical airport rip-off rates. Head down the freeway to the next exit, though, and it’s a good 30 cents a gallon cheaper.

  • TexanPatriot1

    I’ve rented upwards of 100 cars in my lifetime with all my travels. I have never been asked to show a fuel receipt even once.

  • TexanPatriot1

    A lot of places, particularly those in the neighborhoods (non-airport locations) don’t provide full tanks, they put down whatever the needle says. At airport locations, nearly all of the cars I’ve rented were filled up.

  • TexanPatriot1

    THey’re turning me off as a customer, just like the airlines are.

  • TexanPatriot1

    Now most of them are really pimping you HARD at the counter to purchase a tank of gas ( supposedly ) relieving you of responsibliity to fill up. Of course that gas is double the going rate, but better than the 10 a gallon “penalty” rate.

  • sdir

    I agree with you, but I wouldn’t automatically put all the blame on whomever rented the car last. Last time I rented, the rental place picked me up, which was a good 10-15 mile round trip. I commented on what a nice ride it was and he explained it was a rental that someone just turned in and that he would be taking it to get detailed. So it’s entirely possible that the rental place used up some of that “full” tank before renting to another customer.

  • scapel

    The last time I rented a car from Hertz in Anchorage,AK, they didn’t even come and check the car. I parked in in a covered garage and went in to pay up. I of course had pictures of the car that I kept, but that was 3 months ago. I told them it was full. I don’t recall if the receipt showed that, but I will be sure to check next time. I guess I should have taken a picture of the dashboard showing the milage and full gas gauge. Was Hertz able to add a $93 charge to the credit card on file automatically?
    I suppose so, since it had to be credited back. One has to put tha charge in dispute with credit card company.

  • jafrommeyer

    This EXACT same scenario played out for me last month in Los Angeles. The charge was put on my credit card a week after returning the car. The charge was $85.49. I still had the HERTZ receipt from the parking attendant to whom I returned the car. I had paid with my credit card. HERTZ said they would only give me a $20 refund unless I sent them a copy of my credit card statement showing the charge for gasoline the night before returning the car. Absurd! Corporate greed! I will never rent with HERTZ again.

  • lcpossum

    No, definitely not “every” car; apparently, you didn’t check very closely. Some newer models with premium option packages have a digital fuel readout that tells miles traveled since last fill and estimated miles to bone dry, but I doubt if many rental cars have this item.

    You’re probably talking about the analog fuel gauge. The only thing a “F” on that thing means is that the tank isn’t empty. My truck has a range of around 270 miles on a full tank, yet I can drive 60 miles before the needle budges from “F.”

    That’s why we have to provide PROOF that the tank is full in the form of a recent fuel receipt.

  • lcpossum

    CYA, Dutchess, CYA.

  • y_p_w

    Just a general comment on fuel gauges.

    I have (as some have claimed to do) looked for gas stations that are somewhat close to the airport but not so close that they charge an “airport premium” because they know that many rental returns will be coming in to fill up. Typically the gauge will still “look full” when I return it, and I assume that’s typically the way I receive a rental car at the lot. I try not to go more than five miles, but that’s because I realize there will be someone else down the line driving the car.

    The other thing is that “filling up” is inconsistent. There are numerous styles of pumps, handles, nozzles, and other assorted equipment. I’m pretty sure that when the thing clicks to stop, it could be anywhere from absolutely full to the owner’s manual capacity or as little as a gallon less. Some fuel pumps create lots of bubbles depending on flow rate, and that affects how full it actually gets if there’s bubbles in there that haven’t dissipated. I knew people who owned cars that ran on diesel, and that got interesting because the fuel was more viscous and sometimes the bubbles would take a long time to go away.

  • y_p_w

    I’ve had times where I’ve used a “pay at the pump” credit card reader and the pump itself either was out of printer paper or the printer was malfunctioning. Typically they’ll give an indication that one should go inside to get a copy of the receipt. Most of the time I don’t care because I haven’t been cheated buying gas before.

  • http://upgrd.com/roadmoretraveled MeanMeosh

    Not really. Most of the “prepaid” fuel options I’ve seen have been within a few cents of the market price in the area, if not a little less. The problem is this – who’s going to run a tank down until it’s completely dry? Even if you return it as the fuel light is coming on, there’s probably still 2 gallons in the tank, meaning you’re pretty much always going to pay for gas you don’t use.

  • http://upgrd.com/roadmoretraveled MeanMeosh

    There’s one other problem with all of this. Receipt or not, what exactly constitutes “full” these days? Fill it up until the automatic stop kicks in, or are you obligated to fill it to the brim, admonishments at most gas pumps not to top-up notwithstanding? Modern cars are kind of all over the place regarding how much you have to top-up to get the tank completely full. My car takes a good 2 gallons after the automatic stop. My wife’s takes a whopping 5. I’ve rented cars that run the gamut, from a good 3 gallons to top-up, to a Mustang that took maybe a quarter gallon before gas started spilling out everywhere (I’ve since learned to be very, VERY cautious on Fords with capless systems).

