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Be careful with Dollar/Hertz. Got charged for empty gas tank when it was full.

Be careful with Dollar/Hertz. Got charged for empty gas tank when it was full.

Old Sep 11, 22, 5:20 pm
  #1  
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Be careful with Dollar/Hertz. Got charged for empty gas tank when it was full.

When I returned my (expensive) rental to BNA with a full tank of gas, I did what I always do. I snapped a photo fo the dashboard showing a full tank as well as the car exterior at several angles. I asked the return-attendant if everything was okay and he said yes and he's emailing me the receipt. I made the mistake of taking his word for it and leaving for the terminal.

That night back in my hometown I see they charged me about $60 for fuel! I opened a case with them via their website and all I got back was a forum email basically saying they are looking into it. I responded with the photo of the dashboard and the photo's metadata showing the time and location of it. No response for about two weeks so I called them and spoke with an agent with my case number. They finally refunded the erroneous charge.

Yeah I got the charge reversed, but that they actually tried this trick is a testament to the culture that is permeating the rental industry lately. It's a reminder to be diligent. Save fuel receipts. Take photos. And do what I didn't and check the receipt before you leave the rental car lot.
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Last edited by Oakshadow; Sep 16, 22 at 4:37 pm Reason: gr
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Old Sep 15, 22, 4:39 pm
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I'm not sure if this is exactly the same as the Budget scam where they charge you for a "fraction" of a gallon (yes, a gallon, not a whole tank), plus service fee. An entire empty tank sounds, hopefully, like a mistake. But if Dollar is starting this, too, that's very troubling.

I've had zero problems with Alamo recently, knock on wood, but your advice is well taken to keep all your receipts. And I insist the return agent looks at the receipt, looks at the full tank indicator, and tells me everything is ok. I'm not sure about taking a picture....they could say you took that earlier in the trip when the tank WAS full, no?

Returning the rental car has turned into the most stressful part of the trip.
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Old Sep 15, 22, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Eujeanie View Post
I'm not sure about taking a picture....they could say you took that earlier in the trip when the tank WAS full, no?
Not so easy for them to say that if you include the odometer reading in the same photo as the fuel-gauge level. 😉
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Old Sep 15, 22, 6:22 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Not so easy for them to say that if you include the odometer reading in the same photo as the fuel-gauge level. 😉
Didn't help the OP. I just think this is going to become ubiquitous. They will reverse the charges for those that notice, and just collect the money from those who don't.
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Old Sep 15, 22, 6:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Eujeanie View Post
Didn't help the OP. I just think this is going to become ubiquitous
What do you mean? The OP did get the charges reversed (and it's not clear whether he captured the odometer reading as well as the fuel-gauge level in the same photo).

Car renters don't take those photos as a way of preventing improper charges; they take those photos as evidence to help them get improper charges reversed, which the OP did.
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Old Sep 15, 22, 6:44 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
What do you mean? The OP did get the charges reversed (and it's not clear whether he captured the odometer reading as well as the fuel-gauge level in the same photo).

Car renters don't take those photos as a way of preventing improper charges; they take those photos as evidence to help them get improper charges reversed, which the OP did.
But he still had to go through the hassle after the fact. I would rather prevent. Actually, I'd rather they didn't do it at all. But I know I'm dreaming.
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Old Sep 15, 22, 10:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Eujeanie View Post
I'm not sure about taking a picture....they could say you took that earlier in the trip when the tank WAS full, no?
Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Not so easy for them to say that if you include the odometer reading in the same photo as the fuel-gauge level. 😉
OP mentioned that he also included the photo metadata which will have location, date, and time, which should co-relate to auto receipt by attendant within a few minutes difference. Still. the whole hassle of proving them wrong with evidence is a PITA.
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Old Sep 16, 22, 12:26 am
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The photo included the odometer. The second photo I sent them was a screenshot of the metadata, but the first photo still had the metadata embedded as it was the raw with no edits or cropping. I also saved the gas receipt from the one filling I did in case they requested that.

Interestingly the Dollar receipt said that I returned the car with with 160 more miles than what the odometer showed in my photo at the return. Also the return time on the receipt is two minutes BEFORE my photo was taken. I didn't get out of the drivers seat before I took the photo - snapping the photo is the first thing I do when I put it into park before shutting the engine off - and the return agent certainly didn't stick his head in my window and in between my face and the dashboard.
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Old Sep 16, 22, 9:22 am
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I can see the time difference, as not all systems are connected to a "standard time", and typically those scanners need to be set per time zone, who knows, maybe they manually adjust the time for some internal shenanigans regarding vehicle receipt & turn around metrics. However, the mileage, that's something that concerns me, as it could have been an operator error when they entered the mileage upon vehicle check-in, or, maybe someone drove it around on their own. At least we are not being charged per mileage, remember the days when you only had a 100 mile cap? Still, your photo should be proof enough.
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Old Sep 21, 22, 6:30 pm
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Regarding the time stamp, alternatively, did the agent by chance scan the barcode on the windshield while you were still sitting in the car? I imagine that's what's used as the check-in time.
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Old Sep 21, 22, 6:45 pm
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Originally Posted by strickerj View Post
Regarding the time stamp, alternatively, did the agent by chance scan the barcode on the windshield while you were still sitting in the car? I imagine that's what's used as the check-in time.
I honestly don't remember as I was focused on snapping the dash photo. It is possible. While that might explain the couple-minutes difference, it still doesn't explain the 160 miles return mileage discrepancy.
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Old Sep 28, 22, 8:22 am
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Just had this happen at CLE with Thrifty/Hertz. I returned the car full, agent admitted it was full but still charged for gas which I saw at the airport when they sent a pdf of the bill. I called, they 'graciously' agreed to refund me although still saying it only had 7/8th tank. When the office called me after I filled out their survey, they admitted I returned the car with a full tank. Got a half-hearted apology of 'these things happen.'
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Old Sep 28, 22, 8:29 am
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Would $60 for fuel, including service charges, be approximately the amount of gas needed to drive the car 160 miles? If so, this would seem to be a case of some insider taking the car out for a nice long ride after you returned it. If I estimate 20 mpg (OP said it was an expensive rental, so maybe a sports car, high performance car, or large luxury sedan?SUV), that would be 8 gallons at $5 per gallon plus a $20 service charge. The numbers could make sense.
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Old Sep 29, 22, 2:19 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Would $60 for fuel, including service charges, be approximately the amount of gas needed to drive the car 160 miles? If so, this would seem to be a case of some insider taking the car out for a nice long ride after you returned it. If I estimate 20 mpg (OP said it was an expensive rental, so maybe a sports car, high performance car, or large luxury sedan?SUV), that would be 8 gallons at $5 per gallon plus a $20 service charge. The numbers could make sense.
The receipt was emailed to me 1 hour and 5 minutes after the return so I suppose they could've taken it for a spin in that period. However the receipt return-time was only 2 minutes different from the time of my dashboard photo.

It was a 2020 Hyundai Elantra with 33 city/41 highway mpg. $59 per day (incl. taxes and fees) to me is expensive for such a car. Even going by the city mpg, it would be 4.85 gallons used which would bring it to $24.24 with a total including $20 service charge to $44.24.
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