What Happens If You Keep a Rental Car?

by Jacob Burney

Keeping a rental car is an illegal act. The rental car companies charge late fees for the first few extra days you keep the car. If you keep the car longer, they use more extreme measures to reclaim their property.

Late Fees and Phone Calls

Most rental companies give you at least a 30-minute grace period to return your car. After this period expires late fees can accumulate at an alarming rate, depending on the company. After the first full day of not returning the car, the company calls you and asks if there are any problems or misunderstandings. The company also gives you the option of extending your rental period. If you decline, the company then asks you to bring the car in the next day or at your earliest convenience.

Special Rates Declined

If you still have not returned the car after the phone call, the company then declines any special deals or rates you agreed on at the outset of the rental duration. Phone calls will continue until you return the car.

Repo Men

If the phone calls and declined rates do not work, the company will then use a repossession company to claim the car.

Stolen

If repossession is unsuccessful, then the company reports the vehicle as stolen to the police. The police will arrest and charge you for auto theft.

About the Author

Based in Washington, D.C., Jacob Burney has been writing professionally since 2005. He has written articles for "Broncos GameDay" magazine and the 2007 "South Pacific Games." He has also written several approved grant proposals. He is a former Peace Corps volunteer and holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Bucknell University with minors in philosophy and religion.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera luxury car - model toy car image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com