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Have You Ever Been A Victim of This “Shady” Car Rental Practice?

After repeatedly answering reader complaints about the “shady inner workings” of car rental agencies in the U.S, nationally syndicated New York Post financial columnist John Crudele is calling for an investigation into unethical business practices industrywide. Crudele noted that the industry may be ripe for “an enterprising attorney” willing to pursue a class action lawsuit.

Travelers who have not been hit by hidden fees or gouged for “compulsory” services when returning a rental car, likely know someone who has. Now, New York Post syndicated columnist John Crudele is saying what many frequent flyers have suspected for years – the car rental industry might not be the most ethical game in town.

“Sure, you get great deals on car rentals,” Crudele wrote in his latest “Dear John” column on January 13.  “And then you get ripped off on the return.”

The longtime business reporter was responding to a reader complaint that Avis unfairly charged nearly $20 for putting gas into a car that he had returned with a full tank. Crudele noted that this wasn’t the first time this sort of “shady” car rental practice had been brought to his attention.

“Look, I’ve been on this case for a long time,” he explained. “The car rental industry needs to be investigated. Or some enterprising attorney needs to file a class action suit against the lot of them because of their business practices. The truth is, there is no way to fill a gas tank up to the brim. No safe way, at least. I’ve tried. And no matter how much gas you put in the tank, you still have to drive some distance to return the car. If you’ve picked the option to return the car full — or pay for the gas they have to add — then you are always going to get charged. And the last time this happened to me the charge was $10 a gallon.”

Even with the media attention, it appears that Avis was unwilling to budge on the questionable fee. The columnist, however, reassured the reader that he was not unreasonable to be upset by a charge of $19.17.

“Twenty dollars from you,” he lamented. “Twenty from someone else. Twenty from a million customers, and it starts to add up.”


[Image: Flickr/Atomic Taco]

Comments are Closed.
zanetti2000 May 23, 2019

Maggiore Car Rental in Italy is famous for post return markups. They won't even let you see the total rental cost but still require your signature on return. More than Doubling the agreed upon rental charge. This has happened to me three times in Italy (I'm slow to learn this lesson). I refused to sign last time and the agent said he would call the police. I thought American Express would stand by me and refuse the excess charges but they would not.

pony_trekker May 23, 2019

I actually haven't had this happen. I am more perturbed with the downgrades. You rent a premium and the rental counter (when there is one) breaks out into hysterics when you ask for a Camry. You'll get a Kia, a Trabant or a Yugo and like it!

Mbuchanan May 19, 2019

Hi, I've recently been accused of damaging a car when we rented from Avis. We picked up a car at Cairns (Australia) airport (aprox. 8pm) and while we did look the car over it all looked ok. Drove to our accom and then noticed a big scratch on the car the next morning after very heavy rain. We took the car back the next morning to show them but, apparently, that was too late. We then explained to the guy we returned the car to who commented that it looked like it had been painted over. Off the hook, so we thought. After that we had several phone conversations with several Avis employees - even sent them the pics I took - explaining that it looked ok when we picked the car up but they're now pursuing me for the cost of repair. Yes, I should have taken pics at pick up (and certainly will in future) but I suspect we still wouldn't have seen it because whoever did it had covered the damage. How can they get away with this? I'm now wondering how often this happens...

OZFLYER86 May 17, 2019

returned a Hertz car to Vail airport, 30 mins before rental time was up. Checked in & then realised I'll left my sunglasses in the car. Went to Hertz, got the keys & found sunnys. When I got home, there was a charge from Hertz for extra day, which I eventually got refunded after lots of hassles. Turns out the person who took the keys didn't log the car back in, til much later cos "she was busy"

pedrofs February 5, 2019

Yes, Budget Reno airport, November, 2018....Filled tank 2 miles from the airport. At check in area (garage) no one in sight. Went inside and gave attendant keys...she said she'd email me the receipt. Receipt showed $95 fuel charge. I contested it (didn't have receipt but had debit on my card) never heard back from Budget. They won the battle, but I won the war...never use Budget again... Pete