Although rental cars are often an asset worth £12,000 or more, drivers can treat them as though they were worth little more than their daily rental value.
Clearly, daily rental companies have their own fair wear and tear guidelines, which state that any damage outside acceptable levels will be recharged to the customers.
But this does not stop drivers from abusing their cars if they never see the physical bill for their behaviour. For example, if a vehicle is collected when a driver is not present, drivers can claim that any damage was not their responsibility and must have been caused by the delivery driver.
Additionally, if a company does not have effective procedures in place, a bill from the rental company may never find its way back to the driver, as it is simply absorbed by the company.
Either way, poor policies give drivers the impression that they can treat rental vehicles any way they like.
And it isn't just lowly company car drivers who abuse rental cars. A recent survey among the stars of the global motorcycle racing circuit published in the Spring 2004 issue of MCN Sport provided some spectacular examples of what can happen when rental goes wrong.
Jeremy McWilliams, who races in MotoGP for Aprilia Racing, said: 'I was in Holland, where they have these silly contra-flow systems that are really tight to slow you down.
'I didn't notice until I started heading into one and it started ripping both sides off the car. I actually welded the doors together. I had to pay the insurance excess, which was £500, but there was a lot more damage.'
Chris Walker, from Foggy Petronas Racing, which competes in the World Superbikes championship, said: 'I have got loads of hire car stories. I have blown them up, written them off, jumped them, crashed them. You name it, we've done it.'
Lean Haslam, from the World Superbikes Renegade Ducati team, said: 'I have been in a few accidents with my mechanics driving.
'One party trick was to yank the handbrake and hit the gas so that you go completely sideways in a straight line – but when you release the handbrake and hit the gas, the car fires in whatever direction you are pointing. One time he fired us into a tree and wrote off the front of the car. From then on, it was fair game. People had it off the road, in ditches – it was wrecked.'