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Reserve a rental car but return it early?

Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
360 posts
1 review
Reserve a rental car but return it early?

If I reserve a rental car but return it early, do I still have to pay for the whole reservatiion period? I was surprised to find out that if you Paid Now with Hertz, they say you do.

I haven't found out yet what happens if you only pay at the counter, or what the rules of other car rental places are.

I've never cancelled a trip or a rental car, but it seems a lot more likely I would want to cut a trip short. Hertz gives an exceptionally large** 32% discount if you pay in advance (or maybe it's when you make the reservation) but it's not worth it I decide to come back 3 days early but still have to pay for the car the whole time. **Or maybe it's an exceptionally high, 50%, surcharge for not paying in advance.

https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/productservice/index.jsp?targetPage=prepaid.jsp

Last sentence of the 5+ or 6th paragraph, "Once rented there are no refunds or credits for unused rental days."

3 replies to this topic
Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel, Houston
Level Contributor
23,949 posts
177 reviews
131 helpful votes
1. Re: Reserve a rental car but return it early?

Micky: Not that it matters, because this forum mainly attracts advertisers which is not allowed, but it is intended for business travel. I don't know about others, but I rarely prepay any hotel or car rentals needed for business travel. My experience on non-prepaid rentals is that the T&C's for business are written to allow some flexibility beyond those written by the car rental agency. I've often gotten a lower final bill by returning a car early, especially if I've made the modification directly in advance. Most of the time this works. Occasionally it doesn't and I pay what was reflected on the initial confirmation.

But for prepaid bookings, I suspect they adhere to their terms unless a business has negotiated this outside of normal terms. That's strictly my opinion.

Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
360 posts
1 review
2. Re: Reserve a rental car but return it early?

Thanks for your information. Yes, I know it is for business travel but they have a train travel forum and one for plane travel, but nothing for rental cars. I figured that this was the closest. ;-[ On my last trip 3 months my older brother got Covid and had me leave early, so i'ts on my mind, even though I didn't rent a car that time. If it were business, if my employer were paying or I was, I'd be more willing to lose money. You have to spend money to make money. I will try to find more details.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka, Tokyo
Level Contributor
80,743 posts
183 reviews
192 helpful votes
3. Re: Reserve a rental car but return it early?

For rental cars, it's best to ask in the individual destination forums.

To answer your question somewhat, I and some others have returned cars early in Japan and ended up being charged less. I don't know if that works for other countries or for prepaid rentals though.

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