Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

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atdharris
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Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by atdharris » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:11 pm

Hello Bogleheads:

I rented a car through Avis in early January of this year. The location was in a mall and had one employee who gave me the keys and told me where the car was. She did not do any type of inspection or walkthrough with me.

I noticed that the windshield was cracked when I drove off in the car. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry and did not have time to go back inside and wait in line to report the crack. I also made a mistake by not taking photos of it at the time I received the car. I returned the car later, and the employee did not inspect the car. She was overwhelmed and took the keys and I left.

Today, a month and a half later, I received a letter saying I caused glass damage to the car and was being billed for nearly $200. I called into Avis to dispute the charge. The rep said no damage had been reported previously, but if I wanted to dispute the charge, I could and they would investigate.

Without photos, what is the best way to fight this? I realize I made an error by not taking photos, and I incorrectly assumed the damage had to have already been noticed. I want to ask for rental records before and after I rented it and for photos showing that the car was not damaged before I rented it. However, I realize this is not a court of law and I am guilty before proven innocent. Avis is currently "investigating. The rep said if Avis cannot prove the car was not damaged before I rented it, they would not charge me.


Is there anything else I can do here? They cannot prove the car was undamaged before I rented it because they did no walkthrough and any photo of the car will show the windshield crack. I realize this may be a learning experience, but I wanted to ask whether anyone here has had experiences with this.

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Raybo
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by Raybo » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:16 pm

The way to look at this is to treat it as tuition to the "Always inspect your rental car" class. My guess is you won't make this mistake a second time.
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Cyclesafe
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by Cyclesafe » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:24 pm

The worst about this is that now there is no excuse to not take many pictures of the condition of the rental before setting out. If they accuse you of damage, you are guilty unless you can prove otherwise. If you don't have pictures, then it is assumed that you have something to hide.

We live in a very different world rife with unintended consequences.
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:27 pm

You saw the damage when you rented the car. You made the decision that your hurry was worth the $200 to not have to go inside and report it. Sorry, it's on you.
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atdharris
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by atdharris » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:34 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:27 pm
You saw the damage when you rented the car. You made the decision that your hurry was worth the $200 to not have to go inside and report it. Sorry, it's on you.
And you're right, I should have missed my deadline to go report the damaged car. I overly assumed that someone noticed it at the rental company when the car was returned previously. Lesson learned, but I wanted to see if anyone had experience with something like this all the same.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by Katietsu » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:35 pm

I believe you. You could ask the local office if they have a copy of the inspection from the previous rental. I once had damage marked on that report that was left off “mine”.

But if I worked for Avis, I would not remove the charge. There is a lot of variation with door dings and small scratches where different employees and renters will differ about what is worth recording. But, I would assume that any reasonable person would report a crack in the windshield. I actually think it is Avis’ policy to not rent a car with a crack. I suspect if you had gone back in, they would have given you a new car.

When in a hurry, I once reported a missing item by simply phoning as I drive away and they added to the report over the phone. Fortunately, it is only $200. View it as a convenience fee.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:40 pm

You can file a claim with your credit card insurance. Or you can hold the position that once they accepted return of the car you can’t be responsible for anything they find later. After all, you could have turned the car in and when they were pulling the car back to be cleaned a rock could have chipped the screen.

Either way, I would not rent from Avis again.

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atdharris
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by atdharris » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:44 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:40 pm
You can file a claim with your credit card insurance. Or you can hold the position that once they accepted return of the car you can’t be responsible for anything they find later. After all, you could have turned the car in and when they were pulling the car back to be cleaned a rock could have chipped the screen.

Either way, I would not rent from Avis again.
I will certainly dispute the charge through American Express should they not drop it and hold the position that no employee did a walkthrough of the car with me either before or after, and once they accepted the rental back, there is no proof it wasn't damaged later.

Whether Amex accepts that and drops the charge, I don't know. At least this is only a $200 charge and not a $2000 one. Either way, yes, I will never rent from Avis again
Last edited by atdharris on Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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galawdawg
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by galawdawg » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:45 pm

It was an unwise decision to not report, at any time, the cracked windshield to Avis. At the very least you should have taken a date/time and geolocated photo as soon as you saw the crack and followed it up with an immediate phone call to Avis. As suggested, you may want to check your credit card to see if you had any rental car coverage and if so, contact your issuer or the number in the credit card benefits booklet for that coverage provider.

