RIPOFF? :Thrifty Refuel Charges at PHX on Full Gas Tank

 
Old Dec 21, 11, 9:45 am
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RIPOFF? :Thrifty Refuel Charges at PHX on Full Gas Tank

I rented a car from PHX last weekend and was charged $18 for fuel even though my care came back 8/8 on the Fuel Gauge. I noticed after the fact, that they now require a reciept from a Gas station if I bring back my car without the prepaid fuel options. Whats more the Agent there did ask for my reciept but did not tell me,he was adding this charge when I mentioned I had thrown away the reciept. I had in fact topped-off the gas tank, and sent in a screenshot of my AMEX card online statement. We'll see what they do.

Is this something new. I rent cars several times a year mostly for vacation travel, but this is first time I ran into this. Even with renting from thrifty the week before at SNA.

I feel treated unfairly, but maybe some of the more experienced thirfty people will tell me this is the new reality like Baggae fees for air travel.

Let this be a warning to those of us that don't like the prepaid gas charges.

Keep your gas reciepts.

-tK
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Old Dec 21, 11, 12:41 pm
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What is the point of the receipt ? Are they worried that it is being filled up with something other than gas ?
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Old Dec 21, 11, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
What is the point of the receipt ? Are they worried that it is being filled up with something other than gas ?
With the inaccuracy of gauges and high fuel economy now it is STANDARD to make sure that the tank has been refilled specially on short mileage rentals it is called a convenience charge by some companies.
This is done to make sure the next renter does not get cheated.

This is from the Thrifty site
http://www.thrifty.com/AboutUs/conte...lPolicies.aspx

Gasoline Policy: The renter must refill the gas tank of the vehicle within a 10-mile radius of the rental return facility and present a fuel receipt to avoid a refueling charge unless the renter chooses the prepaid fuel option. If the renter chooses the prepaid fuel option, the renter will pay a specified charge as set forth in the rental agreement and have no obligation to return the vehicle with a full tank of fuel. There is no credit or refund given for any fuel in the tank at the end of the rental. If the renter does not choose the prepaid fuel option and does not return the vehicle with a full tank of gas, the renter will be required to pay a fuel charge to compensate THRIFTY for the cost and service of refueling the vehicle. The fuel charge is based on the estimated number of gallons needed to refill the tank multiplied by the rate per gallon charge specified on the rental agreement. THRIFTY may use different methods of estimating the number of gallons needed to refill the tank and these methods of estimation necessarily rely on human judgment. Most THRIFTY locations estimate the number of gallons needed to refill the gas tank either (1) by reading the fuel gauge to estimate the approximate amount of fuel needed to refill the tank (for example, one-half tank) and multiplying that number by the manufacturer's specified fuel tank capacity, or (2) if the renter did not purchase any fuel during the rental, by reading the odometer to determine the amount of miles driven during the rental and dividing that number by the vehicle's estimated fuel efficiency (miles per gallon) based on the manufacturer's fuel efficiency specifications. References herein to miles and gallons shall be kilometers and liters when renting in Canada.
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Old Dec 23, 11, 10:38 pm
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I admit to not reading everything in the rental agreement, but I am like most people and want to get in my car and leave the airport ASAP when I rent a car.

What I do not admit to is trying to ripoff thrifty. I returned the vehicle after visiting the gas station and filling up the tank just as I have done many times before. It just seems that this particular branch of thirfty seems to have it out for people who do not take the prepaid fuel option.

I rented a car from SNA exactly a week before and they did not ask for a gas receipt when I returned the car.

I was just wondering if this was a new gotcha even though it may have been in the rental agreement for a long time.

I know many other here rent cars more frequently than me. Sorry I didn't see this referenced in past posts.

Believe me, I like to play by the rules. I just like to know when the rules change and this past rental made me think the rules have changed at least at Thrifty.

Do those who rent elsewhere feel like GAS receipt is now a must have for all car rental companies?

