The $14 car rental junk fee that’s so easy to avoid

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The $14 car rental junk fee that’s so easy to avoid
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Next time you’re renting a car, be sure you’re not being charged a refueling junk fee even after you refill the gas tank!

Read more: These are the most and least expensive places to rent a car

Beware of this car rental junk fee at Avis, Budget

I recently had to rent a car for two days while my vehicle was in the shop being repaired.

No fueling options were discussed, so I thought the old standard of filling up the gas tank before you return the rental applied. And that’s exactly what I did. But when I examined my receipt more closely after returning the car, I noticed an ‘UNDER 75 MI flat fee.’

Turning to the Internet, I quickly determined that this was a $14 flat fee assessed when you don’t exceed 75 miles on the odometer. It’s supposed to be a convenience that allows you to return the rental without filling up when you’re only renting for a short period. Yet it was anything but convenient for me.

The $14 car rental junk fee that's so easy to avoid

Avis notes on its website that, ‘If you **FILL UP THE CAR*** AND present a receipt for your fuel purchase, the $13.99 charge will be removed when you return the car.’

So I had to go back to the rental counter and present my receipt from the gas pump to get the fee removed.

Avis isn’t the only rental car company slapping this fee on people and calling it a convenience. Budget does the same thing, so be aware if you’re renting from them.

You have to be your own advocate. In my case, I was renting from a neighborhood car rental place so it was very easy for me to go in-person to address this issue and have it corrected.

If you can’t get back to the rental counter in-person, you’ve got to advocate for yourself over email and on the phone.

Good luck!

Here are some other car rental junk fees to be aware of…

Collision damage waiver

When you’re at the rental counter, you will probably be warned about the consequences of not accepting collision damage waiver (CDW), also known by the codes LDW or PDW. Certain credit cards will cover you for 13 days, 14 days, or 30 days of a car rental, thus allowing you to decline the CDW as an add-on. Check with your individual credit card issuer for further details.

Your auto insurer may also offer you coverage. Here are some of the major ones linked so you can find out:

These junk fees can raise the cost of your rental by $25 a day or even more. So you’ve got to pay attention to this stuff!

Personal effects coverage

Personal effects coverage may also be offered at the rental counter. This covers you in the event something is stolen from your vehicle. Again, your credit card may cover you so check with them before you get to the rental place.

Meanwhile, there’s a newer product in the market from a major insurer called InsureMyRentalCar.com. With InsureMyRentalCar.com, you pay a flat rate for coverage if you want to buy CDL and other insurances, but it’s sold at a much cheaper rate than you’d be charged at the car rental counter.

InsureMyRentalClar will charge $7.50 per day for up to four days with rates going up from there. If you rent cars frequently you can sign up for a year of coverage for less than $100.

Daily roadside assistance fee

Some rental companies are now pushing a daily roadside assistance fee of approximately $5 each day. If the vehicle breaks down on the road, many companies won’t help you unless you purchase this coverage. However, if you have a car for 10 days or longer, you’d probably be better off with a simple AAA membership that will cover you in your regular vehicle for the entire year.

Read more: Clark rented a subcompact car and got this instead…

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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