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Old Mar 1, 04, 3:14 pm   #1
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Rental cars - return clean or dirty

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?
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Old Mar 1, 04, 3:25 pm   #2
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I am one that keeps the car as clean as I do my own car.... I do not get "messier" just because I travel... be it a car or hotel room.

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Old Mar 1, 04, 3:40 pm   #3
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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.

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Old Mar 1, 04, 3:45 pm   #4
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In the US, you can get away with it. However, if you ever try and do that to one of Stelios' EasyCars in the UK, he'll slap on a Ģ10 ($17) fee to do it for you:

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Old Mar 1, 04, 3:51 pm   #5
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Well you are billed by EasyRentACar in Britain (from the guy who brought you Easyjet) where the cars have a big sticker on the outside saying "Bring me back clean".

2. Cleaning fee deposit

But never heard of it from the main
brands, all of whom seem to have an automatic car wash and vacuum station and put all cars through regardless.
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Old Mar 1, 04, 4:10 pm   #6
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Cans, cups, papers, etc. - yeah, I leave those in the rental car when I return it.

I've never totally trashed a car or left a hard-to-clean-up mess. I've never been charged a cleaning fee.
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Old Mar 1, 04, 10:09 pm   #7
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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.
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Old Mar 1, 04, 10:09 pm   #8
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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.)
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Old Mar 1, 04, 10:12 pm   #9
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">I thought to myself "I bet someone has".</font>
Strangely, that would also be me.
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Old Mar 1, 04, 10:40 pm   #10
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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.
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Old Mar 1, 04, 11:50 pm   #11
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Friends of me in film-business keep saying: "Donīt be gentle to rental".
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Old Mar 2, 04, 6:39 am   #12
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I treat a rental car like I would my own. When I return it, it might need a wash and a vacuum, but I consider that as falling under "normal usage". Never been billed for cleaning.
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Old Mar 2, 04, 6:52 am   #13
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Another thread on this topic
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Old Mar 2, 04, 8:09 am   #14
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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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Old Mar 2, 04, 8:27 am   #15
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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.

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