Should I let this one go?

Chrisgoesflying

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Chrisgoesflying
Rant alert: Last weekend, I went on a long weekend trip in Canada. At the destination, I rented a car. My go-to car rental company I have a membership with wasn't available in the small town I flew into so I rented from the only agency available there, which is also one of the major car rental brands, just not the one I would normally deal with.

I reserved the car for two days. On the day of return, the weather didn't look good in the morning, so I called the rental company asking them how much it would cost to extend the rental for a few more hours as the weather might improve in the afternoon. They said extending is no problem but anything over two hours would just be an extra day extension. I agreed telling them to extend for another day. I then concluded and told them on the phone that, since it's extended for an extra day, I may just keep the car until the next morning and not bother flying home that night. The person on the phone got a little irritated when I said that, saying that I technically now have the car until the next morning but if I do decide to keep it until then, I should let him know in the afternoon as the car is booked with another client the next morning. Right after I hung up, I saw the company charged my credit card for an extra day.

The weather did not improve throughout the day, so I called the car rental company in the afternoon, confirming that I'd drop the car off in the morning. They acknowledged and right after the call, I see a new hold on my credit card for $1 pre-auth although they already charged my card for the initial two days and the one day extension. I thought nothing of it and continued on with my day.

The next morning, I dropped the car off at the FBO and flew home. The next day, I see that $1 hold turned into an additional charge of $210. I did not receive a call, nor the invoice or any other communication from the car rental agency. When I inquired with HQ's customer care, they said it's a "cleaning fee" because the car wasn't returned in the same condition as I received the vehicle.

No sh** Einstein - I drove the car. There are probably a few bugs smashed on the front of the car. My regular agency doesn't require their clients to clean the car. I usually just fill it up and drop it off. Never have I been charged a "cleaning fee" in several years of nearly monthly car rentals.

Anyone of you came across something similar? Do you clean the rental car before you return it?
 
$210 sounds like the price of detailing, not cleaning. My last 2 experiences with a rental car didn't leave me happy so I tried Turo. No complaints there.
 
I rented cars nearly every week for eight years at small and large airports. Lots of odd things happened but never was charged for a cleaning. Every now and then was charged more for an extra day.
 
cue: Terrence and Phillip for an inappropriate Canadian joke.

I've had more odd rental car experiences in the past two years.

You'd think the rental car companies would have lowered prices and made themselves more customer-focused, but the answer is the opposite.

In fact, just lately, our dogs were blamed for chewing up seatbelts in an Enterprise car. (yes, pets were declared and allowed)

Fees are going thru the roof, and service is going down to the basement floors.
 
I'd suggest talking to the FBO and seeing if you can get the local office to clear it up. 1-800 corporate won't have the details. If that fails, dispute that portion of the charge with your CC.
 
Did you take any photos upon receiving and after dropping it off? If you didn’t, I’m not sure there’s much you can do as far as defending the charges.
 
I got screwed over like this in Pennsylvania. Since dealing directly with the car rental place got me nowhere I leaned on the FBO who helped me set up the rental. When I politely told them that FBO/line service was amazing but I was going to have to leave a terrible review due to the car rental issue -- the FBO freaked out (in a good way), worked their magic and I got all the fees reversed.

Car rental places are notoriously shifty. If you can use the FBO biz relationship with the rental place as an asset, I'd do it for $210. They count on people just eating the expense.
 
I would dispute the charge with the credit card company and tell them the issue. Let them deal with the rental company.
 
After a bad experience I document vehicle condition at pickup and drop off. If I have to will also file claim with credit card company. I try to never rent. It’s a last option for me. The are pretty close to being scam businesses at this point.
 
Sounds like BS to me. If call the national service line and argue it. I think you'll get it back. I had to argue a fuel charge once because although I had filled the tank, I hadn't turned on a receipt. The only proof I had was my word, and it was a huge pain, but they eventually relented. If not, I'd dispute it with the card.

I've rented with all three national agencies and returned some fairly dirty cars and never run into this. I think you made some extra work for the local agency and they decided to punish you for it.
 
How about sharing which major car rental brand was this unscrupulous?

(edit: oh yeah, definitely dispute the charge... if you think it is worth your time)
 
Anyone of you came across something similar?
Yep. Three weeks ago picked up a rental at ORF after a 45-min wait past my reservation. Car reeked of smoke so I asked for another was told that’s it. So I asked how do I prevent the $400 smoke fee and the worker pen & inked my contract. Then I called national and gave them the details and politely asked for a $400 credit. They didn’t laugh out loud but all they could was give me points in the Avis/Budget club. Since they aren’t my normal, I just left a complaint.

Do you clean the rental car before you return it?
No.
 
