This story is one for the record books. Back in June Nicholas Balzer, of Port Richey FL, returned a car he had rented 7 months late. Balzer had originally rented a car from Budget Rent A Car on October 20, 2010 and failed to return it on the lease expiration date of November 20, 2010. He turned himself in to Moon Police after leaning a warrant had been issued for his arrest. The charges against Balzer are felony theft of leased property and unauthorized use of an automobile.

What makes this story even more interesting is Balzer not only racked up close to $900 in late fees, but the car was also involved in an accident back in the fall. His insurance says they are no longer covering damages to the rental car. Being in an auto accident with a rental car is bad, but even worse is not returning it and going to jail. Balzer appeared before Judge Mary Murray in the Coraopolis District Court on June 21, 2011.

Being mentally stable should be a prerequisite for renting a vehicle. In fact, if a renter looks even mildly incapacitated in any way, legally, they cannot rent a vehicle. One thing for sure though is Mr. Balzer has plenty of time to think about his next car rental and making sure it is returned on time.

While this article is an extreme example, it does demonstrate a great point – returning your rental vehicle on time is of monumental importance. If you do need to keep the vehicle longer than your rental agreement stipulated, call the company that you rented from right away! Remember, it is not your vehicle and you do not have the right to keep it longer than you are contracted. However, most rental car companies know that situations can arise that requires keeping a vehicle longer. Also remember that if you look (or smell) like you’ve had anything to drink, you cannot rent a vehicle legally.