Be Aware of Avis’ Super Shady Flat Rate Fuel Fee

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Avis Flat Rate Fuel Fee

Watch Out For The Avis Flat Rate Fuel Fee

I told you guys I avoid rental cars like the plague.  One of the main reasons listed was because I think car rental companies are shadier than used car salesmen.  Unfortunately, sometimes they are unavoidable. My car needed some work done so I used miles & points to help make that situation easier and defray some of the costs.  I got a good deal on an Avis car rental through the Citi ThankYou portal and was on my way.  I thought everything went smoothly until the Avis flat rate fuel fee reared it’s ugly head.

What Is The Avis Flat Rate Fuel Fee

My spidey sense was tingling when I was checking in at the car rental counter.  The renter  ahead of me was complaining about dents and that the car smelled like smoke smell. He wanted to make sure he didn’t get charged when he returned it.  They waived it off as no big deal and said he would be fine.

I knew this meant I needed to be extra cautious when checking the car.  I always take pictures of any damage I see on the car before taking it out and I wrote anything I saw on their slip.  The guy signed off on my notations with no problem but I didn’t check the rental terms as closely as I did the outside of the vehicle.

In the terms there is an Avis flat rate fuel fee that charges you $15.99 if you drive under 75 miles.  I am not sure if this is nationwide or just in certain states.  This is a “convenience fee” that allows you to return the car without filling it up.  If you do fill it up you need to show proof that you did with a gas receipt.  Because checking the gas gauge is so difficult I guess.

In my limited experience renting cars I just filled it up and returned the car with no issues.  The guy even went outside to check the mileage and saw the gas tank was full and still charged the fee.  Nothing was said about the fee either…it was automatically billed.  You would think they would point it out when picking up the car or at least ask about it when you dropped it off, nope.

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Avis Flat Rate Fuel Fee

Getting The Avis Flat Rate Fuel Fee Refunded

I didn’t notice the fee on the bill when I checked out.  Probably because they were stuck in the 80’s using those perforated sheet print outs.  The print is somewhat hard to read on these things and I was in a hurry, noticed a 0 balance, and didn’t think much of it.  A few days later I saw the charge on my credit card bill and went back to the location.

They apologized and said Avis has it automatically put on the bill.  You would think it would be added after the verified the tank was not full. Nope, it is on there no matter what. Shady!  If you did fill up you have to have them remove the fee.

The employees said it is a stupid charge and that they forgot. They gave no push back at all which was refreshing.  But that is probably because they were unable to do anything about it.  They can not alter bills after 24 hours had passed.  Great! I had to call Avis headquarters and deal with them.

If I am being honest I expected a fight, but I called anyway.  My laziness almost got the best of me and I was seriously considering just paying the $16.  Common sense took over and I made the call. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was.  She asked where I filled up and for how much and that was it.  No proof was needed, they didn’t need to call the location or anything.  That is how you know it is a “gotcha” charge. A charge where they hope it sticks but will credit it if you complain.  The resort fee of car rental travel.

Conclusion

I should have known better and I should have double checked everything before I left.  Especially since I already have major distrust when dealing with car rental companies.  If you rent from Avis be sure you check for the Avis flat rate fuel fee before leaving the premises.  I bet this fee makes them a boat load of cash. Most people do not know any better or think it is not worth the hassle to fight it.


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11 COMMENTS

  1. Dollar rent a car does this same gas fee. Gotta show a gas receipt for less than 75 miles driven. As always, read your contract.

  2. Thrifty is also bad about charging gas fees. I always show the check-in person my gas receipt. Avis isn’t as bad but almost.

  3. There is another annoying fee that I experienced with Hertz. NYC has made some of its bridges and tunnels fully cashless, meaning the rental car receives a bill for the toll.
    Instead of simply adding the charge to the bill, they automatically add a service fee of $15 (essentially they treat the toll as a speeding ticket). I called and they waived it no problem, but it does make it things unnecessarily painful.

  4. Avis has been charging this forever. It’s certainly weird and, I guess, wrong. But I’ve never had a problem getting it off my bill.

    • It didn’t seem difficult to remove but I just feel like it is a little dishonest to not at least check or ask before billing it.

  5. Just happed to me with a work rental. I called and they said they would waive the fee after I answered questions about where I went where I fueled up etc. I was suppose to get a new receipt within 4 hours….still waiting 10 hours later. We’ll see what happens tomorrow

  6. It only happened to me when I dropped off the car at the airport for both Avis & Budget. The first time happen to me I told the attendant nobody told me and if you did not take off I will report to credit card company so he did and told me next time I have to show him the receipt. However, when I rented from airport and drop off att local places I never have to show them my receipt.

    Sometime it makes sense since with small and efficient car, you may get away with fill up for around 30-40 miles if the car was filled up full with top off.

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