Sometimes surprises are great, like a surprise birthday party or a surprise refund from the IRS, but a surprise charge from a rental car company is not. There are numerous unexpected and little known things that rental car companies can charge you for, so here’s a look at a couple of them and how to avoid an unpleasant extra charge. The first of these is a cleaning fee, which is easy to avoid with a little common sense. Rental car companies don’t expect the car to come back perfectly clean, but if you spilled a milkshake on the front seat and threw your mud-covered boots on the back seat, they might hit you with an extra fee to clean up the mess. So try to keep the car reasonably clean. If you do have a spill, try to clean it up quickly and inform the rental car company about it when you return the car. They are much more likely to waive any kind of fee if you don’t try to hide it.
Rental car companies can also charge a cleaning fee if you smoke in a car that is designated as non-smoking. The easy solution to this is to request a car in which smoking is permitted if you or anyone else plans to smoke. Lastly, be sure to fill up the tank with gas if you didn’t take the prepaid fuel option (which is almost always a bad deal for the customer). If you don’t fill up, you’ll get charged an excessive amount per gallon, plus a convenience fee. After all, you don’t want to give back any of the money you saved by renting a car through RentaCarNow.com.