Returning a car days early just to get a car

Old Dec 18, 18, 2:52 pm
  #1  
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Returning a car days early just to get a car

Hi,

I am arriving at a large city Christmas day, staying for a couple of days. I want to visit family that lives about 2 hours away. They are only available Christmas day and cannot pick me up. Public transit would take about 4 hours each way so that is not an option. The only car rental locations open are at the airport (because I'm arriving on the holiday).

If I plug in a week long rental with Hertz it shows cars available. If I take a week long rental and return the car the next day, what will happen? Meaning penalties/fees etc.

I know this has been asked before but the detailed threads seem to be from at least a few years back and so I'm asking again. Thanks in advance.
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Old Dec 18, 18, 4:26 pm
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Here's a link to a thread on the same topic from last week. There are no guarantees here. You may be charged a penalty, or you may get away with it. I guess you could always park the car nearby the airport return lot and mail back the keys.

You might want to try this link to see if there is any availability for your rental for the period you are looking for or use the quote link below.
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Old Dec 18, 18, 8:46 pm
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That thread was about returning a car a couple hours later than scheduled, but within 24 hours of taking the car. I'm talking about making a 7 day reservation and returning the car in 24 hours. Your link did not have any cars available for a one day rental.

I'll call Hertz tomorrow and just ask them. I'll report back with what I am told.
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Old Dec 18, 18, 10:45 pm
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I don't think there would be any penalties, but the rental will almost certainly be rerated. The big question is what new one-day rate would be applied.
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Old Dec 19, 18, 5:54 pm
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Hertz no longer has cars available on the 25th even for weekly rentals.

Avis does. I called them and was told if I returned the car early I'd still be charged the weekly rate.
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Old Dec 19, 18, 8:48 pm
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Originally Posted by SteveOh View Post
Hertz no longer has cars available on the 25th even for weekly rentals.

Avis does. I called them and was told if I returned the car early I'd still be charged the weekly rate.
You can't really go by what the agents tell you as they don't always know how things will be handled in these exception situations. The bottom line is that if you return early, it's possible you will be charged at the daily rate for only the days you have the rental or at the weekly rate, or the whole thing could break down and it could be re-rated in some crazy way. It all depends on how the reservation system handles it when the car is checked back in. There really isn't any way of knowing for sure despite what they may tell you. We've seen all 3 scenarios happen on multiple occasions with multiple companies. Remember, we handle tens of thousands of reservations a year, so we have a fair amount of experience to draw from.
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Old Dec 19, 18, 11:06 pm
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Originally Posted by SteveOh View Post
Hertz no longer has cars available on the 25th even for weekly rentals.

Avis does. I called them and was told if I returned the car early I'd still be charged the weekly rate.
If it were me, when I pick up the car, I would walk into the office, say, "Merry Christmas," and say that I need to change the return date to the 26th because of a family issue. The new printed contract would indicate the daily rate.
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Old Dec 20, 18, 5:33 am
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Originally Posted by dayone View Post
If it were me, when I pick up the car, I would walk into the office, say, "Merry Christmas," and say that I need to change the return date to the 26th because of a family issue. The new printed contract would indicate the daily rate.
It's a good thought, but let me add something... Sometimes changing the return date at pickup can incur a much higher rate than just letting the system re-rate it on return. It seems logical that the rate would be the same in both cases, but we've found that this isn't always the case. I would ask how much it would be to return early, and if it sounds good, then just have them change it on the spot. If it sounds too high, I might just tell them to leave it and then take my chances at return. At worst, it will be what the agent quoted at the counter, but it may end up being a lot better, and even if it's not, you can go inside with your contract and plead your case to the agent to have them adjust. If you're nice, and they're in a good mood, they may just be willing to override. It doesn't hurt to bring holiday treats to "motivate" the staff.
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Old Dec 20, 18, 7:04 am
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Does it matter how many cars they have on the lot ?

They may actually want it back early ,
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Old Dec 20, 18, 9:44 am
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Originally Posted by LAXlocal View Post
Does it matter how many cars they have on the lot ?

They may actually want it back early.
You're thinking logically. Logic plays no part in car rental pricing.
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Old Dec 20, 18, 5:39 pm
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Originally Posted by SteveOh View Post
Hi,

I am arriving at a large city Christmas day, staying for a couple of days. I want to visit family that lives about 2 hours away. They are only available Christmas day and cannot pick me up. Public transit would take about 4 hours each way so that is not an option. The only car rental locations open are at the airport (because I'm arriving on the holiday).

If I plug in a week long rental with Hertz it shows cars available. If I take a week long rental and return the car the next day, what will happen? Meaning penalties/fees etc.

I know this has been asked before but the detailed threads seem to be from at least a few years back and so I'm asking again. Thanks in advance.
Am jumping in this late, but.....

One if you find *anything* open and has availability for Christmas day *BOOK IT NOW*. Period , end of story.

All major car rental places use demand pricing and you certainly aren't the only one calling around looking for a ride on Christmas Day or even Eve.

Two, it is highly likely if you booked and took a car for a week and returned early the rate may revert to daily (which can be higher), and or incur some sort of penalty. Sometimes if a regular at location and or they otherwise know the looks of you a manager may do "something", but other times not and or things simply are what they are because system says so.

It is one of the oldest car rental tricks in book; force or otherwise obtain a reservation during a peak high demand period using a weekly or longer reservation; then try to weasel out of things and return early. A such Hertz, Alamo, National, and Enterprise at least have tightened things up a bit. Again sometimes the system will let it go; others you can be hit with all sorts.

If you truly don't need the vehicle for contracted period of time best to speak up at the counter when starting the rental about options.
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Old Dec 27, 18, 4:47 pm
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I ended up cancelling the weeklong rental I had reserved for the 25th, because I was able to see my family the next day.
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