Did someone check you in or did you just drop it and leave? If someone checked you in you can dispute the charge as the cleaning issue should have been addressed right then. If they didn't address it right then you can dispute it with your credit card as you have no way to know what happened to that car after it left your possession and they accepted it without any mention of issues. For all you know one of the rental company employees decided to use it for a smoke break after you returned it.

I always recommend taking a quick video of the car before picking it up and after dropping it off. Make sure they see you do this as it will make them aware they aren’t likely to scam you over a bogus damage fee as you will have evidence if they try. I have never had an issue since I started doing this.
 
I’m a magnet for bad experiences with rental cars. In each instance (four times) once I disputed the charge it never came back. Let your CC company do the work.
 
I once had a rental car company try to bill me for extra days and a few thousand dollars worth of damage for a car I left at the FBO. I sent them my flight aware data to prove I wasn’t even in the state, and the FBO cleared up the damage issue. I think an employee finally fessed up to taking the car. I take videos and pictures ever since.
 
After a bad experience I document vehicle condition at pickup and drop off. If I have to will also file claim with credit card company. I try to never rent. It’s a last option for me. The are pretty close to being scam businesses at this point.

I check them out close also ... but on a trip to Columbus Ohio to pick up the RV, the parking deck was dark and I didn't see a small chip in the windshield (passenger side high not in wiper path). I drove an hour down to West Virginia in heavy rain and no traffic. Upon turning it in, they wanted $500 for the windshield ... was pretty irritating and took a fight to get it removed from the card ....
 
See if the FBO can help you. And agree - dispute the charge.
 
I check them out close also ... but on a trip to Columbus Ohio to pick up the RV, the parking deck was dark and I didn't see a small chip in the windshield (passenger side high not in wiper path). I drove an hour down to West Virginia in heavy rain and no traffic. Upon turning it in, they wanted $500 for the windshield ... was pretty irritating and took a fight to get it removed from the card ....
Hertz?
 
Wow. I guess it IS a trend.

2 weeks ago I turned a rental car in. I got charged a refueling fee. I said what?! They said yep, they arranged it at pickup. Great. But the nice counter lady said “just send a copy of your fuel receipt to this email addy and they’ll remove the charge.” Cool.

So I did. Then the anonymous idiot at the email address said “we can’t reimburse you because the receipt time says 18:47 and you returned the car at 10:54. In my most pre-caffeinated diplomatic way I basically said (1) you idiot that 18:47 is actually 10:47; look at the receipt full of other number 8s and notice they look different than 0s, (2) look at the gas station address and note that it’s 1 mile from the return location, and (3) I’ve been a loyal customer for 15 years, do you really thing ima start cheating you out of $80 now? WTAF?!

3 days later, email just says we’ve refunded your money, thanks for being a customer.
 
I once had a rental car company try to bill me for extra days and a few thousand dollars worth of damage for a car I left at the FBO. I sent them my flight aware data to prove I wasn’t even in the state, and the FBO cleared up the damage issue. I think an employee finally fessed up to taking the car. I take videos and pictures ever since.
I think most of the issues are with the staff. They don’t hire the cream. More like the scum…
 
Complete BS. As others said - dispute that and all else fails talk to your CC company. Never been charged a cleaning fee in 20+ years renting cars from various agencies. But... funny though... even there are signs stuck all over the place in these cars saying no smoking... 90% of rental cars I have gotten smell like cigarette smoke. Even better - recently several co-workers shared a rental car at KBDL Bradley in CT. Were a bunch of us, so we got a full-sized SUV - a nice, new Suburban. Opened up the back to put our luggage in and daaaaayum the last person who last rented it must have been transporting large quantities of a now-legal-to-smoke-in-many-states plant. I was driving and was sure if we got pulled over our luggage would get searched. Was pretty sure that fragrant aroma made its way on to the clothes I was wearing, too.

For some reason, we all felt kinda happy every time we drove it to our meetings that week.

But never got charged a cleaning fee when we turned it in.
 
Here, I think E is a bit better than H, but each office can be different. They all have the potential to be miserable.
 
Rental car shenanigans have been rampant for the last 3 years!
Every week, I read another story in the national news about one company or another screwing people over!
I am very very hesitant to rent a car these days.
Bogus gas charges.
Nonsense cleaning fees.
Damage the driver did not cause.
Glass chips are your fault; including downtime when they couldn't rent (for the 40 minutes while glass is changed)
Extra days charged despite returning on time.
Driver calls to extend rental and is arrested at gunpoint by police after agency reports car stolen!

Challenging them has become very difficult too.
It's unbelievable!
I have been stung only once and had successful corrections to charges several times.

Rent only with a card that is going to look after you if rental company does not comply with the contract.
(Daytime preferred) video of interior, exterior, glass, tires, odo, gas gauge before and after are mandatory.
Never return via 'quick drop off' - always talk to a person, get their name, have them sign off on the vehicle's condition.
Call in after drop off at fbo to ensure they did pick the car up!

