It’s important to know all the fine print associated with an automobile rental, including the afterhours return policies. There can be fees added on if you don’t return a vehicle correctly even during afterhours so a customer must ask questions about the process before renting to avoid incurring additional fees.
Afterhour returns are when a rental car customer returns their vehicle after the company has closed for the day. Many times this has to be arranged beforehand with the manager, but in some cases it is an option given to the customer when signing the agreement.
Some companies do allow after hour drop offs. However, this practice of returning a rental car afterhours is becoming more and more restricted. Depending on the company, you may or may not be able to arrange an afterhour’s dropoff.
There can be additional fees added on with an afterhours drop off. For one, if you do not return your vehicle with a full tank of gas, you’ll be charged a fee. There is usually a predetermined rate per gallon charged to a customer in the agreement. You can be sure it will be higher than the going price for gas at the pump, unless you arrange for the pre-purchase fuel option. If you return the automobile to a location other then where you had originally picked it up (unless a one-way rental), expect to pay a penalty. If the company does not check the car in until the following morning you may be required to pay an extra daily charge for the late drop off. If you return the vehicle after hours the night before your agreement ends then there shouldn’t be an additional daily fee.
If an afterhours return is allowed, you should always prearrange for this and talk with a manager at the auto rental company before you sign an agreement and drive off the lot. Be sure to get the drop off instructions and also get his or her name. If you can arrange for an afterhours drop off with the company then you must understand the potential fees associated with the drop off. If allowed, the following is the usual procedure.
If the vehicle is damaged after you dropped it off it’s extremely difficult to prove that it was not your doing unless you have extensive detailed photos of all areas of the vehicle. Preferably photos that show the license plate in every photo. Because the company cannot inspect the vehicle when it’s returned, they have to assume the damage was done by the renter or someone else after the car was dropped off. After all, if you can get in the lot to drop the vehicle off, so can someone else.
The auto rental companies have over 70 locations throughout Hawaii. It is not possible to list all the after hours drop off policies for each location. But we have given it our best shot on our Hawaii car rental locations page. Avis, Budget and Enterprise after hours drop off details are listed for each location, but not for Dollar and Thrifty.