I think a Dollar employee took my rental for a spin!

Dinesh Gandhi’s receipt showing that he returned his rental car with a full tank of gas doesn’t persuade Dollar Rent A Car not to charge him for refilling the tank. He thinks an employee drove the car after he returned it. Can our advocates help Gandhi get a refund from Dollar for the refueling charge?

Question: I rented a car from Dollar Rent A Car. Prior to returning the car to Dollar’s Orlando, Fla., airport facility, I paid cash for a full tank of gasoline. When I brought the car to the rental facility, the attendant gave me a receipt showing that the gas tank was full.

An employee of Dollar offered to drive me to the airport terminal so that I would not have to unload my luggage from the car and walk with it to the terminal. I agreed to this.

I am wondering if the employee who drove me to the airport terminal took it for a joyride after dropping me off, because Dollar has since charged me $33 for a gas refill for the car.

I contacted Hertz’s (Dollar’s parent company) customer service to ask for a refund of the charge and sent Hertz the receipt Dollar’s attendant gave me. But they won’t accept it – they responded that they need proof of payment for the gas, like a bank or credit card statement, to refund the charge.

Can you help me get the charge refunded? — Dinesh Gandhi, Baltimore

Answer: How annoying. You filled the tank with gas and got a receipt from Dollar’s attendant indicating this, only to be charged for it anyway.

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Dollar’s general policies do indeed require that renters either pay refueling charges or bring back their cars with full tanks:

Gasoline Policy: The renter must refill the gas tank of the vehicle within a 10-mile radius of the rental return facility and present a fuel receipt to avoid a refueling charge unless the renter chooses the prepaid fuel option. If the renter chooses the prepaid fuel option, the renter will pay a specified charge as set forth in the rental agreement and have no obligation to return the vehicle with a full tank of fuel.

And its wording requires that renters present fuel receipts to avoid refueling charges. If you didn’t present proof that you paid for the gas you bought at the time you turned in your car, that may be why you were socked with the refueling charge. There’s no way of knowing whether the employee who dropped you off at the airport drove the car after that.

But once Dollar’s attendant gave you the receipt showing that the tank was full, the car rental agency shouldn’t have proceeded to charge you for refueling a car with an already full tank of gas – let alone demand proof of payment for the gas to refund the charge.

You might have used our executive contacts for Hertz to escalate your complaint upon receiving this demand from Dollar’s customer service. Instead, you contacted our advocates, who reached out to Hertz on your behalf. Dollar has refunded the refueling charge to your credit card.

Jennifer Finger

Jennifer is the founder of KeenReader, an Internet-based freelance editing operation, as well as a certified public accountant. She is a senior writer for Elliott.org. Read more of Jennifer's articles here.

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