Dollar Rent A Car Charges $2.00 "Top Off Fee," Even If You Return With A Full Tank Of Gas

No longer content gouging customers who return their rentals with less than a full tank of gas, Dollar Rent A Car is now assessing a $2.00 “top off fee” for cars that have already been topped off.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Steven Dentali, who was charged the fee in October after renting a car from Dollar Rent A Car in Manchester, N.H. “I said to them, ‘You’re telling me I’m penalized no matter what? There’s no way around me having to pay something?'”

That’s precisely what the rental car agreement said. Here’s the exact wording he received in his e-mail confirmation:

“Gasoline Policy: Vehicle must be returned with full tank or local refueling charge applies. If car is returned full a $2.00 top off fee will be applied.”

When Dentali started asking questions, he said he was told that the fee was being test-marketed by Dollar at select locations in New England.

Dentali demanded a refund and was told he had to talk with a manager, who in turn told him to call Dollar’s corporate offices. He did, and said he was promised a refund. But the $2 never arrived.

Dentali received a personalized response and a refund after complaining to the corporate office:

“I am unable to advise you as to whether or not this is a permanent policy or what the purpose is for it, but in an effort to regain your confidence in Dollar Rent A Car, I have requested a refund check in the amount of $2.16 to be forwarded to you from our accounting office. Please allow up to three weeks for processing and mailing.”

A corporate spokesman claims the fee is the creation of a local franchise and is not a standard charge for corporate-owned locations.

At least it’s cheaper than United’s $50 fuel surcharge. Has anyone else seen and fought the top off fee? Send your experiences to tips at consumerist dot com.

Sneaky fee alert: rental car ‘top off’ [The Red Tape Chronicles]
(Photo: fabbio)