Avoid getting on a rental car Do Not Rent list

Here's a dirty little secret. Every rental car company maintains a list of blackballed customers who are forbidden from renting. These drivers are persona non grata and placed on a Do Not Rent list, or DNR. Typically, the customer is deemed to present a risk in some way. But before a customer lands on a DNR, you can be sure that the rental car company has documented violations of the rental car contract or unpaid bills.

On rare occasions, we receive requests for help from AutoSlash users who happen to have made a rental car company’s Do Not Rent list. Unfortunately, we can't help someone get off the list, but we can answer many other questions a banned customer might have. And of course, we can offer tips on how to prevent showing up on this list.

AutoSlash is a booking service, and the Do Not Rent lists are proprietary to the rental car companies. Those lists are tracked using data that AutoSlash cannot access.

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You might wonder why a customer who is banned by Budget would want to rent from Budget. There are other rental car options, of course. Yet the rental car market is highly consolidated and dominated by three companies, so a ban by one company often extends over to sister companies owned by the same corporation:

  • AvisBudget Group (owns Avis, Budget, and Payless)
  • Enterprise Holdings (owns Alamo, Enterprise, and National)
  • Hertz Global Holdings (owns Dollar, Hertz, and Thrifty)

How to Stay Off the Do Not Rent List


Do follow the rules. Renters following rental car company rules won’t be put on the Do Not Rent list. Why? Lawyers get involved when rule-following customers get banned.

Even if you behaved oddly or engaged in excessive activities, you will not be banned if you follow the rules. Even if you put 1,200 miles on a car in a two-day rental, it would be acceptable if your contract gives you unlimited miles. The Do Not Rent list is never used to punish rule-following customers.

Do pay your bill. It's actually difficult to land on the Do Not Rent list. Aside from the violations above, the most common way a driver ends up on the Do Not Rent list is to owe the rental car company money. If your debt is referred to a collections agency, expect to be added to the Do Not Rent list.

Think twice about disputing charges: We occasionally see customers end up on the list after disputing rental charges. In one case, the renter disputed the cost of refueling a car, as the customer “didn’t know” that the rental car company would charge $9.99 per gallon despite the posted signage and notation in the contract. Smoking in the car and then disputing the cleaning fee charge can also land you on the DNR list.

Do pay parking fines and tolls.: Long after you've returned the rental, the company might send you a bill for unpaid tolls or parking tickets that were charged to the car while it was in your possession. Citations from automated cameras in Europe can come up to nine months after the rental. Don't ignore these bills.

Don't ignore communications from the company: If the rental car company sends a bill for damage, you're one step away from the Do Not Rent list. Handle these issues promptly through your car insurance provider or credit card company.

Don't act belligerently.: A threat toward a car rental agency employee or any other action that causes someone to call the cops will get you placed on the Do Not Rent list.

Don't use a fake ID.: Falsifying documents will land you a Do Not Rent notation, as you will have given the rental car company every reason to believe it won't get its car back.

Don't show up drunk or high.: Trying to rent a car while unfit to drive will also get you a place on the Do Not Rent list.

Don't fake an accident.: Sadly, there are customers who rent cars purely to stage accidents and commit insurance fraud..

Don't let unauthorized drivers get behind the wheel.: Whatever reason you give for letting an unauthorized driver drive doesn’t matter. If that driver gets a ticket or ends up in an accident, you will land on the Do Not Rent list.

Don't use a rental car to commit a crime.: If the police call the rental car company to report the vehicle has been used for a crime, you are going to land on the DNR list.

Don't drink and drive.: Not only will this get a customer put on the Do Not Rent list for that specific rental car company, there’s a decent probability this will place you on the (Do Not Drive list ) for all car rental companies.

Don't drive outside the permitted region.: Don't drive to Canada or Mexico before checking to see that it's allowed by your contract. How does will the rental car company find out? Mechanical breakdowns, accidents, parking tickets, red-light cameras and speed cameras provide more than enough evidence.


Can You Be on the Do Not Rent List Without Knowing It?


Landing on the DNR list without your knowledge is exceptionally rare. If the rental company can't reach you — if, say, you moved and didn't leave a forwarding address — it might interpret the lack of response as a refusal to pay.

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If your credit card has expired between the rental and a traffic or toll notification, it can cause trouble. If a charge is denied, you can be temporarily blocked from future rentals. In this case, you can often get your rental privileges restored simply by working with the rental car company to pay off the debt.

But the best way to make sure you never land on the Do Not Rent list is to practice common sense, follow the rules, and pay your bills.


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