What to Do When the Rental Car Company Tries to Overcharge You

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car rental overcharge
Photo by Atomic Taco.

Being Overcharged for a Rental Car & How to Get it Fixed

Last weekend I was in Salt Lake City hiking up mountains and riding roller coasters with my friends. It was a great weekend and one I helped to make cheaper for everyone by using some of my points. One of the areas, I didn’t use points was for our car rental.

I was however able to score us a decent deal by using Costco Travel to book a two day rental through Budget. Since I didn’t want to be the only one driving, I love that Costco includes an extra driver for free with Budget rentals.  $64 all-in for an airport rental is definitely not the best deal ever, but it was good enough.

Renting the Car

car rental overcharge
The contract has the full rates, but doesn’t show coupons or corporate discounts.

We arrived at the airport around midnight, so the desk agent looked bored. I was able to confirm that the extra driver was free and he added my friend’s information and tried to send us on our way. For some reason the numbers on the Budget contract didn’t show the final price, so I confirmed it with him. His final words to me as we left the desk were $64. He had even upgraded us to a Cadillac XTS. Perfect!

Unfortunately, when we went to return the car, I was handed a receipt for $109.14. The agent had charged us $17.99 per day plus taxes and fees for an extra driver. This was far from a mistake in my opinion, since I confirmed the final price with him. My best guess is that he received some sort of commission for upping the contract price and was hoping that I wouldn’t notice the price at the end.

How to Get This Resolved

car rental overcharge
We did have a fantastic car!

Yes I was upset, but I have learned that it can do far more anger to let things like this eat me up inside. Instead, I decided to follow through and let things be resolved. Here is the process to follow when trying to get a car rental overcharge corrected:

Step 1 – Talk to the Manager

After receiving the increased receipt, I went inside to speak to the manager, but he was gone for the night. The desk agent was nice and confirmed my rate should have been $64. She said she would have the manager take care of it the next day and email me the new receipt.

Step 2 – Reach out to Corporate

Two days passed and I still hadn’t heard from Budget, so I decided to Tweet their social media team. I have found that tweeting is often much more effective than filling out a complaint form. Within an hour, the social media team had escalated this and it took about a day for me to receive my revised receipt. If it hadn’t been resolved by this point, there were more steps I could have taken.

Step 3 – Contact Booking Agent

I wouldn’t always do this if I booked through a company with poor customer service, but in this case I booked through Costco who would have taken care of it. I had a confirmed price from my email, so I had no doubt that they would have fixed it.

Step 4 – Dispute the Credit Card Charge

If nothing else would have worked, then I would have not hesitated to dispute the charge. In my situation, I had a confirmed price which also stated that an extra driver was free. Had I submitted a claim, Budget would not have been able to show that I authorized the additional charge. I believe it would have been overturned.

Avoid a Surprise

One other common issue at car rental agencies is people being rightfully charged fees they didn’t learn or know about. Make sure to understand the company’s policies so you don’t end up paying more than you expected. If you don’t  have something in writing saying that a fee is waived, then don’t expect it to be. Most of the complaints I see about car rental companies relate back to people not understanding fees & policies.

Conclusion

I am glad I was able to resolve my situation without any stress at all. Don’t get me wrong, I was upset that this guy felt the need to do this, but it was fixed easy enough and this really is the first overcharge I have had in many many years so I can’t complain. In the end, following these steps should ensure you get your money back if you have been overcharged for a car rental.

Shawn Coomerhttps://milestomemories.com/
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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22 COMMENTS

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22 COMMENTS

  1. Rented a car from sranton airport .i reserved it thru priceline.11 days ,512.00 due at pick up.National car rental.
    Got the car ,paid with my debit card,checked my account and seen that 829.00 was charged to my account.I assumed there was a 300.00 deposit.Returned car two days early ,dropped keys in drop box.the next day i checked my bank account to see if i had gotten my deposet back and was shocked to see that National car rental had cancelled the origanal charge to my bank account of 829.00 the same day it was made.and on The day of the return instead charged my debit card 3100.00. Plus the 829.00 ,putting my balance. At negative 3100.00
    I have called and left messages over and over.No one is calling me back. Very frustrating,and so sad .

    • Sorry to hear that Rebecca. That is why we always suggest using a credit card for car rentals so you have more protections etc. Hopefully you get it resolved soon.

