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excessive charges for returning a car w/o full tank

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as we were returning our europcar at malpense airport in milan, every gas station we passed along the way was self serve and would not take our international credit card or cash. it was night and pouring rain and we did not want to take a chance of missing our flight. we had no choice but to return the car with only 1/2 tank of gas. they charged us $178 for this- about $85 more than it would have cost us to fill it ourselves. has anyone had any luck in fighting these excessive charges? we do not want to dispute the charge thru our credit card company because we are afraid that they will only start adding additional fees if we do so. should we just swallow it or is there anything we can do about this? thanks!

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