Last November, the Federal Trade Commission ruled that Budget Rent-a-Car couldn’t impose an automatic fuel fee for those customers driving fewer than 75 miles. Budget was charging the fee even when those customers returned the car with a full tank.

But the fee wasn’t outlawed because it was obnoxious, or extortionary, or patently unfair. It was banned because customers weren’t adequately notified of the fee, or how they could get around paying it by presenting fuel receipts at the time of return.

So much for quick dropoffs. Readers in the past have reported that rental car check-in agents, with their handheld scanners and receipt printers, aren’t always able to override the <75 mile fuel fee. Renters are sent back inside, to wait in line. Agencies are banking on your unwillingness to risk missing your shuttle (and your flight) and just biting the bullet on the fee.

The FTC's decision didn't eliminate the fee, and it's not limited to Budget. It's still out there, just amplified with a big sticky note.

See for example the note attached to Tyler Colman‘s rental agreement at Portland Airport this past week, when he rented with Avis. The fee: $13.99. “EZFuel,” eh? Bilking the customer is oh so EZ !

avis ezfuel Read that sticky note: Driving less than 75 miles on a rental can still trigger a fuel fee

Related:
- Low Mileage, High Surcharges

pixel Read that sticky note: Driving less than 75 miles on a rental can still trigger a fuel fee

2 Responses to “Read that sticky note: Driving less than 75 miles on a rental can still trigger a fuel fee”

  1. ptahcha Says:

    Avis and Budget are owned by the same company, so I’m not surprised about the similar tactics (in fact, they use the same sticker and EZFUEL monkier). However, with gas prices at over $4 per gallon, this may not be a bad deal if you are in the >50 but

  2. Mark Says:

    Don’t see how this is a big deal. I recently rented a car, drove 80/100 miles and paid approx. 20 bucks in fees. Truth is, if I drive 50/75, I’d be paying more or less this same amount to refuel. More to the point, I can actually drive about 50 miles on my car and still have it point to around the “Full” label on the fuel gauge. It would be easy in some cases for customers to not fill the car up at all. I don’t know if that’s particularly fair, since the contract states you need to bring the car back full again…

    I’ve always seen this as a means of ensuring that even if a customer does not put a lot of miles on a rental, they at least make an effort to refuel the car a bit. If you refuel your car as a practice, there is no charge, and no issue. So what’s the big deal?

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