It is a traveler’s worst nightmare. They return their car rental after their journey, only to face accusations to pay up for scratches and dents they didn’t make. Then there is the other car rental nightmare. The car rental counter won’t take your debit card. Travelers can encounter a number of car rental breakdowns beyond the booking process. However, you can avoid these breakdowns by being a little smarter when you pick up and return your car rental.
Take Photographs of Damages Before You Hit the Road: One of the worst car rental breakdowns, beside an actual breakdown, is being accused of damages you did not cause when you turn your rental back into the office. You can easily avoid this nightmare by taking photographs of your rental before you hit the road. If you have physical proof with the time stamp on the photograph that those scratches were another traveler’s story, you can avoid accusations at the car rental counter.
Return Your Rental During Business Hours: In the pitch black of early morning in Sicily, I had to return my car rental outside of business hours. This entailed dropping the keys in the less than comforting car rental return box. The only problem that I faced was a lack of car rental return box for my hired company. I ended up dropping the keys in the car rental company’s mailbox and left with my fingers crossed. They could have never received the keys or even charged me for damages that occurred when the car wasn’t on my watch. In order to avoid this car rental breakdown, you should schedule your car rental return during business hours so that you know you are all checked out, without any issues or problems. If you have to leave your car rental in the dark of night due to an early flight, it might be best to go with a bigger company that actually has a set car rental return box.
Know Your Accepted Plastic Payments: At that same car rental counter in Sicily, I observed a couple in front of me pleading with the car rental agent to take their debit card as payment. The agent kept shaking his head that this was not possible. The company did not accept debit cards, including credit cards that even had debit stamped on them. He insisted that the travelers should have read the terms and conditions at booking to avoid this problem. They were forced to abandon ship and seek out another company that would take their debit card. If you book a car rental, you should come prepared to pay for it with the accepted payment options from the company. Even if you have prepaid online, your company might request a credit card to put a hold on for incidentals. No matter the circumstance, you should come prepared to your company’s counter knowing what sort of plastic they do and do not accept.
Fill Out All Of The Paperwork: Most travelers sign all of the paperwork at the car rental counter, grabbing the keys and hit the road. However, there is one vital piece of paperwork you can’t complete at the counter. When you are given the keys to your car rental, you will probably be given another sheet of paper with a car outline. Travelers are supposed to look over their vehicle before they take off and mark this sheet with any scratches or dents that they might notice. The general rule is that you must return this to the office to avoid being charged for scratches that were there when you got the car. While you can hopefully dodge these accusations with your photographs you no doubt took before driving off, it doesn’t hurt to cover all of your bases. Even if you are dying to get to your hotel, it pays to take the time to fill out all of the paperwork including the damages sheet before you leave the parking lot.
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