Rental Car Rip Offs

506_003_low_resI first noticed this "trick" of the car rental trade showing up about a year ago.  When you rent a car, the tank is supposed to be full.  Tonight I rented a Chevy Impala at Alamo Rent a Car at DFW.  I drove 11 miles and when I noticed the needle was already below "F" I stopped and filled up.  Without trying to squeeze, I pumped over 3 gallons.  Now, either this car is getting less than 4 miles per gallon, or Alamo is ripping me off.

If you can rip off each renter for $5.00 or more in gas for each rental, this obviously adds up to big money over time.  And it's happening to me with enough regularity that I don't think these are isolated incidents.  Problem is, it's dishonest and the kind of trickery that customers have learned to despise.  Some of these rental car companies aren't far behind the airlines in their attempts to alienate their customers.  I've even had rental agents ask me to refill the car within 5 miles of the airport before I return.

Another one of the great bargains offered by the rental car agencies is the collision damage waiver.  For just $15.99 per day, you are exempt from any damage to the vehicle.  This would equate to an annual premium of almost $6,000 just for zero deductible collision coverage (liability and medical are extra).  For drivers over 25 years old.

I wonder if anyone out there knows the secret technique the rental car companies use to "fill" their tanks below full.  Maybe there is some special technology like a pump spout with an extra long nose?

Anyone else out there notice this when you rent?