10-mile fill-up on return?

 
Old May 2, 11, 10:24 pm
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10-mile fill-up on return?

I recently rented from Dollar and filled up before returning to BOS. Turns out I was 12 miles (according to the desk clerk) and the rule is you must fill up within 10 miles of the airport or be charged a 2-gallon fee (in this case ~$8.00). My question is, anyone else experiencing this? Is it reasonable to ask for a fill-up receipt at the time of rental of the car to see just how many gallons are in the tank? The car I rented got much more than 10 mpg, so this seems like a scam.
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Old May 2, 11, 10:41 pm
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Asking for a fuel receipt from Dollar when you rent the car isn't going to happen.

For one, if it was filled up on their lot, how would they give you a receipt? Their fuel pumps don't generate receipts.

If it was returned by the previous customer, how would they get a copy of that receipt to you? For one, they don't take a copy of the receipt--once the person shows the receipt, they're waved on their way. Two, even if they did photocopy everyone's receipts at return, the logistical hassle of maintaining them on file and having them readily produceable would be insane. And three, the receipt would have the previous renter's personal information--a huge potential privacy breach.

Asserting that Dollar is intentionally scamming you is silly. If they're aware the tank is not full, they're going to fill it up. Where the discrepancies come is when the previous customer represents to Dollar that he or she did indeed fill the car up but is being less than truthful. In that case, the scam is not upon Dollar but upon the previous renter of the car.

(If the needle is on/above full and the previous customer displays a receipt that it was filled up within 10 miles, Dollar will do a quick cleaning of the car and put it back on the ready line. They don't have time to take every car by the fueling station and stick a nozzle in it just to find that it only took 0.2 gallons. That would just lead to delays in getting you a car.)

So, since you can't trust the stranger who scammed the Dollar return agent before you, you're left with needing to verify the information on your own. Here's how you do that: upon leaving the lot, stop at the first gas station you see and fill up the car. If it takes more than a gallon, save that receipt and show it to the Dollar return agent and ask for it to be credited back.
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Old May 2, 11, 11:30 pm
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Seems like Dollar is asking us to trust them that the tank is "full" but charging us if we're filling up more than 10 miles outside of Logan. Just doesn't quite seem fair.
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Old May 2, 11, 11:38 pm
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They're asking you to trust the previous customer.

You could scam them just as easily--fill up within 10 miles but stop short of a full tank.

IME, most return agents (or managers on duty) are pretty easygoing about properly refunding you if you can establish that the car was not full when you return it. If you drove 40 miles but had to put 5 gallons in and show them your receipt, they'll usually make it right for you.

But you still need to bring it back filled up within 10 miles.
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Old May 3, 11, 6:26 am
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I think Dollar at BOS is a franchise. This policy might be unique to that location, and a surprise if you're used to different corporate rules at others.
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Old May 3, 11, 1:32 pm
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The PHX location asked for a receipt last weekend, luckily I had read through the language on the envelope the contract was in and saw this would be required and I had mine tucked into my wallet. I don't mind the procedure, in fact it seems quite fair to me.
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Old May 5, 11, 9:38 pm
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I actually don't mind the policy, but would like to see some parity. I don't mind trusting I have a full tank when I leave the lot as long as I can verify it, and I don't mind verifying I've returned a full tank. I have an issue with a one-sided ability to verify.
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Old May 6, 11, 12:54 am
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
They're asking you to trust the previous customer.
I'm sorry, but that should not be MY responsibility to do as a follow-on customer. It SHOULD be the renting agency's responsibility to rent me a car that has a full tank, provided as part of the process necessary to get the car cleaned and ready to re-rent.

I can't tell you how many times I've rented a car in which the gas gauge was showing below full, and there was not an agent at an exit gate to verify this, or a car in which the dial fell off "full" very quickly, i.e., within ten miles of leaving the rental location, indicating that the tank was a gallon or even two low when rented to me.
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Old May 6, 11, 6:42 am
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Originally Posted by ColoBill1 View Post
I'm sorry, but that should not be MY responsibility to do as a follow-on customer. It SHOULD be the renting agency's responsibility to rent me a car that has a full tank, provided as part of the process necessary to get the car cleaned and ready to re-rent.

I can't tell you how many times I've rented a car in which the gas gauge was showing below full, and there was not an agent at an exit gate to verify this, or a car in which the dial fell off "full" very quickly, i.e., within ten miles of leaving the rental location, indicating that the tank was a gallon or even two low when rented to me.
Productivity would drop, as it would take an extra five minutes to clean each vehicle, and the rental agencies would bear the cost of putting ~1-1.5 gallons in every car (what most cars would take), which is not enough to charge the previous customer for.