Otherwise, consider it one of those learning experiences.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by jacksonm » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:53 pm

If they said you could dispute the charge and trigger an investigation, then why not take them up on the offer with a well written letter stating your case?

Then they will have to decide if it's worth $200 to them to investigate and pursue the matter. You might not even hear back from them. If you do, just fork over the $200 or, as others have said, look into the coverage on your credit card. I believe mine would pay for the damage.

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atdharris
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by atdharris » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:00 pm

jacksonm wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:53 pm
If they said you could dispute the charge and trigger an investigation, then why not take them up on the offer with a well written letter stating your case?

Then they will have to decide if it's worth $200 to them to investigate and pursue the matter. You might not even hear back from them. If you do, just fork over the $200 or, as others have said, look into the coverage on your credit card. I believe mine would pay for the damage.
I did dispute it through Avis. I am not sure what kind of investigation they will do. The rep told me I would hear from them in 3-5 days. I bought loss damage waiver coverage at the time of the rental, but Avis is now saying it does not cover tire or glass damage, which I cannot find online anywhere on their website.

It is possible Amex would cover a cracked windshield if I am charged. I will call them if it comes to it and see what I can do.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:07 pm

atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:44 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:40 pm
You can file a claim with your credit card insurance. Or you can hold the position that once they accepted return of the car you can’t be responsible for anything they find later. After all, you could have turned the car in and when they were pulling the car back to be cleaned a rock could have chipped the screen.

Either way, I would not rent from Avis again.
I will certainly dispute the charge through American Express should they not drop it and hold the position that no employee did a walkthrough of the car with me either before or after, and once they accepted the rental back, there is no proof it wasn't damaged later.

Whether Amex accepts that and drops the charge, I don't know. At least this is only a $200 charge and not a $2000 one. Either way, yes, I will never rent from Avis again
File a claim with AMEX with the CC auto insurance. While it is secondary unless you paid for their "Premier Car Rental Protection", unless you have extremely low deductibles on your personal insurance a $200 will certainly fall into the gap between your personal coverage and the "secondary" coverage your AMEX provides. AMEX should reimburse you $200.

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lthenderson
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by lthenderson » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:07 pm

My only advice is with today's advanced smart phone cameras that take excellent quality videos, it is much faster and easier to start a video recording and just walk around the car one lap versus trying to identify and take a picture of all the damage and risk possibly missing something.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by galawdawg » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:09 pm

atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:00 pm
I bought loss damage waiver coverage at the time of the rental, but Avis is now saying it does not cover tire or glass damage, which I cannot find online anywhere on their website.
That's some important information you left out in your initial post.

From the Avis Rental Agreement (https://www.avis.com/en/legal-documents/rental-terms):
12. Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) is not insurance and is not mandatory. If you accept full LDW by your initials on the Rental Contract at the additional daily rate, for each full or partial day that the car is rented to you, and the car is operated in accordance with this agreement, we assume responsibility for the loss of or damage to the car except, if permitted by law, for lost, damaged or stolen keys or remote entry devices, towing or tire services unless related to an accident, or recovery of the car if stolen, (except in the state of Alaska), and except for your amount of “responsibility”, if any, specified on the Rental Contract. Partial Loss Damage Waiver (PDW) is available only where permitted by law. If you accept PDW at the indicated daily rate, and the car is operated in accordance with the Rental Agreement, we assume responsibility for the loss or damage to the car up to the amount as specified on the Rental Contract and you accept responsibility for all other loss or damage. If you do not accept either LDW or PDW, you owe for all loss or damage to the car. Loss and damage are described in paragraph 13 below. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT YOUR OWN INSURANCE MAY COVER LOSS OR DAMAGE TO THE CAR. YOU ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE READING THE NOTICE ON LOSS OR DAMAGE SHOWN ON THE RENTAL CONTRACT, OR IN THESE TERMS, OR IN A SEPARATE NOTICE FORM, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE STATE SPECIFIC NOTICES SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 36 WITH RESPECT TO THE STATE IN WHICH YOU RENTED THE CAR AND EACH STATE WHERE YOU TAKE THE CAR.
What was the amount of your responsibility, if any, on your rental contract?