    I also have to wonder whether rental car agencies, especially in-town locations, are taking advantage of short duration rentals where people drive less than 75 miles and just decide to pay the flat fee. I once rented a car in Austin, and drove maybe 20 miles. I didn’t feel like filling up, so I just paid the $13 fee or whatever it was to be done with it. Needless to say, after 20 miles, the needle didn’t move off of “F”. I’m curious if the rental company topped up the tank afterwards, or left it that way for the next unsuspecting renter. I’ve had my share of suspiciously short ranges on a full tank (no reason any car should run low on gas on a full tank from Dallas to Houston – it’s only 238 miles – but I’ve had this happen several times from the place I rent from), which makes me wonder.

  • Maimognida Markovna

    This happen to me as well when I rented a car in Vegas from Hertz, I didn’t keep receipt but since I paid using my credit card, Hertz accepted statement from my credit card where it was showing that I have bought a fuel on a gas station in Vegas vicinity, so they refunded me refueling charge.

  • Dutchess

    Except you do realize the only reason the rental car companies want to enforce this is to generate another revenue stream. They want to have one more gotcha before you leave so they can levy one more fine or fee on you for not having a fuel receipt. They aren’t losing money on cars that aren’t on full. At worst the next person who rents the car loses out on a 1/2 gallon of gas due to it being less than 100% full. The real winner here is the rental car company who will be able to charge unsuspecting tourists $9 a gallon for fueling their car or the gas stations near the airport that overcharge for fuel.

    This is the typical scenario where enforcing something sounds like a good idea but when you really THINK about what’s happening it makes no sense because it will end up hurting individuals and mostly the casual traveller who doesn’t know the rule.

  • Dutchess

    Your comment is bad and you should feel bad.

  • http://www.talestoldfromtheroad.com/ Dick Jordan

    Hertz (which I almost always use) was completely out of line in this case by charging the customer after confirming he returned the car with a full tank. Luckily for me, I’ve never had Hertz charge me for gas unless I paid for it in advance at the time I picked up the car, or failed to refill the tank before returning it.

    I’ll be renting a car from Hertz in a couple of weeks. I’ll be sure to keep the receipt when I refill the tank on the way back to the airport.

  • lcpossum

    I would definitely feel bad if I failed to CYA and got screwed because of it.

  • lcpossum

    So now you understand what it’s all about and you know how to protect yourself.

  • cahdot

    enterprise never gives u a full tank so u must try to get it to 3/4 or 7/8 on return tricky so they get xxtra fuel

  • TMMao

    Chevy Aveos are the worst for fill-ups. The pump auto stops at 3/4 to 7/8 full and you have to force in that last 1/8 with short bursts of the pump.

    Thought it was just one car but 3 different ones were the same way.

  • Marcin Jeske

    I rent from Enterprise neighborhood locations often, and the reason they don’t have full tanks is that they are usually smaller locations without refueling equipment. It is just easier for them to rely on customers to fuel the vehicles.

    It is usually handled reasonably. It’s true that they won’t compensate you if you return the vehicle with more fuel then when you rented, but as long as the fuel gauge is in the ballpark of where it was, there are no charges. So unless someone has difficulty estimating how much fuel is needed to get back to the initial level, it is not an issue.

    I have usually found that the agent will mark a slightly lower fuel level then is indicated, to give some extra leeway by acknowledging it is hard to be so exact. Combined with the typically lower rental costs at these locations, that ends up being a pretty good deal. (Plus, full tanks mean you have a lot more weight to carry, so somewhat worse fuel efficiency.) While some customers may in reality gain a gallon, and some lose a gallon this way… that’s 4 bucks and evens out in the long run.

    It is true that occasionally a renter might forget and fill up all the way (wasting their money) but that probably balances out with those renters who forget to refuel (or can’t find a gas station and run out of time) and only get charged for maximum half a tank rather than a full one. A low tank means the location has to send out an employee to a gas station (and I have seen locations staffed by only one person).

    All in all, the practice you describe is not bad, it’s reasonable for those locations, and while a tad more complicated, usually saves both you and Enterprise time and money.

  • Bryan Nielsen

    I just received a letter from Hertz saying I didn’t fill my tank with a charge for $85 for 9 gallons of gas. I filled the tank 20 miles before the airport. I have no problem paying for 1 gallon of gas but I should not be charged for 9 gallons of gas. I have gotten as far as a supervisor will call me back in 3-5 days. Explaining that the receipt from Hertz says the tank was full got me the us vs them. At last check a Hertz employee checked in my car and I was talking to a Hertz employee. Even when/if the resolve this I will not be renting from Hertz again.

  • yoyomaa

    I’m more turned off by the $93 charge than the charge itself. If it were a few gallons (as other posters have pointed out, most cars remain at “F” for a few gallons), then I would expect a top off fee of ~$20 – inflated gas cost of $6 per gallon plus a “fee” of $8. But $93? That’s $40 per gallon, and simply can’t be correct. Seems as though an employee went for a joyride at this renter’s expense.

  • mistergregory

    SO the return receipt isn’t good enough proof for Hertz? Any bets as to whether, had the car been returned with an EMPTY tank, that the very same return receipt that showed an EMPTY tank magically -WOULD- be acceptable proof to Hertz that you returned the car empty?