Rental Car Cheat @ UNV
Usually when I fly, I rent a car on the ground.  When I am ready to leave, the FBO tells me to leave the car there and the rental car company will pick it up.  So it was not unusual for me to hear the desk clerk say that I could unload right there and leave the car in the rental car parking place.  I did so, and Avis Rent-a-car charged me two extra days for a late turn in.  I called the FBO, and the young lady remembered me well, saying that she would call Avis and assure them that the car was turned in in a timely manner.  
I also called Avis but the desk clerk said he could do nothing until the manager arrived.  I called two other times but no one answered.  I have complained to MasterCard about the overcharge, but they gave me the impression that they didn't have time or personnel to call the FBO themselves.  (That part of the story is still in process.)
My question is, has anyone else ever had an issue with a turn in at the FBO?  I was not defensive about it, but I will be in the future.
11 Replies
David Ovad
4 Posts
Ditch Avis and who will be left. Disclaimer, I rarely use Avis.

I fly charter and rent at least 35 cars per year, mostly Hertz. I have had this issue with Hertz and Enterprise. After multiple phone calls I have resolved such issues after they have occurred. I call the local rental office responsible for the FBO and request the manager. I find that the manager usually is sensible and respects the FBO business and gets these issues resolved quickly. I also use a scanner app on my phone and scan the contract to a PDF after I have entered the return date, time, the fact that I purchased gas and mileage. The app prepends the date and time to the file name so to keep myself accurate.

In the past I also would call the FBO before arrival providing my rental company rewards number and let them make the arrangements. This usually worked well and placed more responsibility on the FBO. There is no perfect answer.
Yup, I had to cancel a trip due to transponder issues. I was billed and when I called about the charge, they asked me how the car had accumulated 168 miles. It seems the issue was with the car rental company, as the FBO went to bat for me.
I returned one at the FPO and the FPO drove the car in the exit destroying all four tires. I got a bill about two months later. It was an expensed rental so I still had a copy of the return inspection. I always keep them now for two years. 
Getting charged extra days when leaving the car at the FBO has happened several times for me, with 3 different rental car companies.  Beware, rental car rates through the FBO are often higher than dealing directly with the rental car companies.  Also hotel rates through the FBO are very often higher than rates direct with the hotel.
I recently had the same thing happen, though not at an FBO.  I had a rental due to an accident in which my car was damaged and eventually totaled.  I was given an Enterprise Rental car and returned it on a Monday at 3:00 p.m. at the counter, to their employee.  Amica, my insurance company, later mentioned that the car was turned in on a Friday, four days later.  Apparently this is not uncommon, and in this particular instance my employer stopped doing business with Enterprise and my insurance company was a bit startled that I had absolute proof of when I returned the car.  Shameful.
Perhaps the problem is you? I fail to see why the blame goes to the FBO or rental agency. Be a responsible renter and assure you properly close-out the rental agreement and include a snapshot on that cool iPhone of the mileage at turn-in. If you are in that big of a hurry, you probably shouldn't be flying.
I flew with an incompetent chief pilot who had this issue often because he never followed advise, to the point that the last rental, a BMW, was damaged, probably by the FBO guys or another pilot using it as a crew car. You have no legal leg to stand on if you don't close out the contract. He lost rental options and from then on I handled the rentals and never had an issue of any type. If you blindly trust strangers with your credit card and rental car you'll have issues.