Bringing your rental car later than it was mentioned in your contract may cause several problems. Depending on the length of the delay, the rental company can charge you a penalty. That is why it is important to always check the date and time of the rental car’s drop off in order to avoid such inconveniences.

Bringing the rental car late can be due to very foolish and unpredictable things, such as traffic jams and other minor issues. Therefore, many rental companies, such as RealCar, provide a grace period for such cases. So how late can you return a rental car? Depending on the rental agency, the duration may vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours. And bringing the car later that time can leave you with a large number of fines.

Many people might also ask, what happens if you never return a rental car? This will cause serious problems for the renter. In case you don’t return the vehicle you rented, the rental company can call the police and report car theft. And since the company has your details, you will be charged for vehicle theft.

How often do people forget to return a rented car?


When renting a car for a long period of time, it is possible that renters sometimes forget about the drop-off date. That is why all rental agencies, such as RealCar, make sure to remind their customers about the return date of the car a few days prior. They also let the customers know that in case of bringing the car later than the date and time highlighted on the contract, extra charges will be applied.

There have been many cases where rental companies claimed that their customers haven’t brought the cars they rented simply because they forgot about the return date, even after reminding them a couple of days prior to the return date. And what happens when you return a rental car late is that the companies always charge a penalty fee. Depending on the rental company, they can charge you extra money for the lateness fee and add day charges based on the number of extra days.

Mainly, all the customers who forget to bring the rental cars within due time, don’t mind paying the extra fees. And many rental agency representatives mention that in case of a delay of a few days and no response from the clients, the agency gets in touch with the police to file a report. That is why it is important to either let your rental company know that you will be late or bring the rental car a few days later to avoid such inconveniences.

What are the consequences if the car is not returned?


If you decide not to return the rental car, you will be faced with many serious problems, including car theft. Once the client fails to return the rental car, the rental agency can report the vehicle stolen to the police, and the police will continue working on the case.

This will be charged to the customer as an offense, which will bring either large penalties or even jail time. Bringing the rental vehicle to the agency later than the date agreed on in the contract or refusing to bring the car at all will cause you big trouble. Not returning a car you rented will bring serious consequences.

Therefore, if you want to bring the vehicle later than the date you agreed initially, make sure to let the representative of the rental company know about the extension of the contract. This way, you will avoid all kinds of inconveniences, penalties, or even police reports.

How do you return a rental car?

In most cases, the rental agencies, including RealCar, will give you a call a few days prior to the drop-off date to remind you about the contract ending. And if you’d like to extend the contract, you can discuss the details with them directly.

On the drop-off day, you should bring the car to the agreed office address of the rental company and close the rental contract with the agency. In case you think that you will be later than the time mentioned in the contract, make sure to give your rental company representative a call and let them know about it. In most cases, rental companies will provide you with a grace time, which will give you extra 30 minutes or up to 2 hours to bring the rental car to the office.

Letting your rental agency representative know about your being late will also help you avoid any penalties or extra fees at the end of the contract. So once you reach the rental agency office where you should drop the vehicle off, the representatives will check the car for any possible damages. If everything is good to go, you will close the contract with the rental agency, make the final payments, and have nothing to worry about.


The bottom line

Not returning the rental car to the agency is not acceptable and will cause you serious problems up until a car theft report from the agency. Delaying the return of the rental car or not returning it for a few days will make you pay extra charges and penalties when you eventually return the rental vehicle. That is why it is essential for you to let your rental representative know that you want to amend your contract and extend the rental period of the vehicle.

This way, you will only be charged for the extra prolonged days. And many rental companies will not even need you physically in the offices to extend the contract. As we already discussed, many rental companies make sure to remind their customers about the date of the rental car return a few days before the deadline. Many companies will also point out the grace period in case you are stuck in a traffic jam.