How to Avoid a $900 Rental Car Late Fee

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Just like in the airline industry, added fees have become more commonplace with rental cars. It’s generally not a big deal to do a late return on a rental car, but of course that’s going to cost you more. If you do find the need to keep the car longer, be sure to call the rental car company in advance to notify them and check on the additional cost. You’ll sometimes be surprised to see how cheap it can be, because in the eyes of the rental car company it’s easier for them to extend a rental rather than take a car back and find someone else to rent it. But the key here is to notify the car rental company, as the case of Nicholas Balzer illustrates.

According to a news story on, Balzer picked up a rental car in Florida on October 20 for a one-month rental. He was supposed to return the car by November 20, but instead he didn’t bring it back until June, almost seven months late. He was promptly arrested for felony theft of leased property and unauthorized use of a car, in addition to being responsible for nearly $900 in late fees. To make matters worse, it appeared that the car had also been involved in an accident. The case is still winding its way through the court system, but it’s safe to say that Mr. Balzer will not be renting another car anytime soon.

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