Expect rental rates to increase accordingly.
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Old Aug 17, 11, 9:46 pm
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How in the world did they know you got gas 12 miles away?? I've never even been asked anything of the sort, other than "is it full?" But, glad I read this thread, never had to give a reciept for what I put in a rental either, but apparently this is another Dollar'ism.....Guess I'll keep my reciept when I take it back.....
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Old Aug 17, 11, 10:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Paddlenpeddle View Post
How in the world did they know you got gas 12 miles away?? I've never even been asked anything of the sort, other than "is it full?" But, glad I read this thread, never had to give a reciept for what I put in a rental either, but apparently this is another Dollar'ism.....Guess I'll keep my reciept when I take it back.....
I've seen the "request" to fill up within x number of miles, but it has never been enforced.

It's hit and miss by location and brand. I've never been asked to show a receipt at ANY Dollar location, but Alamo in ATL once asked me for one and I didn't have it. They charged me $13 for fuel which I had credited at the kiosk.

I agree every renter is on their honor to fill up and we trust that they did.

I liked when Budget used to charge a flat fee, I think it was $13.50, if you drove under 75 miles. Saved time getting back to the airport.
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Old Sep 25, 11, 1:53 am
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Jackal, your lengthy posts are correct in noting that we can't expect rental car companies to give us receipts. However, I believe the receipt issue misses the larger point that it's ridiculous to charge for gas if someone filled up 12 miles away. Furthermore, it should be a simple 2 second operation to check if tank is full: turn on key and look at gauge. It doesn't have to be that complicated. Yes, sometimes there will be a $1-3 difference between needle on F and needle to right of F, but you can't tick off customers for the occasional $1-3. Most people fill up at an airport gas station. The IAD Exxon is the nicest for this. Trying to make sure the customers that fill up 25 miles away pay their fair share takes more resources than it's worth.
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Old Sep 25, 11, 8:02 am
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Originally Posted by HansGolden View Post
Yes, sometimes there will be a $1-3 difference between needle on F and needle to right of F, but you can't tick off customers for the occasional $1-3.
In an ideal world, I would not disagree with you. However, there can be a far greater difference between a needle just beginning to move off of F and a full tank. I've put in north of $10 in gas to fill up a tank when the needle still indicates F (I always stop by a station after picking the rental car up and making sure it actually is full).
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Old Sep 25, 11, 9:52 am
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Not so much a scam, but definitely something that I see as a shady business practice. They could build this cost into the price they advertise for vehicles, but they do not. Instead they have implemented an odd fee policy. Everytime someone forgets to get a receipt or loses it or just doesn't know the policy, the rental agency makes $8. And they make $8 when someone filled up over 10 miles away, when the gas cost is probably less than $2.

$8 is probably what, 10% of an average rental charge (excluding taxes)? A lot more for weekend ma and pa rentals where the whole weekend might have been $30 +taxes. Just businesses increasing their revenue and profit by forcing customers to jump through odd hoops while advertising a lower price.

$8 bears no relation to the amount of gas that actually has to go into the vehicle for a 12 mile drive. And do you think they actually top it off after they charge the previous customer the $8 even though it is still on full?

In the long run, for savvy consumers, prices should stay lower if rental car companies are making an extra $8 on the unwitting customers. Good for most of us.

However, if rental companies were really concerned about that little bit of gas and wanted to be good businesses, they would just top cars off and then bill for anything they saw as excessive.

I think it is a little alarmist to think prices would jump that much if they did this. Anything under a half gallon they let slide anything over they charge for. So add $2 per rental. It is not as if they have to have someone drive the car off the lot to have it refilled with a half gallon of gas...the big airport rental place I'm thinking of has an assembly line with a carwash right next to the gas pumps. Takes what, a minute per car to stick the nozzle in and pump a bit of gas?

I'd much prefer using any rental company who did this for a couple extra bucks, instead of having to do what other posters are suggesting for verification. Driving the vehicle immediately to gas station to see how much fuel is missing, then fight for a refund of that fuel once my rental is over. Although I have to admit, it is a different mindset than I have...I would never consider doing this unless the needle was actually off of full.

Thank you for posting OP, I've never run into this "policy" (scam?) and will be checking for it wherever I rent cars in the future.
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Old Sep 26, 11, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
In an ideal world, I would not disagree with you. However, there can be a far greater difference between a needle just beginning to move off of F and a full tank. I've put in north of $10 in gas to fill up a tank when the needle still indicates F (I always stop by a station after picking the rental car up and making sure it actually is full).
On the other hand, props to Thrifty BOS: I got in my car and proceeded to idle it with the a/c running for almost an hour while I planned out my trip on my iPhone. I then pulled it out of the lot and took it to the gas station across the street and was only able to cram about 1.2 gallons in it--most of which was used most likely by my idling.

On the other hand, I did not buy prepaid gas, as even though I'll be driving nearly 1,000 miles during my 3-day rental and will be rushing to the airport early Wednesday morning, they were not only charging more than the cheap gas a mile away from their office, they were charging about 20 cents more per gallon than the Hess station right across the street!

Last edited by jackal; Sep 29, 11 at 4:06 pm Reason: typos
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