What Are All Those Car Rental Fees?

Have you ever been surprised by the added fees on your Rental Car receipt? Do you know what those fees mean and what they are for?
car rental fees
Unlike airlines that are required to display complete ticket costs up front, rental car companies don’t have to disclose all fees and can add big costs to your car rental. Come along for the ride as I explain some of those common rental car fees.

Recently our family traveled out-of-state and our group rented cars at the airport from three separate providers (Enterprise, Dollar and Hertz). At the end of our stay we compared rental car costs and were surprised by the differences in fees. Below is a run down on how these companies tallied the fees and taxes for the car rentals.

Rental Car FeesEnterprise

  • T&M – this is the daily charge for your rental car also know and Time and Mileage.
  • Concession Recovery Fee – At certain airport locations where a Rental Car company is an on-airport concessionaire, they are required to collect other mandatory charges from its customers and to remit them to the airport. These are sometimes referred to as Customer Facility Charge (CFC) , Airport Facility Charge (AFC), Transportation Facility Charge (TFC), or Airport Access Fee (AAF) or Concession Recoupment Fee (CRF).
  • VLF Recovery Fee – this fee recovers the costs to license, title, inspect, plate and pay personal property taxes on rental vehicles.
  • CFC – This is a customer facility fee that is imposed by the airport in addition to  the Concession Recovery Fee.

Dollar
Rental Car Fees

  • LIC Fee – The fee that contributes to the cost of registering and titling the car, usually between three and eight percent of the base rate of your rental (Same as VLF Recovery fee above).
  • SEC Fee – I have not been able to get a clear explanation on this fee.  I tried calling the rental car company and for a $6.00 fee, I decided the hold times to get an answer were not worth the bother.  I guess this is where they get us.
  • CONCS Rent – This is the same as the Concession Recovery fee listed above.
  • Driver or Additional authorized user fee – this is $10 per day fee for a 2nd driver on the rental.  Enterprise does not impose this fee if the additional driver is the spouse or domestic partner of the renter.
  • Trip Saver – This is a roadside assistance fee that is added when the car is turned in.  It is not disclosed on the initial rental confirmation and if not noticed by the renter, it is charged.  The renter can ask for it to be removed but that takes a trip into the rental car front desk to make the request.  When trying to catch a flight, this may be quite the task.  This fee covers chargeable items for roadside assistance like, battery jumps, tire changes and key lock-outs.
  • CUS FACFEE – This is the same as the CFC Fee above, again imposed by the airport.

Hertz
Rental Car Fees

  • LDW – This is Loss Damage Waiver insurance that releases you from all financial responsibility in the event of loss or damage to vehicle.  The different insurance coverages offered by rental car companies offers up a totally new discussion.
  • Additional Charges – This is their charge for an additional driver.
  • Concession Fee Recovery – same as listed above, again charged by the airport.
  • Cust Fac Chg – same as listed above, again, charged by the airport.
  • Energy Surchage – This fee is added per transaction to offset increasing costs associated with items such as utilities, fuel, 0il and grease.
  • Vehicle License Cost Recovery – as listed above, again costs associated with licensing and registering the rental vehicles.

Insuring Your Car Rental
Of course, we couldn’t escape any review of rental car company fees without addressing rental car insurance. Car rental companies offer car insurance for your rental in the event you damage the car during the rental. These are big money makers for car rental companies and you need to get the facts before automatically declining or accepting rental car insurance coverage.

Best advice for saving money on rental car fees and insurance?
While the taxes were collected a bit differently with Enterprise, the total tax on all three car companies averaged out to approximately 16.35%.

The key to saving money on your next car rental is choosing a rental car company with the least amount of “junk fees” and eliminating double insurance coverage. Also, beware of hidden fees when paying with a Debit Card and check out the early return policies associated with your rental car.

The best choice from this experiences appears to be Enterprise. Not only did Enterprise provide a nicer car for less money, their receipt and fees were easiest to read.  The Enterprise rental was one day less than the other two and after adjusting the total cost by an additional day, the Enterprise car was still less costly.

Now it’s your turn. How have your rental car fees stacked up against these receipts? Send me an email or post up a comment below.

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4 Comments

  1. With all these fees, the price is not even close to what you thought you would pay

  2. Mary says:

    What is the CarCLS or CLS charge?

    • Bryan Kreitz says:

      Hi Mary! Thanks for your question. Often a CarCLS or CLS charge is associated with a rental upgrade. Just be aware to look for this charge on your receipt if you upgrade to a more expensive rental vehicle.
      Also, if a car rental company offers you a free upgrade, make sure this charge isn’t on your final receipt. Make sense?

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