Rental Cars Weren't Cleaned Between Customers, Inside Edition's Invisible Ink Test Finds

Three of the largest rental car companies failed to properly clean cars in the wake of COVID-19. Using an invisible ink test, Inside Edition recently found cars hadn’t been properly cleaned between customers.

In the age of COVID-19, rental car companies are promising to keep customers safe with enhanced cleaning measures. But using an invisible ink test, Inside Edition's Investigative Unit recently found cars that hadn’t been properly cleaned between customers.

“Behind all this is our pledge to safety,” says one Avis commercial. “I pledge to disinfect your car like it was my own.”

To put the pledge to the test, Inside Edition producers rented a red Jeep from an Avis rental car location in the heart of New York City. They sprayed an Inside Edition logo on the passenger side windows and painted some of the most touched services inside of the Jeep with a harmless and washable ink that can only be seen under a UV light.

They returned the Jeep, and several hours later, had another producer rent the exact same vehicle. An ultraviolet light showed the ink was still everywhere it had been applied, revealing that none of the surfaces were properly cleaned.

In a written statement, Avis apologized and said, “This instance is not in line with our high safety standards. We are currently conducting a review of this incident and thank you for bringing it to our attention.”

We also rented a Mercedes from Hertz and a Jeep from Thrifty — they also failed the invisible ink tests.

In the Mercedes, ink was visible on the touch screen, the driver and passenger door handles and seat controls. In the Jeep from Thrifty, there was paint all over the steering wheel, the door handle, turn signal, emergency brake, gear shifter and temperature controls.

The company that owns Hertz and Thrifty issued a full refund and told Inside Edition they have high standards for safety and cleanliness, including a rigorous, multi-step cleaning and sanitation process—one they say they have reinforced to ensure the safety and satisfaction of customers.