Beware rental car eReturn

This didn’t happen at MCO, but I wanted to warn fellow Liners about it.

We turned in a Hertz car at BWI and had two choices- eReturn, or the lane with actual people in it to check your car and hand you a receipt. eReturn had a marginally smaller line, so we went with that. I got a receipt about 30 minutes later, and was charged the contracted fee. Fine and dandy.

A week later, I got another charge for $55. For gas, after they did a “retroactive audit” despite the fact we had filled up 5 minutes before we turned in the car. I thought, well this should be easy to fix.

Wrong. It took 5 phone calls and three emails before I got it refunded, and they only did it because DH didn’t happen to throw out all his receipts after entering it all in iBank, so I could prove the tank had been filled.

I travel a lot & rent cars several times a year and I know the type of marginal business practices some of the sketchier rental car companies can have. I’ve just never had it happen with Hertz. So be forewarned- gas your car up right before you turn it in, and keep the receipt for several weeks. And don’t use eReturn if at all possible.

The car return at the Dolphin is also like this (no Alamo agent on site). We didn’t have trouble there but I can see how it could happen. It’s your word against theirs.

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I had this exact thing happen with Avis in Tampa a few years ago. I’ve started taking a picture of the gauges when I turn in the rental car. I got a refund too, but it was just as much trouble as you say. When I turned my car in, it was to a person, so it can happen either way you turn it in.


I was just thinking I need to start doing that. Great idea.


Thank you for the tip! We rarely rent and I’m afraid of being taken advantage of.


Taking a picture is an excellent idea, thank you.

Another thing the Hertz rep mentioned was showing a receipt from the same day as the return. I’ve also heard from others that it needs to be within 10 or so miles of the airport.

I did ask both Chase and Hertz how it was legal that HERTZ made a mistake and yet expected ME to prove they didn’t? They didn’t have an answer, but to their credit, Chase said they would deal with Hertz if push came to shove and would not add it to my account. Which probably means they’d just write it off, and that’s not fair either.

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I have to say, I wasn’t impressed with my Hertz rental experience, for a similar reason. I kept getting small (under $10) charges for months after renting with them in June. I called to complain and the customer service person said that it was for the tolls we’d gone through, but because of when the state of Florida sends the bills, they have no control over when the customer gets charged. She couldn’t even tell me if I should expect to be charged more later.

FWIW, I’ve never had this problem with Alamo, so I’ll be sticking with them when we’re there in 14 days (!!).


I never have had a problem with Alamo, either, except once they gave us a car that didn’t have a full tank. When we noticed it (about 20 minutes after we picked up the car) they told us they would credit us half a tank when we turned it in, and they did.

About 3 years ago I scratched the bottom of the car on a weird curb in Atlanta and Hertz was extremely easy to work with. But yeah, they’ve slipped this time around. I was not impressed. And Alamo has some of the same programs now so the difference is negligible- except Alamo is almost always cheaper!

Just so that people don’t get too panicky and worry that rental car companies are all out to get you, I travel for work and rent all the time - enough to have top-tier status at both Hertz and Avis - and have never experienced problems like this. However, it is good practice as people have suggested to take a photo of the gas gauge when you return the car. Also, do a “walk around” inspection of your car before you drive off the lot and take pictures of any damage that you see.

Well, well, well. Hertz just sent me a notice saying I’ve been gifted enough extra bonus points to get a free rental between now and the end of January. Too bad I’m not renting a car on our next trip.

It should not have taken 5 phone calls and three emails (during which. time they treated me like I was the one in the wrong, not them) to get those gas charges reversed (which they did eventually do). Some limited-time bonus points doesn’t make me less ticked off about the whole thing.