  2. On February 9 2021 I booked a reservation for $467.96
    My reservation agreement was for February 9 and 9 am and to be returned on March 9 am. The car was returned on time. I received a letter on March the 16 stating that the car was never returned. I was charged $1,259.78 for this rental
    I contacted hertz multiple times with no success. I filed a dispute with my bank. Hertz eventually contacted me and told me they made a mistake because they didn’t close my contract on time and promise to credit me for &799 if I stop the dispute with my bank. I agreed and my bank pay them 1259.78. It as been 2 months and hertz suspended me from renting car and refused to refund me stating that they never received my money. My bank did and investigation and confirmed that the 1259.78 was paid on July 16 and recommended hertz to contact their bank. I received a letter yesterday August 5 from a collection stating that I owe hertz 467.96 I have emailed fax and mailed my bank statement my rental agreement etc. over 3 time already

  3. I booked car rental with JUCY via Webjet, picking up the car from Brisbane airport. The day before we were due to depart, the Queensland government imposed an immediate lockdown, closing Brisbane airport and all flights from that port. I tried to contact the Jucy car rental company, continually and was able only to leave a message with their answering service. As they did not have a depot at Maroochydore, and having to purchase new tickets to fly home, (not other option and certainly not wanting to chance a 14 day quarantine) I was concerned and interested to known where I was to leave the rental car. No answer and no help. I eventually was helped by the information counter at Maroochydore airport and eventually after 20 hours of sourcing some sort of help from Jucy Car Rentals, it was agreed that I leave the car in the short term car park, and keys to the information counter. I explained very clearly, many times, that I was not able to return the rental car to Brisbane as the airport was closed, flights cancelled and had no another option, at all. After the cordial but anxious (on my behalf) phone call was complete, not 20 minutes later a charge of $500 was immediately charged to my credit card with out authorization. I find this charge, outrageous. I tried every avenue to ask, enquire my options and solve this issue, and again, the immediate lockdown was completely out of my jurisdiction, so I cannot think this a fair option to charge this exorbitant amount, unauthorized.
    If it was neither our faults, (due to the government calling the immediate lockdown) my thoughts would be that the charge to reposition the rental car back to Brisbane, be a shared cost, @ $250 per party? Jucy car rentals, are a very unprofessional and dishonest company. I worked in the travel industry (for an airline) some years ago, and I find this attitude and lack of service unacceptable, especially after the year previous (CoVid) when this industry was one of the hardest hit. How does Jucy ever expect to gain respect, and further business, if this is the standard of their service. DO NOT EVER USE JUCY CAR RENTAL.

  4. I am attempting to reach out in hopes to resolve this matter. I have made multiple attempts to resolve this matter by calling the Avis customer service department and the agency owner from the location I rented from with absolutely no help. 
     
    I rented a Toyota Highlander from the Avis Oseao/Brooklyn Park location on December 13, 2020. After just a few hours it was made very clear that the vehicle was not in a safe driving condition, especially in the newly fallen snow. Having vehicles which are prepared for the snow in December in Minnesota is a must obviously unless you have no regard for your customers safety. All 4 tires on this vehicle had far less than the minimum legal tread depth for a passenger vehicle and I was unable to stop the vehicle even when only moving 3-5 miles per hour. After making several attempts to gain traction while driving very slowly, I attempted to stop at a driveway and was unable to, leaving the vehicle to slide two lanes into a major busy street where I was almost hit by oncoming traffic. After contacting customer service I was advised to leave the car where it was and contact roadside service. I attempted to call roadside service and waited on hold for 14 minutes with no answer from a person before hanging up and calling customer service back to tell them the situation. I was advised to return the keys to the manager of your Brooklyn Park location, which I did the following morning, December 14, 2020. At that time I left him with the exact address of the vehicle and the keys and was told that he would take care of it. After calling several times to follow up on the status of the vehicle we were told each and every time that it was being taken care of and we didn’t need to worry about it.
     
     A month later we receive text messages from a repossession person sent by the loss prevention department asking for the location of the vehicle. We provided him with the same location we gave to Dante Dixon (agency owner) and he had let us know that he was able to retrieve the vehicle with no issues a few hours later. We did not have possession of the keys from December 14 at noon moving forward. Dante Dixon is the owner and manager of the Brooklyn Park location and that is exactly who has had possession of the keys since December 14. They have charged my account now $2500 in unauthorized charges after renting me an unsafe vehicle because they failed to do their due diligence in providing their customers with a safe vehicle. Thry are charging me for the daily rate of the vehicle for 12/13/2020 to 1/14/2021. This is highly unacceptable and negligence on the part of The Avis/Budget Group. Luckily there were no damages and no accident but they refuse to correct this issue of charging me.