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:13 pm

I don't see a likely way to convince them the damage was pre-existing at this point, but the American Express coverage is a good route to try.

One other possibility is that if you have a premium status with Avis, they may waive a charge if it is an isolated incident to keep a regular, good customer happy.

For what it's worth, the last time I reported pre-existing damage to rental agency worker, he said it was too small to count, so I took a photo of it before leaving the lot, just in case. I think the first preference should be to report it in case they dispute the file timestamp, but if in doubt such as when you've already left the lot, stop and take a photo at the first opportunity.

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atdharris
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by atdharris » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:14 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:07 pm
atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:44 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:40 pm
You can file a claim with your credit card insurance. Or you can hold the position that once they accepted return of the car you can’t be responsible for anything they find later. After all, you could have turned the car in and when they were pulling the car back to be cleaned a rock could have chipped the screen.

Either way, I would not rent from Avis again.
I will certainly dispute the charge through American Express should they not drop it and hold the position that no employee did a walkthrough of the car with me either before or after, and once they accepted the rental back, there is no proof it wasn't damaged later.

Whether Amex accepts that and drops the charge, I don't know. At least this is only a $200 charge and not a $2000 one. Either way, yes, I will never rent from Avis again
File a claim with AMEX with the CC auto insurance. While it is secondary unless you paid for their "Premier Car Rental Protection", unless you have extremely low deductibles on your personal insurance a $200 will certainly fall into the gap between your personal coverage and the "secondary" coverage your AMEX provides. AMEX should reimburse you $200.
Right. My deductible for my personal insurance is $1000. I'll file through Amex if my dispute is denied. I am unclear what type of "investigation" Avis conducts, but if any photos were taken before I rented the car, it will show the damage. The car was in terrible shape. It smelled like smoke and had a cracked windshield. If I was not under a time crunch, I would have gone back inside. However, Avis had also told me it was the only sedan they had left at the time.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by 123 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:15 pm

Just a comment that it can be extraordinary dangerous to drive with a damaged windshield. Some states may prohibit operation of a vehicle wit a damaged windshield. On modern cars the windshield is part of the passenger safety system, for the front passenger airbags to fully protect the passengers the windshield must remain its integrity, which it may not be able to do if it is damaged. It is also possible for a small pit or crack to rapidly expand with a jarring bump or a change in temperature, either from operation of the defroster, heater, air conditioner, frost, or heat from the sun. A little chip can turn into major streaks across the full width of the glass in an instant. It has happened to me.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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atdharris
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by atdharris » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:16 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:09 pm
atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:00 pm
I bought loss damage waiver coverage at the time of the rental, but Avis is now saying it does not cover tire or glass damage, which I cannot find online anywhere on their website.
That's some important information you left out in your initial post.

From the Avis Rental Agreement (https://www.avis.com/en/legal-documents/rental-terms):
12. Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) is not insurance and is not mandatory. If you accept full LDW by your initials on the Rental Contract at the additional daily rate, for each full or partial day that the car is rented to you, and the car is operated in accordance with this agreement, we assume responsibility for the loss of or damage to the car except, if permitted by law, for lost, damaged or stolen keys or remote entry devices, towing or tire services unless related to an accident, or recovery of the car if stolen, (except in the state of Alaska), and except for your amount of “responsibility”, if any, specified on the Rental Contract. Partial Loss Damage Waiver (PDW) is available only where permitted by law. If you accept PDW at the indicated daily rate, and the car is operated in accordance with the Rental Agreement, we assume responsibility for the loss or damage to the car up to the amount as specified on the Rental Contract and you accept responsibility for all other loss or damage. If you do not accept either LDW or PDW, you owe for all loss or damage to the car. Loss and damage are described in paragraph 13 below. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT YOUR OWN INSURANCE MAY COVER LOSS OR DAMAGE TO THE CAR. YOU ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE READING THE NOTICE ON LOSS OR DAMAGE SHOWN ON THE RENTAL CONTRACT, OR IN THESE TERMS, OR IN A SEPARATE NOTICE FORM, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE STATE SPECIFIC NOTICES SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 36 WITH RESPECT TO THE STATE IN WHICH YOU RENTED THE CAR AND EACH STATE WHERE YOU TAKE THE CAR.
What was the amount of your responsibility, if any, on your rental contract?
I am not sure. Avis did not email me a copy of the contract, and I could not tell you where the physical copy is. Since this bill arrived nearly two months later, I was not expecting it. I am sure I can request a copy from Avis.