I also rent frequently from national rent a car and never had them ask for a gas receipt.
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Old Dec 26, 11, 8:52 am
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This policy actually started some time ago (a couple years, IIRC) with Avis. AFAIK, it is now more or less standard policy at Avis, Budget, Dollar, and Thrifty.

From what I've heard, if you can later prove that you did fill up (such as providing a screenshot of the credit card charge on your account), all four customer service departments of all of the above brands will be happy to remove it. Oftentimes they won't even require the proof; just a quick note to them will be enough. Try this: http://www.thrifty.com/CustomerCare/...xperience.aspx
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Old Dec 29, 11, 3:57 pm
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I for one would consider the amount charged, $18, to be a definite "rip off", considering the OP stated the gas gauge upon return read 8/8.

The vast majority of cars being rented nowadays, i.e., those full size or smaller, do get reasonable gas mileage. With a gauge reading 8/8, even if a car had not been refilled, seriously doubt a tank would be more than maybe two gallons short of fill. Even if this were the case, being charged $9 a gallon would be OK with you?

Works both ways car companies...if you expect me to return it full, you'd darn better rent it to me full, and more times than I can count mine has not been.

Last edited by l etoile; Dec 29, 11 at 5:39 pm Reason: removed now-deleted quote
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Old Dec 29, 11, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by ColoBill1 View Post
The vast majority of cars being rented nowadays, i.e., those full size or smaller, do get reasonable gas mileage. With a gauge reading 8/8, even if a car had not been refilled, seriously doubt a tank would be more than maybe two gallons short of fill. Even if this were the case, being charged $9 a gallon would be OK with you?
I have put upwards of almost five gallons of gas in many rental cars showing 8/8.

Originally Posted by ColoBill1 View Post
Works both ways car companies...if you expect me to return it full, you'd darn better rent it to me full, and more times than I can count mine has not been.
I don't disagree. That's why I always stop at a gas station just off the lot after renting and fill it up. If it takes more than a gallon, I save the time-stamped receipt (sometimes even taking a picture of the receipt next to the odometer showing it's only been driven 5 miles) and show it upon return. I've always been reimbursed for any shortage.

Last edited by jackal; Dec 29, 11 at 5:21 pm Reason: Clarification/typo
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Old Dec 29, 11, 4:22 pm
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To OP: I feel your pain, as I have been on the losing end of this situation enough times to now require at least a verbal confirmation from the agent that I will not be charged a refueling surcharge. I also learned the hard way to always get a receipt (per the signed contract) and offer it, even though it's usually declined as unnecessary (cf. your experience in SNA).

Bottom line, though, is that Thrifty didn't do anything outside their SOP; unfortunately the onus is on you to make sure all contractual obligations are met. Of course, it's bad business practice and you could write a nice letter to them explaining that you'd like to be refunded the charge or you will take your business elsewhere.
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Old Dec 29, 11, 4:30 pm
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Indeed - don't you turn in with your expense report?

Originally Posted by thomas3633 View Post
IDo those who rent elsewhere feel like GAS receipt is now a must have for all car rental companies?
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Old Dec 29, 11, 4:30 pm
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I'm glad someone feels my pain. But I also see that onus is on me to keep my gas reciepts from now on and make sure that I have not been charged the refuel charge. Now I know.

FYI I did send a screen shot of my credit card statement with my gas charges. And thrifty did refund the refuel charges.

I guess its not a ripoff since it sounds like its SOP at thrifty and other car rental companies.
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Old Dec 29, 11, 4:34 pm
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Quote:
Indeed - don't you turn in with your expense report?




I don't do that much travelling on business most of my travel is liesure.

Most of ther time no expense reports.

Last edited by thomas3633; Dec 29, 11 at 4:44 pm
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Old Dec 29, 11, 11:35 pm
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I have put upwards of almost five gallons of gas in many rental cars showing 8/8

That's surprising to hear. I can't recall ever driving a rental car more than 65miles before the fuel indicator fell below full. More often than not, it occurs after driving 45 to 55 miles. Not sure what size/type car you rent, but mine have been up to a midsize.

