How to avoid unexpected surcharges

Car-sharing services have revolutionized the way we commute, offering a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to traditional car rentals. While they come with many advantages, like cost-efficiency and ease of access, car-sharing also entails a unique set of fees that can catch unsuspecting users off guard. Usually, you can find this list of fees and corresponding amounts on the car-sharing provider's website. We've made a round-up of the most common car-sharing fees, which can impact your budget unexpectedly, and share handy strategies to avoid them.

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Parking outside home area

There's no need to worry about parking costs when you use SHARE NOW. This is possible because we establish strong ties with the local authorities of the areas where we operate to create a designated "free parking" zone, known as the Home Area, for our car-sharing members. Of course, you still need to observe general parking rules (we'll delve deeper into that below), even in the Home Area. If you park in a paid parking garage, the cost will not be covered by the car-sharing provider (unless otherwise specified). Parking is no longer free as soon as you leave the Home Area. If you park the car anywhere outside the Home Area, you will be charged a "drop off fee" in addition to the cost of your trip. This is because the cost of moving a car back into the Home Area is high. Remember to be considerate to the next user, and only park where allowed. A little kindness goes a long way!

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Low battery fee

With the rise of electric cars, many car-sharing companies now offer them as part of their fleet. SHARE NOW even has some cities that are fully electric (Hello Amsterdam)! And while refuelling and checking fuel levels have become a routine for most users, some drivers believe that battery levels are…infinite. One potential issue here is the low battery fee, which can be imposed if you leave the car with an empty battery. As charging cars is still a far more labor-intensive task than fuelling, this fee is often charged to cover the cost of dedicated staff (also known as "juicers") and the possible towing costs in case the car battery is fully depleted. So, be kind to other users, and remember to plug in after your ride. You can even earn some credit by doing so!

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The fee you can't (fully!) control

Towing fees are the bane of every car-sharing user's existence. Unfortunately, this is one fee that car-sharing companies have no direct influence over. The best way to avoid any nasty surprises by the municipality is always to double-check local parking rules and restrictions, existing time limits, or even event-specific regulations. When parking your car-sharing vehicle, always follow the rules of the city you're driving in. What's allowed in Berlin, might be off-limits in Hamburg. Ignoring parking signs or violating parking laws is a surefire way to get towed, meaning any associated fees are usually the user's responsibility. To avoid this fee, familiarize yourself with the parking rules of the city you're driving in.

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Keyless cars to the rescue

Losing a car key can be a costly headache when renting a car. Luckily, many car-sharing services use keyless entry technology, eliminating the risk of this particular fee. In this case, access usually works via the provider's app. Make sure to read our dedicated blog post to learn more about digital keys and why they're the future. And remember, always familiarize yourself with the car's entry system before taking off.

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Get ready for take-off

If you're using a car-sharing service to get to or from the airport, you might be charged an airport fee in addition to the cost of your trip. It's essential to know that this fee is typically charged by the airport, and not by the car-sharing company. This fee typically covers the cost of using a dedicated parking space at or close to the airport. There's not much you can do to avoid this small surcharge, and most people find it well worth it since they can avoid the hassle of carrying heavy luggage in public transportation or an expensive taxi ride.

Remember that, while you can't control every fee, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the impact of some, making your car-sharing experience more enjoyable and budget-friendly. So, next time you embark on a car-sharing adventure, do it with confidence, knowing you have the tools to avoid unwanted surprises.

Nicky Verdoodt

Nicky Delphin

Sr. Digital Content Strategist

"Passionate about cats. And cars!"

While the cat’s away, Nicky writes about mobility, one post at a time.