Last month, I submitted my expenses for a recent work trip. There was nothing out of the ordinary for the trip. Hotel, car, food, a few tips, and a dinner with customers. All very standard. So imagine my surprise when I got the report sent back to me with a correction: “Company policy does not allow gas to be purchased from the rental agency directly. Employees must get gas prior to returning rental vehicle.” Whaaa?
I always, always fill up my fuel tank before turning in a rental car. Why? those of you unfamiliar with rentals may ask. Well, unless you prepay for the fuel before you take the car, you will likely pay at least twice the going rate for a gallon of gas. It makes plenty of sense why a company would not approve that. However, Budget has an option called E-Z-Fuel–if you drive less than 75 miles, you will be charged $13.99 to fill up the tank. This is a pretty good deal, especially for a larger (less fuel efficient) car. My company has no problem approving that. And for this particular trip, I knew I hadn’t gone over 50 miles, much less 75. So what was the deal?
When I pulled up my copy of the receipt, the problem was obvious. Whoever had processed my car at the returns center had incorrectly input the new mileage, stating that I had driven close to a thousand miles. Uh, no. I drove around Raleigh for a couple days, staying pretty much out near the airport (with one memorable trip to Angus Barn–deeeeeeelicious!!). I don’t know how big North Carolina is, but I would have had to have driven pretty far to get almost 1000 miles on that car. Once I called them and explained the situation, they straightened it out pretty quickly and refunded me the cost of the fuel.
The problem is that I have gotten so used to just grabbing a receipt and shoving it in my wallet. But really, it doesn’t take that long to glance at it to make sure the costs are right. I’m lucky this time that the problem was solved easily–but that might not be the case next time!! So definitely check your receipts and make sure everything is correct before walking away. You may catch something, and you’ll be glad you did!!
Readers, have you ever caught a mistake on a receipt? How did you fix it?