That's why I always stop at a gas station just off the lot after renting and fill it up. If it takes more than a gallon, I save the time-stamped receipt (sometimes even taking a picture of the receipt next to the odometer showing it's only been driven 5 miles) and show it upon return. I've always been reimbursed for any shortage

Understand, but this is something that a customer should not have to do. If companies are so bent on ensuring their cars are returned full, then they should extend the same courtesy when renting to customers. "Trust" works both ways.

Last edited by ColoBill1; Dec 29, 11 at 11:42 pm
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Old Dec 30, 11, 3:22 am
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Originally Posted by ColoBill1 View Post
That's surprising to hear. I can't recall ever driving a rental car more than 65miles before the fuel indicator fell below full. More often than not, it occurs after driving 45 to 55 miles. Not sure what size/type car you rent, but mine have been up to a midsize.
I rent and drive all manner of cars, usually from midsize up to fullsize, luxury, and SUV.

A Chrysler Town and Country I picked up at National in DCA took 5.9 gallons just off-airport. (I have the receipt to prove it.) The needle had *just* moved off of the F mark when I pulled it out of the garage.

Most of the rest of the time, it only takes 1-2 gallons, but occasionally I get one that takes about 3.

Originally Posted by ColoBill1 View Post
Understand, but this is something that a customer should not have to do. If companies are so bent on ensuring their cars are returned full, then they should extend the same courtesy when renting to customers. "Trust" works both ways.
I don't necessarily disagree. However, behind the scenes, it can be a huge logistical challenge to fill up every car that gets cleaned, which is what this would require.

Many locations have fuel pumps collocated with their vacuum stations, so filling up the gas tank only takes an extra few seconds (enough to stick the nozzle in and then fill out the log sheet [or punch it into the computer, if so equipped] for the car being filled up), since the gas pumps while the car is being vacuumed, Windexed, Armor-Alled, and otherwise serviced.

However, most other locations have a fuel island located (usually for safety reasons) outside of the garage/cleaning area. Filling up these cars involves driving down slow circular ramps to the fueling area, wasting time waiting for the pump to finish, and then driving back up circular ramps to the washing area. This can in many cases more than double the amount of time it takes to clean a car. That translates into a significantly increased need for staff, which in turn significantly increases the cost of the operation, which will ultimately show up in the form of higher rates. When most cars that return won't take but a few tenths of a gallon of gas (i.e. an unbillable amount), that is not a feasible option.

That's not even factoring in some locations that have to either drive to an offsite cleaning facility for cars low on fuel (as opposed to the on-airport quick-turnaround-area) or even an offsite retail gas station, which would make a "fill all cars" policy completely cost-prohibitive.

That said, there are some locations that, as a policy, do fill up every car that gets returned. However, be aware that these locations are usually correspondingly strict with gas shortage upon return. One location I know charges a full tank of prepaid gas on every car and only refunds it at return with a gas receipt. During cleaning, they then fill up every car and re-charge the full tank of prepaid gas if the car takes more than 0.5 gallons. Yes, 0.5 gallons. I wouldn't stop filling it at the first click if I were returning a car there!

At least you know you'll get a car with a very full tank...
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Old Dec 30, 11, 4:51 pm
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In my experience, National/Alamo do not participate in this practice. I have never been asked to present a receipt to either of them, and I have never been suffered that kind of charge. I have had to bring a receipt to Budget to get them not to charge me when I drove the car less than (I think) 50 miles.

If I were the OP, I'd call Thrifty and tell them that you returned the car full and see what they say. Regardless of their terms and conditions, I could see them waiving it.
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Old Dec 30, 11, 5:41 pm
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Originally Posted by thomas3633 View Post
...FYI I did send a screen shot of my credit card statement with my gas charges. And thrifty did refund the refuel charges....
(bolding mine)

Originally Posted by zachary View Post
If I were the OP, I'd call Thrifty and tell them that you returned the car full and see what they say. Regardless of their terms and conditions, I could see them waiving it.
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