    I have been in contact with customer service at the phone number provided a total of 11 times since This issue began, with 5 calls since my account was charged $2500 on January 17th. The first 2 calls I was told that a manager would call me back within 48 hours. No one ever did and I was not given the option to wait on hold even though I asked. The third call to customer service I was told that someone from your corporate office would contact me regarding the charges, which again never happened. The fourth call I finally was able to speak to a supervisor who was incredibly rude and offered to give me a 30% discount on the charges, which is outrageous considering we were rented a vehicle which had clearly never been maintained. My fifth call I attempted again to get ahold of someone from corporate and was refused a phone number or call back. I have to meet visits to the rental location on three different occasions. The most recent trip was On March 27, 2021 and when I what is attempting to peacefully discuss this matter with the owner he refused to help me and then called the police on me in order to force me to leave.

     Their negligence and failure to maintain a vehicle which is part of Minnesota state law, has caused this problem and they refuse to acknowledge any overcharging or negligence on their part.

    I have made a total of 42 phone calls to either customer service or the owner at the Avis location I rented from and spent over 6 1/2 hours on the phone. Additionally I have had to make three trips to the rental location, which is three hours away from my house, and has cost me about $100 in gas.

    • I had a very similar experience with Hertz Rent-A-Car in Laughlin Nevada. I got a flat tire and called the roadside assistance and it said that I would have to wait an hour and 45 minutes before someone even picked up the phone I waited over 30 minutes wound up having to spend over $100 to take an Uber back and for a $99 2 day rental wound up being charged $349 and I’m on disability and it’s been a financial hardship but long story short I have been calling everybody I can think of trying to get this resolved and finally talked to the manager of that particular office and he very rudely told me that I would not be refunded any money and he would not discuss it with me any further. I filed complaint with the Attorney General’s office in my state but haven’t heard anything back yet I don’t know if that will do any good or not. Apparently I also have a horrible credit card company because they told me basically that since I gave Hertz my credit card number that it was a legitimate charge as far as they were concerned . Good luck to you and please let me know if you find a solution 2 your situation because I certainly could use one too

  5. NEVER RENT FROM AVIS! I am still trying to recover $6450.00. All because our vehicle had a flat tire in the middle of the night and Avis roadside refused to respond. So I had the car towed and told them where they could pick it up. They are the biggest crooks I have ever dealt with.

  6. I reserved a full-size suv online from Avis
    To move from one residence to another. After they charged me and reserved this vehicle type. I went in the following morning to pick up the truck. To only be told that they didn’t have this vehicle to provide. The manager Hoover said I can give you a Chevy impala in its place. At this point I was told I wouldn’t have the option for a refund so it was accept it or go without a vehicle. He never credited me back the additional money and fees that I was being charged for having a larger vehicle. They charged me 160.00 for 2 days and a 250 hold that I have not gotten back and it’s been 8 days. So I paid about $410 for a car I didn’t need. And no one seems to be able to help. I think I’m going to try the social media route to see if that will make them want to make things right

  7. I understand that some people misunderstand rental contracts and or additional charges. This story sounds very typical, although a trivial amount of money. I’ve been ripped off blatantly by car rental companies for large sums of money on many occasions, usually overseas. Europcar, returned the car in perfect condition. One of the employees used a sharp object to make a 3 inch long scratch near the bottom of the passenger side door while I was in the office. When I came out to inspect the car with the other Europcar employee, wow here is a fresh (rough to the touch) scratch that is conveniently just about an inch longer than the little plastic circle they use to determine if damage is big enough for them to charge you for. I had only the insurance from my credit card which ended up being useless after wasting many hours and filling out lots of paperwork for nothing.
    Another Europcar scam… Gave me the invoice for the entire rental 1,435 Euros, returned the car days early. Get charged $760 dollars extra with no explanation.
    Another Europcar scam… I’m a non-smoker, return the car, everything seems fine. Get back to your home country, surprise your credit card has been charged a fee for “smoking” in the rental car.
    It’s a sad day when corporations systematically rip off their customers and the credit card companies side with the car rental companies. What can I do about this outrageous scam? Any ideas, please share?

  8. I made arrangements through Hotwire on a Thrifty car rental in New Orleans, 5 days for $317. Went to the counter, handed the agent my online confirmation and he said is there anything else? I told him I needed to add two additional drivers to the rental. The agent said that’s an additional $13 per day and a $200 deposit. Saw the total cost was $645 minus a $200 return deposit would make the rental $445, that seemed correct. I later found out the agent added all the insurance coverage, roadside assistance, blah, blah, blah blah…my bad for not looking the agreement over but when you’re just off a flight and the rental counter is busy you tend to get in a hurry and that’s what I did. The actual total was $645 after the $200 return on the deposit. Called Thrifty after returning the car and they said sorry bruh, you signed the agreement, not our problem.

