Check Your Rental Receipt

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?


  1. I’ve rented at a variety of places over the past few years and I’ve had similar issues. One time I even caught an issue, brought it up with the agent at the desk and he said his system was down, but assured me it would be fixed. My wife and I were on our honeymoon and needed to catch our flight, so I left. As soon as we landed I called to get it straightened out….They fixed it, eventually.

  2. Two months ago I caught a mistake when the quoted rental rate (special discount through their website) wasn’t what they charged me. I happened to have a hardcopy of the confirmation email with me, and they fixed the problem on the spot.

  3. Happens all the time to me… I always rent from Hertz but I guess 50% of the time I have to argue with them about the fuel charges….Earlier I did not bother to check the receipt but the same thing happened to me when they billed approx. 1000 miles on my receipt…. and charged me for the full tank even though I returned the car 7/8 full….Since them I have been checking the receipt and has saved me a lot of bucks…

  4. I have it with Avis every time I rent with them. I prepay a fully inclusive rate but they always add between $3 and $10 on at the end as extras. They have never been able to explain what it’s for (some say exchange rate fluctuations, some say extra taxes, some admit they haven’t got a clue). It’s never enough to argue about when catching a flight so I swallow it. But I will only rent Avis when they are at least $20 cheaper.

  5. I rent from National. When I make the reservation, they tell me the estimated cost. Unless I do something different (longer or shorter, for example) I expect it to match.

    When it doesn’t, I call customer service and they correct it every time. It doesn’t happen often, but the mistakes have been in the 20-30% range (wrong car class, that sort of thing).

  6. I’m Hertz loyal and have have fuel errors and late returns errors 75% of the time. I just make it my business to check my receipts after each rental now. Hertz always refund the charges with no probs but its a pain calling them after almost every rental. Actually, Since I’m Hyatt Diamond, I have called Hyatt also after several stays where they charged me for Breakfast when its actually free. I check everything now.

  7. I always take photos with my cell of the car before leaving, all four sides, even ask the attendant to get in the picture!
    I take a photo of odometer before going out, and at time of delivery.
    Some airport locations want a receipt of gas fill, it has to be within 10 miles of airport.
    This happens to me all the time, when I ask for an upgrade with Avis, they give me an upgrade but charge me for it! So whatch out for any upgrades because they modify your bill and may erase any discounts or promo codes!

  8. I’ve been charged for a GPS before, even though I had my own and was never asked if I wanted to rent one. When I asked the counter person, he said it was a standard charge and only gets taken off if noticed.

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