I read what you just posted and did not see anything saying glass damage was not covered. I do see the provision about tires. I actually remember the employee mentioned windshield and said: "if you're driving around and the windshield is dinged, you would need to buy a new windshield without this coverage."
Last edited by atdharris on Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jags4186
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:17 pm

atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:14 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:07 pm
atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:44 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:40 pm
You can file a claim with your credit card insurance. Or you can hold the position that once they accepted return of the car you can’t be responsible for anything they find later. After all, you could have turned the car in and when they were pulling the car back to be cleaned a rock could have chipped the screen.

Either way, I would not rent from Avis again.
I will certainly dispute the charge through American Express should they not drop it and hold the position that no employee did a walkthrough of the car with me either before or after, and once they accepted the rental back, there is no proof it wasn't damaged later.

Whether Amex accepts that and drops the charge, I don't know. At least this is only a $200 charge and not a $2000 one. Either way, yes, I will never rent from Avis again
File a claim with AMEX with the CC auto insurance. While it is secondary unless you paid for their "Premier Car Rental Protection", unless you have extremely low deductibles on your personal insurance a $200 will certainly fall into the gap between your personal coverage and the "secondary" coverage your AMEX provides. AMEX should reimburse you $200.
Right. My deductible for my personal insurance is $1000. I'll file through Amex if my dispute is denied. I am unclear what type of "investigation" Avis conducts, but if any photos were taken before I rented the car, it will show the damage. The car was in terrible shape. It smelled like smoke and had a cracked windshield. If I was not under a time crunch, I would have gone back inside. However, Avis had also told me it was the only sedan they had left at the time.
Even if you win the dispute, the $200 won't go away. Avis could sue you, prevent you from renting again (not that you'd want to, I assume), file against your personal insurance which I'm sure you had to leave them since you didn't pay for CDW, etc. etc.

This is why I suggest you just go the route of getting AMEX to cover the charge, AVIS gets their $200 of flesh, and you get on with your life.

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atdharris
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by atdharris » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:19 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:17 pm
atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:14 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:07 pm
atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:44 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:40 pm
You can file a claim with your credit card insurance. Or you can hold the position that once they accepted return of the car you can’t be responsible for anything they find later. After all, you could have turned the car in and when they were pulling the car back to be cleaned a rock could have chipped the screen.

Either way, I would not rent from Avis again.
I will certainly dispute the charge through American Express should they not drop it and hold the position that no employee did a walkthrough of the car with me either before or after, and once they accepted the rental back, there is no proof it wasn't damaged later.

Whether Amex accepts that and drops the charge, I don't know. At least this is only a $200 charge and not a $2000 one. Either way, yes, I will never rent from Avis again
File a claim with AMEX with the CC auto insurance. While it is secondary unless you paid for their "Premier Car Rental Protection", unless you have extremely low deductibles on your personal insurance a $200 will certainly fall into the gap between your personal coverage and the "secondary" coverage your AMEX provides. AMEX should reimburse you $200.
Right. My deductible for my personal insurance is $1000. I'll file through Amex if my dispute is denied. I am unclear what type of "investigation" Avis conducts, but if any photos were taken before I rented the car, it will show the damage. The car was in terrible shape. It smelled like smoke and had a cracked windshield. If I was not under a time crunch, I would have gone back inside. However, Avis had also told me it was the only sedan they had left at the time.
Even if you win the dispute, the $200 won't go away. Avis could sue you, prevent you from renting again (not that you'd want to, I assume), file against your personal insurance which I'm sure you had to leave them since you didn't pay for CDW, etc. etc.

This is why I suggest you just go the route of getting AMEX to cover the charge, AVIS gets their $200 of flesh, and you get on with your life.
I did sign up for damage waivers. Avis is now saying tire and glass damage is not covered, but I cannot find the glass damage exception anywhere online - just tires.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by galawdawg » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:32 pm

atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:16 pm
galawdawg wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:09 pm
atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:00 pm
I bought loss damage waiver coverage at the time of the rental, but Avis is now saying it does not cover tire or glass damage, which I cannot find online anywhere on their website.
That's some important information you left out in your initial post.

