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 !
- Low Mileage, High Surcharges