Failure to Return Rental Car Enterprise: Here’s What Happens

Failure to Return Rental Car Enterprise: Here's What Happens

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Not returning a rental car on time can be worrying.

I remember when it happened to me with my Enterprise rental. If you’re in a similar situation, this post is for you.

We’ll look at what steps Enterprise might take and how you can smoothly handle this issue.”

Understanding the Rental Agreement

When you rent a car from a company like Enterprise, you agree to certain rules.

This is done through a rental agreement – a paper or digital document you sign before taking the car. It’s like making a promise to use the car for a certain number of days and then return it.

In this agreement, several important details are mentioned.

First, it states the exact date and time you need to bring back the car. It’s like saying, “I will use this car until next Monday and bring it back by 10 AM.” This time and date are very important. If you miss it, there can be extra costs.

The agreement also talks about where to return the car. Usually, it’s the same place where you picked it up, but sometimes, you can drop it off at a different location. This needs to be clear in the agreement.

And there’s also some fee for it.

It’s safe to say for that for any day you miss, a charge speaks for you.

What Happens If You’re Late?

Life can sometimes be full of surprises.

You might plan to return your rental car on time, but then something unexpected happens.

Maybe you are stuck in a long line of cars on the highway, have an urgent family matter, or simply forget the day. What happens then?

First, if the car isn’t returned at the agreed time, the rental company, like Enterprise, will try to find out why.

They understand that sometimes things don’t go as planned.

They will usually call you or send an email.

This is their way of reminding you about the car. It’s important to answer these calls or check your emails.

Ignoring them can lead to more problems.

If you answer and explain your situation, they might be understanding.

For instance, if you’re late because of traffic, they could give you some extra time. But remember, this extra time usually comes with a fee.

This fee is charged for each day or part of a day the car is late. It’s like paying a little more for every extra day you keep the car, regardless of what your agreement with them on the phone is.

However, if you don’t respond to their calls or messages, they might get worried.

They could think you have no plan to return the car at all.

In such cases, they might take serious steps, like charging higher fees or even involving legal authorities if too much time passes.

So, if you find yourself running late, the best thing to do is to call the rental company right away. Let them know when you plan to return the car. Good communication can make this situation much easier to handle.

Late Fees and Additional Charges

Timeframe of Late ReturnCharges Incurred
Within 29 minutesNo extra fee due to a grace period.
Less than 2.5 hours lateHourly rate charges based on your rental contract. These rates vary depending on location, vehicle type, and rental type.
More than 2.5 hours lateAdditional full day charge as per the daily rate on your rental contract.

This structure lays out the late return policy of Enterprise in a straightforward manner:

  1. Grace Period (Within 29 minutes): If you return the car within 29 minutes past the scheduled time, you won’t be charged any additional fees. This is because Enterprise offers a grace period of up to 29 minutes.
  2. Hourly Rate (Less than 2.5 hours late): If the car is returned within 2.5 hours of the scheduled return time, you’ll be charged an hourly rate. The exact rate depends on factors like the rental location, the type of vehicle you rented, and the specific terms of your rental contract.
  3. Additional Full Day Charge (More than 2.5 hours late): If you return the car more than 2.5 hours late, you will be charged for an entire additional day, based on the daily rate specified in your rental contract.

It’s important to note that the specifics of these charges can vary based on your individual rental contract and the location of the Enterprise branch.

Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check your rental agreement for the most accurate and detailed information regarding late return policies and fees.

When It Becomes Serious

If you keep a rental car way past the agreed return date and don’t contact the rental company, things can get quite serious.

The rental company, like Enterprise, may start to think that you won’t return the car at all.

In legal terms, this could be seen as stealing the car, which is a very serious issue.

After a certain amount of time, usually a few days, the rental company might report the car as stolen to the police.

This means the police could be looking for the car and possibly for you too. It’s a very serious situation that you would want to avoid.

Sometimes, people think they can just keep the car a bit longer and pay the extra charges later.

But, keeping the car without telling the rental company can lead to much bigger problems than just extra fees.

The best way to avoid this is to always keep in touch with the rental company.

If you know you can’t return the car on time, call them and explain. They may be able to work with you to extend your rental agreement. This is much safer and better than risking legal trouble.

Insurance and Coverage

When you rent a car, there’s often insurance included.

This insurance is there to protect you in case something happens to the car while you’re using it.

It can cover things like damage from an accident or theft. But, it’s crucial to know that this insurance only works for the time period you agreed to in your rental contract.

If you keep the car longer than the time you agreed to, the insurance might not cover you anymore.

This means if something bad happens to the car after the return date, you might have to pay for the damage or loss yourself.

It’s like having a safety net that only lasts until the date you promised to return the car.

When you pick up your rental car, the rental company will usually offer you different types of insurance.

These can include coverage for damage to the car, any injuries to people, and even your personal items in the car.

It’s a good idea to understand what each type covers.

Sometimes, your personal car insurance or credit card may offer some coverage for rental cars. You should check this before you rent the car.

To avoid unexpected costs, it’s wise to either return the car on time or contact the rental company to extend your rental period.

If you extend your rental, make sure to confirm that your insurance coverage is also extended. This way, you stay protected in case of any mishaps.


Not returning a rental car on time is a common issue, but it can lead to serious consequences.

The key is to communicate with the rental company, understand the extra charges, and return the car as soon as you can.

The longer you keep the car, the more it will cost you. It’s a situation I found myself in, and with quick action and clear communication, I managed to resolve it without too much trouble. Let my experience be a guide for you to handle such situations better.

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