From the Avis Rental Agreement (https://www.avis.com/en/legal-documents/rental-terms):
12. Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) is not insurance and is not mandatory. If you accept full LDW by your initials on the Rental Contract at the additional daily rate, for each full or partial day that the car is rented to you, and the car is operated in accordance with this agreement, we assume responsibility for the loss of or damage to the car except, if permitted by law, for lost, damaged or stolen keys or remote entry devices, towing or tire services unless related to an accident, or recovery of the car if stolen, (except in the state of Alaska), and except for your amount of “responsibility”, if any, specified on the Rental Contract. Partial Loss Damage Waiver (PDW) is available only where permitted by law. If you accept PDW at the indicated daily rate, and the car is operated in accordance with the Rental Agreement, we assume responsibility for the loss or damage to the car up to the amount as specified on the Rental Contract and you accept responsibility for all other loss or damage. If you do not accept either LDW or PDW, you owe for all loss or damage to the car. Loss and damage are described in paragraph 13 below. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT YOUR OWN INSURANCE MAY COVER LOSS OR DAMAGE TO THE CAR. YOU ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE READING THE NOTICE ON LOSS OR DAMAGE SHOWN ON THE RENTAL CONTRACT, OR IN THESE TERMS, OR IN A SEPARATE NOTICE FORM, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE STATE SPECIFIC NOTICES SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 36 WITH RESPECT TO THE STATE IN WHICH YOU RENTED THE CAR AND EACH STATE WHERE YOU TAKE THE CAR.
What was the amount of your responsibility, if any, on your rental contract?
I am not sure. Avis did not email me a copy of the contract, and I could not tell you where the physical copy is. Since this bill arrived nearly two months later, I was not expecting it. I am sure I can request a copy from Avis.

I read what you just posted and did not see anything saying glass damage was not covered. I do see the provision about tires. I actually remember the employee mentioned windshield and said: "if you're driving around and the windshield is dinged, you would need to buy a new windshield without this coverage."
Yes, request a copy of your rental contract from Avis. Do you have an account with them? If so, you may be able to pull it up online. If not, they can likely email it to you.

And I didn't see a glass damage exclusion either. So unless there is something different in the LDW terms on your specific rental contract OR the amount of your responsibility on the rental contract is $200 or more, it appears you should not be required to pay for the damaged windshield.

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atdharris
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by atdharris » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:44 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:32 pm
atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:16 pm
galawdawg wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:09 pm
atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:00 pm
I bought loss damage waiver coverage at the time of the rental, but Avis is now saying it does not cover tire or glass damage, which I cannot find online anywhere on their website.
That's some important information you left out in your initial post.

From the Avis Rental Agreement (https://www.avis.com/en/legal-documents/rental-terms):
12. Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) is not insurance and is not mandatory. If you accept full LDW by your initials on the Rental Contract at the additional daily rate, for each full or partial day that the car is rented to you, and the car is operated in accordance with this agreement, we assume responsibility for the loss of or damage to the car except, if permitted by law, for lost, damaged or stolen keys or remote entry devices, towing or tire services unless related to an accident, or recovery of the car if stolen, (except in the state of Alaska), and except for your amount of “responsibility”, if any, specified on the Rental Contract. Partial Loss Damage Waiver (PDW) is available only where permitted by law. If you accept PDW at the indicated daily rate, and the car is operated in accordance with the Rental Agreement, we assume responsibility for the loss or damage to the car up to the amount as specified on the Rental Contract and you accept responsibility for all other loss or damage. If you do not accept either LDW or PDW, you owe for all loss or damage to the car. Loss and damage are described in paragraph 13 below. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT YOUR OWN INSURANCE MAY COVER LOSS OR DAMAGE TO THE CAR. YOU ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE READING THE NOTICE ON LOSS OR DAMAGE SHOWN ON THE RENTAL CONTRACT, OR IN THESE TERMS, OR IN A SEPARATE NOTICE FORM, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE STATE SPECIFIC NOTICES SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 36 WITH RESPECT TO THE STATE IN WHICH YOU RENTED THE CAR AND EACH STATE WHERE YOU TAKE THE CAR.
What was the amount of your responsibility, if any, on your rental contract?
I am not sure. Avis did not email me a copy of the contract, and I could not tell you where the physical copy is. Since this bill arrived nearly two months later, I was not expecting it. I am sure I can request a copy from Avis.

