Here’s a dirty little secret: Every rental car company maintains a list of blackballed customers. These personae non gratae are placed on a rental car “Do Not Rent” list, or DNR.
How might someone land on such a list? Typically, a rental car company would need to deem you to be a risk. When you land on a DNR, you can be sure the company can point to contract violations or unpaid bills.
On rare occasions, we hear from AutoSlash users who landed on a rental car Do Not Rent list. AutoSlash cannot access the Do Not Rent lists, because they are proprietary to the rental companies. We can’t get you off the list, but we can offer advice on how to prevent showing up on this list in the first place.
If you are banned by Budget, you might assume can rent from Avis. But that’s not necessarily true, because the rental car market is highly consolidated. Since three companies dominate the industry, a ban by one company is likely a ban by its sister companies. If you are blackballed by Budget, for example, you are probably also banned by Avis and Payless.
- AvisBudget Group (owns Avis, Budget, and Payless)
- Enterprise Holdings (owns Alamo, Enterprise, and National)
- Hertz Global Holdings (owns Dollar, Hertz, and Thrifty)
How to Stay Off the Do Not Rent List
Follow the rules. You can push the envelope, but the rental company won’t blackball you if you follow the rules. Let’s say you put 1,200 miles on a rental car over a weekend. It would be okay if your contract includes unlimited miles. The Do Not Rent list is never used to punish rule-following customers.
Don’t abuse a good thing. That said, if you are a serial long-distance renter abusing the “unlimited miles” policy, you could still end up on the DNR list. For example, Hertz draws the line at more than 3,500 miles within a 30-day period.
Pay your bill. Very often, drivers end up on the Do Not Rent list through failure to pay. If the rental car company refers your case to a collections agency, your name will go on the Do Not Rent list.
Think twice before disputing charges: Occasionally, we see customers land on the list after disputing rental charges. Don’t dispute the refueling charge, since the terms are clearly spelled out in your contract. Don’t smoke in the car and then dispute the cleaning fee charge.
Pay parking fines and tolls. Long after you returned the rental, the company may send you a bill for unpaid tolls or parking tickets racked up while you had the car. A citation from an automated cameras in Europe might come in nine months after the rental. If you receive such a notification, pay promptly.
7 Ways to Land on a Car Rental Do Not Rent List
Act belligerently. Threatening or bullying a car rental employee, especially if someone has to call the cops, will get you placed on the Do Not Rent list.
Use a fake ID. Falsifying documents will land you a Do Not Rent notation, since the rental car company now has every reason to believe it won’t get its car back.
Let unauthorized drivers get behind the wheel. Before you give a friend or colleague the keys to your rental car, understand that if anything happens to the vehicle, you will land on the Do Not Rent list.
Use a rental car to commit a crime. If the vehicle is used for a crime, you are going to land on the DNR list.
Drink and drive. Driving under the influence is such a huge no-no, it will likely place you on a universal Do Not Rent list for all car rental companies.
Drive outside the permitted region. Before driving to Canada or Mexico, check to see that your contract permits it.
Stay on the paved roads. Most rental contracts prohibit taking a rental car off-road or on unpaved roads. Always read your contract if you are exploring off the beaten track.
Are You on a Do Not Rent List?
Landing on the DNR list without your knowledge is exceptionally rare. There is a way you could be banned and not know it. If the rental company can’t reach you because, say, you moved and didn’t leave a forwarding address, it might interpret a non-response as refusal to pay.
If your credit card has expired and a charge is denied, the company might temporarily block you from future rentals. Typically, you can work with the rental car company to pay off your debt and get your privileges restored.
The best way to make sure you never land on the Do Not Rent list is to practice common sense, follow the rules, and pay your bills.