Some people believe that they only need to rent a vehicle for only the amount of time with which they plan to actually use it — and if you are one of those people who only rents a vehicle for several hours, you should know how not to pay this late fee when renting vehicles.
How NOT to Pay This Late Fee When Renting Vehicles
As an example, the frequently asked questions of Avis Rent A Car System, LLC — under the subheading called Discounts, Rates and Mileage — will be used.
The following text is copied verbatim from the section under Rates:
In most cases, the minimum rental charge is for one day and is based on a 24-hour period. Beyond the 24-hour period, an hourly rate will be calculated as three-fourths (¾) the daily rate plus $.01 for daily and weekend rates and one-half (½) the daily rate plus $.01 for weekly rates. For example, a daily rate of $30.00 per day would equate to an hourly rate of $22.51 per day and a weekly rate $30.00 per day would equate to an hourly rate of $15.01. If a rental exceeds a 24-hour period by 1.5 hours, a 2-day charge will apply.
Generally, “weekend rates” apply on rentals beginning after 11:59 AM on a Thursday, and require the car to be returned by 11:59 PM on the following Monday. If the vehicle is returned later, the weekend rate will not apply to the rental.
Important to note is that the minimal rental charge is for one day and is based on a period of 24 hours — which means that whether the rental vehicle is needed for only one hour or for all 24 hours, the same rate of 24 hours would be charged regardless…
…so one would naturally assume that if a vehicle is initially rented for a period of six hours but was returned ten hours later, that is only 16 hours — well short of the period of 24 hours — so the rate would remain the same.
That assumption would be incorrect, as the following text is copied verbatim from the section under Changes to Reservations:
If you don’t call to notify Avis that you will be keeping the vehicle longer then expected within 7 hours of your originally scheduled return time to extend your rental, a late fee of up to $15/day will apply.
Taking the same scenario of renting the vehicle for a period of six hours but returning it ten hours later, up to an extra $15.00 could be charged even though the vehicle was rented for only 16 hours.
Final Boarding Call
If you plan on using a vehicle for fewer than 24 hours, rent it for the full 24 hours and return it early if necessary. Returning a rental vehicle early usually does not incur a fee.
A corollary to that suggestion is if you plan on renting a vehicle for five days or six days, you will usually be charged a weekly rate at that point. Rent the vehicle for the full seven days and return it early if necessary.
Be aware that exceptions to the aforementioned information which is outlined in this article can apply in some scenarios — especially when renting a vehicle from one of the lower cost rental car companies, who tend to nickel-and-dime customers by charging fees whenever possible for just about anything.
The lesson here is to always ensure that you completely understand the rules, terms, regulations, and policies when renting a vehicle — and you very well could save yourself money on useless fees that are easily avoided.
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.