    Later did some research and found a lot of the same complaints from others who were slammed after they made online rental arrangements. Seems this issue is pretty common when renting from an airport car rental because customers are generally anxious to get their car and the rental counters are quite busy, perfect time for the slam, $200 lesson learned.

  9. Yeah thrifty gave a final charge amount when returning my boyfriend’s rental in Seattle. To his surprise an additional 300.00 was deducted from his bank later on. Reason… smoking. He stated he only smoked outside the vehicle and nothing was mentioned about any smoke smell when the agent got inside the car upon return. What a scam!!!!

  10. I buy the full coverage insurance so I don’t have to worry what happens to the car and I save my contract. Always check my credit card stamens and I leave the tank the way they gave it to me . When I call to complain (which is every time ,because they always do try to overcharge) I’m polite but firm. They have no emo so they adjust it . But it is annoying . They’re ALL dishonest.

  11. Same situation with Budget in Las Vegas with me ..I have rented car and next day car did not started in the middle of road. After almost all day waiting in the cold car (was 26 F that day)Budget brought replacement car
    When we return replacement car we got charged $3897(Budget told us ” for towing” (instead $387 for small Kia renta a week)
    Don’t know what to do? Help!

  12. I was upgraded to a bigger vehicle because that was all that was available when I rented. I prepaid online with budget and paid $597 for the month. That was the monthly price for a economy vehicle. I returned the car 3 weeks ago and was charged $2002.55 yesterday. I called Budget customer service to tell them about the mistake and that it was upgraded by the manager. Not only did they tell me that I had late fees, but that I owed $1667 for a monthly rate which is why I was charged. Outrageous!!! All they would offer me was $118 refund which was 25% of the fees that they stated I owed. They also said it included my prepayment, so I dont get thay back either. I have no idea what to do at this point. Of course I’m going to dispute it, but it may take up to 180 days to get it credited back to my card. I needed that money on my credit card for a trip that I’m taking in 2 weeks. How could they get away with this?

    • Evedenwell when you get a answer fill me in .My wife rented a car she called and exstended the renta1 2 days laterdays later came and stole the car in middle of the night and charged her $ 3300 and said she couldnt exstend on phone phoneto

  13. Thrifty (owned by Hertz) at DFW used same signature pad & piled on all charges verbally refused. A $163 rental becomes over $500! Credit card disputed & resolved in our favor. Hertz takes issue to collections… a collection agency that only works for rental car companies! In midst of taking to Attorney General & possibly consumer advocate(s). Beware!

  14. Lady at Dollar Rent A Car at McCarran airport asks if we want insurance. We say no we already have. She asks what is your car insurance information. We give it to her. We think she’s typing all this into the system and we think we are signing that we declined insurance when asked to sign the small rectangular signing pad (not the ones that show you what you purchased and the amounts…this pad is to only collect your signature). She prints docs, highlights, puts docs in envelope and send us on our way. She didn’t show us her screen, didn’t tell us she added insurance, nor tell us the total amount. Low and behold she charged the insurance! Manager, customer service all said the same thing…you already signed, nothing can be done. One even hung up on us. At least before with the paper contract, we could verify the insurance was declined before we signed and then they charge our card. This is no different than stealing my credit card information and charging insurance on it. I’m sure we’re not the only nor hers and other agents last victim. It’s one thing to pressure or lie to consumers to agree to buy your insurance but to still charge even when they decline is stealing. How can that not be an offense.

  15. Don’t rent from Payless in Las Vegas, they will add all sorts of extra charges. If you have to, always double check the final price.

  16. Unfortunately rental cars companies have become one of the biggest scams in this country. Problem is that the receipt they print out and give to you by the time you return the car means nothing. I had several times where the guy checked the gas tank and confirmed it was full printed out the receipt with the correct amount and later I would see a different charge on my credit credit card. When calling them they would say the tank was not full. Thus, the receipt means nothing and it is your word against theirs. They know many people don’t have time to do everything you did above so in many cases they will keep the money. Same goes for damages they claim they only saw after you returned the car. We need to change the rules somehow when by giving you the receipt they agree that the car was accepted and those are the final charges.

    • Something I learned while renting motorbikes in SE Asia: take pictures of them before you rent. Same goes with rental cars in the USA. Take pics of everything: car – inside and out, the gas level indicator – before and after, the receipt etc. It ALL comes in handy if they try to take you for a ride.

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