I had the opportunity to rent last week and "Screw that, I'm ubering everywhere" (it was a major city).
 
Well, fight it, it is. I mean, I had my fair share of WTF moments with car rental companies. I usually rent with Hertz, have the gold card and been a customer of theirs for a long time. I had issues with them too but 100% of the times I had issues with them, as soon as I contacted someone a bit higher up the food chain, they went above and beyond making things right. This one time, I had to rent from National, this B.S. happens and most of all, despite contacting people higher up (found via LinkedIn), they don't do sh**. Some "regional manager" contacted me just a few hours ago saying he's now looking into this. I guess I'll let him look into this until tomorrow afternoon and then I'll just dispute it through the credit card company.

To answer some of the questions here: It was a small town airport. Nobody of the car rental agency was present when I picked up or returned the car. They brought the car from the city to the airport and picked it up a few hours after I already left. I got the keys and left the keys with the FBO/Flight School/Mechanic (who was probably also the airport manager, janitor, accountant, etc.). I did take photos of the outside, I always do. Not of the interior. I looked at their T&Cs and under "cleaning fee" it does state something to the effect of "cars must be returned in the same condition as you received them or else a cleaning fee applies". To me, that's just the dumbest thing I've ever seen. Not sure if other rental agencies have a similar policy and if so, they clearly don't enforce it. If you rent a car, it certainly is expected that you drive the car. There will be bugs smashed in the front in the summer, there will be slush on the car in the winter. People will probably have a bite inside and there could be some crumbles here and there. Nothing excessive but clearly used. I mean, that's what I'm paying them for, to use the car and they have to disinfect the car prior to renting it out to the next person. I don't think I expect too much when getting a rental car that it has been wiped down and vacuumed. But maybe National is expecting clients to do this? Well, that's a big problem because I sure as hell don't trust that last renter to have cleaned and disinfected the car and I sure as hell don't want to catch whatever he/she might have.
 
The car rental business seems to have really gone downhill since COVID. A reservation is meaningless, as they do not correlate reservations to inventory in their system.

One of our last rentals after flying commercial, we were accused of failing to return the car and threatened with bills and criminal charges if not returned. It was left with their employees at their location as agreed, and was one of about three cars the location had that day. They apparently never checked it into their system (was told would receive receipt by email which we never did). It took two weeks of ongoing calls with the remediation office before they finally "found" their car.
 
Take excrement in the car and Eman the 12oo charge him for that i di int do it no mon i dont like cricket, oh no,
 
No, it was the one with the "E" that sounds like the space ship in Star Trek ...

I rented once with those guys... never again.

I'll walk before taking an Enterprise rental ever again.
 
When I tried to use Enterprise, they didn't have a car for me when I landed despite a reservation, had to wait for 45+ minutes for a car, ended up getting to my drop off location 15 minutes late so the drop-off location was closed, and they charged me for two days. I don't like Enterprise much.
 
You all must be bad luck or I must just have really good luck. I've used Enterprise for the past 20 years with no issues. My last rental was finishing up the trip from hell with Alamo and got the 1 way drop off waived and they only charged me for a day rather than a week. No cleaning fee even though we had three dogs in the car.
 
You all must be bad luck or I must just have really good luck. I've used Enterprise for the past 20 years with no issues. My last rental was finishing up the trip from hell with Alamo and got the 1 way drop off waived and they only charged me for a day rather than a week. No cleaning fee even though we had three dogs in the car.
That's definitely your good luck.
The norm with car rental agencies, especially ones that you don't have status with, is for them to screw you over every so often just for funsies.
 
You all must be bad luck or I must just have really good luck. I've used Enterprise for the past 20 years with no issues. My last rental was finishing up the trip from hell with Alamo and got the 1 way drop off waived and they only charged me for a day rather than a week. No cleaning fee even though we had three dogs in the car.

does Enterprise use individual franchises more than Hertz and Avis?
 
As part of my job, I rent a lot of cars at FBO’s. All of the companies suck at times, but they have all been excellent times. I usually call the FBO to see who they have had the best luck with. Enterprise FBO phone number works well if they service that airport. I’ve also been to several small towns where the local car dealer is the only option.
 
Me too on luck I guess. I almost exclusively use Enterprise or their partner National. Their FBO service has been good as well.
 
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The car rental business seems to have really gone downhill since COVID. A reservation is meaningless, as they do not correlate reservations to inventory in their system
As much as we like to blame stuff on Covid, I think that’s been happening for a long time.

 
AFAIK every Enterprise is a franchise. And the experience with them varies from place to place. Some are great, like the one near my house, others not so great.

When traveling, I typically use H***** as I have status with them from my airline status.
 
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