4 Easy Steps To Avoid Car Rental Fuel Charges

The mysterious charge that appears on your credit card after you return the rental car for missing fuel is annoying and virtually impossible to dispute and have reversed. It’s your word against the car rental companies. We outline the issue with examples in this article - After Rental Fuel Charges - A Common Complaint.

Fear not though. There is a way to protect yourself.

Follow the 4 steps outlined below and rest easy in the knowledge that you have an iron clad paper trail that a car rental company can't argue with. At the bottom is a simple infographic outlining each of the steps. Save it to your phone or tablet to use as a reference next time you rent a car.

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Renting under the age of 25

The situation for young drivers isn't as restrictive as it was even a few years ago when most major car rental companies didn't allow anyone under 25 to rent. These days drivers age 21 to 24 are permitted to rent at most locations operated by Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National, Sixt and Thrifty subject to additional fees, requirements and restrictions.

In most cases these drivers are required to pay a daily surcharge that can vary by company and location. Additionally, restrictions generally apply to the categories of cars that young drivers are permitted to rent. Typically high passenger vehicles and luxury cars are off limits, however, some companies and locations will allow these vehicles to be rented for an additional fee.

Drivers ages 18 to 21 are generally unable to rent from most companies and locations. In the United States, New York and Michigan state laws require agencies to rent to drivers ages 18 and older. However, hefty fees and restrictions apply. There are other countries and companies that allow younger drivers but again there are usually additional costs and restrictions involved.

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How to Avoid Being Charged for Pre-Existing Damage to Your Rental Car

Rental car companies will inspect cars carefully upon return; do yourself a favor and perform your own inspection before driving off the lot. A little extra time and effort at the beginning of your trip will save you undue charges later on.

Walk all the way around your rental car and inspect the exterior. Take note of even small dents and scratches. If possible, check the roof. Inside the car, look for rips or tears in the upholstery and fabric. Check the ceiling and back seats. Scratches, dents, and damages to glass or bumpers are the most common claims.

Document any damage in writing on an official form or rental agreement from the rental company. Be sure to get an employee to verify and sign the forms. Both the rental company and you should have a copy of any forms that indicate pre-existing damage. It is very important that you have something in writing signed by an employee. In a perfect world, an employee would accompany you to your rental car and assist you with the inspection. In reality, you may have to track someone down.

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Guide to Renting & Driving in Spain

Renting a car makes rural Spain accessible to the traveler. Having your own car affords you far more flexibility and freedom as you travel throughout the countryside of northern and western Spain or between cities. Within the major cities, you may find the metro or bus system sufficient and, arguably, more convenient. Travelers may find the best way to travel in Spain is a combination of public transportation and rental car.

Car rentals are affordable and will be similar to rates in the United States on average however they vary wildly based on the season. In off season, you can often rent a small car for a week for less than $100 USD in resort areas. Summer and school holidays are a very different story with prices often increasing by around 200% and more - generally, cost will be lower the earlier you book a car. Most major rental companies have a presence at airports and city centers. You can also choose to rent from one of many smaller companies and may find this even more affordable. The added expense of gasoline, insurance, and tolls should be factored in. It will be required that you purchase liability insurance and advisable to also add on additional insurance. Expect your rental car to be a manual transmission. If you need to rent an automatic transmission car, plan on making a reservation far ahead of when you actually need the car.

Although anyone over 18 with a license is able to drive in Spain, you  may find companies will only rent to those over 21. While a US driver’s license is valid in Spain, it is advisable to pay the small fee and get an International Driver’s Permit. This option is available from the American Automobile Association and is an excellent idea as you travel throughout Europe and elsewhere.

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Car Rental Fuel Charges - A Common Complaint

Have you ever returned your rental car and then a week or two later found a mysterious charge on your credit card from the car rental company? This is one of the most common complaints, the charges that appear after the customer returned the car and everything seemed fine.

Post rental charges can be for a number of things including:

Damage caused to the car during the rental period. Toll road usage charges. Extraordinary cleaning. Late return. Missing fuel.

Missing fuel is by far the most common charge (closely followed by damage charges) and one that is appearing more and more often. Most companies offer options when you pick up the car to pre pay for a full tank of fuel allowing you to return it empty without having to worry about filling up just before you drop off the car. In countries like Spain and Portugal some companies actually enforce this as their standard policy, often charging the full tank at a much higher price than you would pay at a petrol station, a way for them to offer low up front prices but then make up the difference when you pick up the car.

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Jack Crawford Taylor, Founder of Enterprise Rent a Car, Dies at 94

Jack Crawford Taylor, Founder of Enterprise Rent a Car, Dies at 94
Jack Taylor who started his tiny car rental company and built it into the largest in the world, died on Friday July 2nd in St. Louis at age 94. The company that he started in 1957 in Missouri, Enterprise Holdings Inc, now owns Alamo Rent a Car, Enterprise Rent a Car and National Car Rental. Many outside the US may not have heard of Enterp...
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Child Seat Rules and Penalties in the UK

Sixt Car Rental have launched a campaign to educate consumers regarding the rules and regulations of child safety seat use in vehicles in the UK.

“It is estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Seat Check campaign that 7 out of 10 of car seats on the UK are not installed correctly.”

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Airport Car Rental - What You Need to Know

If you’re planning to pick up or drop off your next car rental at the airport there are a few things you should know before you head on your way.

Some car rental offices are located inside the airport terminal while others are located off premise. The fleet of rental cars is generally located either in a lot attached to the airport or a shuttle-ride away in a satellite lot.

For large international airports with multiple terminals, it’s important to reserve your rental car in the terminal you will be traveling through, you don’t want to hike all over the airport if you can help it. Many terminals operate independently so if you reserved your car in terminal one that’s where you will need to go to sign documents and pick up your car. Car rental counters are typically located near the baggage claim area and posted signs will guide you to your destination.

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Car Rental and Car Hire Fuel Policies Explained

The different fuel policies offered by car rental and car hire companies can be very confusing. In this article I will explain the various options.

The golden piece of advice here is to know exactly what your options are before you book. At the very least, know what your obligations are before you drive away to save yourself additional expense and aggravation later.

OPTION 1: Full to Full

This is by far the most common default policy used worldwide and in my opinion, it also the easiest to understand and fairest for the customer. It is very simple. When you pick up your car it is full of fuel and it is your responsibility to return it full at the end of the rental.

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International Driving Permits

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is an official document that provides a translation of important information from your driver’s license. The permit contains your name, photo and driver information translated into 11 languages, including English.

International driving permits are recognized in over 150 countries today. Many countries that do not recognize US, UK, Australian or other driver’s licenses do officially recognize an IDP. Additionally, some countries only honor valid US, UK or Australian driver’s licenses when accompanied by a local language translation, satisfied by the IDP.

Carrying an international driving permit along with a valid driver’s license from your home country, can help with language barriers when traveling in non-English speaking countries. The IDP also serves as an additional source of identification. So, buying an IDP prior to your trip can save a lot of potential time-consuming headaches. If you need to communicate with foreign authorities, an IDP can be a big help.

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