I am a neat freak but generally do not pay much attention to the cleanliness of a rental car when I return it. For example, I might leave an empty soda can in the car. My spouse is much less concerned about cleanliness, but insists that rental car comapnies can bill your credit card if you return it dirty. Who is right?
I treat a rental car like a garbage can. I usually return it with empty cups, cans, newspapers, candy wrappers and assorted trash on the floors and seats. I don't leave a sticky mess, mind you, but it takes a few minutes more to clean than if I returned it in the same condition I got it in. I have never been billed a cleaning fee.
From C. Thompson's updated wisdom for the modern traveler: 1 Hang up on morons 2 Don't be that guy 3 Stop feeling so entitled
Thomas Freidman, op-ed columnist of the NY Times, believes Iraquis need to be involved in their own government. He has often said "In the history of the Western World, no one has ever washed a rental car".
When I've heard him say this, I thought to myself "I bet someone has". Now I know I am, on at least one small point, better informed than Tom Freidman.
I once rented a brand new Toyota Camry (with about 40km on the odometer) for a 2 week emergency job. Two of us had about 12 days to accomplish about 35 days work, all over Ontario and Quebec. We pretty much lived in the car for that period of time.
By the time we had returned it, we'd put about 4500km on it, filled the back seat knee deep with McDonalds wrappers, covered the car in mud, coal dust, and various other compounds, and riddled the front end of the car (particularly the engine hood) with little dimples, having parked just a little too close to where a Great Lakes bulk carrier (freighter) was unloading klinker pellets. In short, we trashed the car.
We also fully expected to get billed big time for the damage, which would then be passed on to our client (whose fault it was that we had to work in that fashion.) We pointed all this out to the rental agency when we returned it, but all we got was a shrug.
Never heard another thing about it.
(National at YYZ, in mid-1999 -- we were upgrading ships for Y2K to meet a psuedo-regulatory deadline.)
Got lost in the West Bank near Bethelem, went off-roading, and had the rental car covered in mud. It was late, and couldn't find a car wash, so we returned the car like that to Eldan at TLV. They took it, and didn't charge me extra, but that was 1995.
Put it this way, I'll never buy a rental, just b/c I know how I treat rental cars and I know that there are lots more like me out there.
However, I've never been charged for a cleaning fee either. I tend to leave it as dirty as I feel that I can without getting billed.. if its real dirty on the inside.. I will dump out some of the big stuff just in case.. as for dirt on the floor and stuff.. thats just part of the deal
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My wife and I rented a Chevy Blazer a few years ago and went camping and 4x4ing through the back trails of Colorado.
When we returned the truck, every single square inch of it was covered in a 1/2 thick layer of dried mud. I apologized to the guy taking the car back at DEN but he said it was no big deal as they run them through their own car wash anyway.
"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer." - Frank Zappa (1940-93)