Last Updated on October 17, 2022 by Laura

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With gas prices going sky high throughout the United States, it’s no surprise that rental car companies are far more strict about how much gasoline is in the fuel tank when you return your vehicle. When returning a rental car, there’s a crucial step to take to protect yourself from false fees.

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

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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

Come prepared when you contest any errant fuel charges on your rental car receipt. The most important thing you can do is take a picture of the gas gauge when you return the rental car. It will also be helpful to save the metadata that provides details, like exact location and the time you took the picture, to ensure your photo is indisputable.

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 the amount you paid at the gas station to return the car with a full tank.

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.