Last Updated on May 1, 2024 by Laura

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Rental car companies have become stricter about how much gasoline is in the fuel tank when you return your vehicle. With this in mind, don’t return a rental car without protecting yourself from false fees.

Lately, some travelers are reporting indiscernible fuel charges when returning their rental with a full tank. That’s even though they just filled up before returning the car. Rental car companies charge up to triple the cost of fuel that you’d purchase at a gas station, so these surprise fees are very noticeable.

Ask AutoSlash for a Quote on a Cheap Car Rental

What can you do to avoid paying a fuel charge when returning a rental car full of gas? There are some simple steps.

Take a Picture of the Gas Gauge and Odometer

Come prepared when you contest any errant fuel charges on your rental car receipt. The smartest thing you can do is take a picture of the gas gauge and odometer when you return the rental car. This will prove that you returned the car with a full tank. It will also note the mileage of the car upon return. Save the metadata that provides details like exact location and the date and time you took the picture.

Take a Picture of Your Gas Receipt

Documenting where and when you refueled will provide backup when you contest wrongful fuel charges upon your rental car return. Make sure your receipt picture shows the gas station address, the number of gallons purchased, and the total cost. It will prove that you purchased fuel before returning the rental vehicle. Whatever fuel was used to drive a few miles from the gas station to the rental car company should not cost you extra fees. It sounds overboard—until you get charged two-to-three times what you paid at the gas station.

Let AutoSlash Track Your Car Rental for Price Drops

The bottom line is that you can always appeal charges you believe were made in error. Just be sure to plead your case with as much evidence as possible.

In this case, the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” takes on a completely new—and helpful—meaning.