I read what you just posted and did not see anything saying glass damage was not covered. I do see the provision about tires. I actually remember the employee mentioned windshield and said: "if you're driving around and the windshield is dinged, you would need to buy a new windshield without this coverage."
Yes, request a copy of your rental contract from Avis. Do you have an account with them? If so, you may be able to pull it up online. If not, they can likely email it to you.

And I didn't see a glass damage exclusion either. So unless there is something different in the LDW terms on your specific rental contract OR the amount of your responsibility on the rental contract is $200 or more, it appears you should not be required to pay for the damaged windshield.
I have preferred status with Avis, but on the website, it is not showing my rental from that period, only the loyalty points I earned from it. I'll need to request the agreement. It does not sound like the employee who helped me did their job properly.

I am not sure where the rep on the phone got the glass damage exclusion from. I cannot find it on Google or Avis's website anywhere.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by dru808 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:53 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:07 pm
My only advice is with today's advanced smart phone cameras that take excellent quality videos, it is much faster and easier to start a video recording and just walk around the car one lap versus trying to identify and take a picture of all the damage and risk possibly missing something.
Best advice yet.
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rustymutt
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by rustymutt » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:56 pm

Raybo wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:16 pm
The way to look at this is to treat it as tuition to the "Always inspect your rental car" class. My guess is you won't make this mistake a second time.

It's why I hate renting car nowadays. They are less than faithful employees who turn a blind eye to truth. This should never happen to a consumer, and when it does the only thing one can do, stop using them. I got my degree.
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atdharris
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by atdharris » Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:02 pm

rustymutt wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:56 pm
Raybo wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:16 pm
The way to look at this is to treat it as tuition to the "Always inspect your rental car" class. My guess is you won't make this mistake a second time.

It's why I hate renting car nowadays. They are less than faithful employees who turn a blind eye to truth. This should never happen to a consumer, and when it does the only thing one can do, stop using them. I got my degree.
I know this is not a good defense, but it should be the company's responsibility to make sure there is no damage to their property, not the consumer's responsibility. That means, check the car for damage before you send someone off in it and check when it is returned. Clearly, no one checked the car I rented when it was returned prior to renting it to me unless there was a freak crack in the windshield the morning I drove off in it. Either way, it is not my responsibility to pay for damages that did not occur when I had the vehicle.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by galawdawg » Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:16 pm

atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:02 pm
rustymutt wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:56 pm
Raybo wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:16 pm
The way to look at this is to treat it as tuition to the "Always inspect your rental car" class. My guess is you won't make this mistake a second time.

It's why I hate renting car nowadays. They are less than faithful employees who turn a blind eye to truth. This should never happen to a consumer, and when it does the only thing one can do, stop using them. I got my degree.
I know this is not a good defense, but it should be the company's responsibility to make sure there is no damage to their property, not the consumer's responsibility. That means, check the car for damage before you send someone off in it and check when it is returned. Clearly, no one checked the car I rented when it was returned prior to renting it to me unless there was a freak crack in the windshield the morning I drove off in it. Either way, it is not my responsibility to pay for damages that did not occur when I had the vehicle.
Agree that Avis should be more diligent about inspecting for and noting damage, but a wise customer also checks before driving away in the rental. You didn't want to spend the time to report this when you discovered the cracked windshield, but now look at how much of your time and energy, and ours, has been spent on this. The LDW will likely take care of this. Otherwise, from a legal standpoint, you would have been stuck absent goodwill by AMEX or Avis. It has been awhile since I rented from Avis but IIRC, their rental agreements and/or rental booklets have a diagram where damage is noted. If there are no notations, no damage has been recorded. And check the language of the rental contract you signed. It generally says something along the lines of "I agree to the condition of the vehicle as notated".

Next time, check for damage, document it and report it.

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atdharris
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by atdharris » Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:21 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:16 pm
atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:02 pm
rustymutt wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:56 pm
Raybo wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:16 pm
The way to look at this is to treat it as tuition to the "Always inspect your rental car" class. My guess is you won't make this mistake a second time.

It's why I hate renting car nowadays. They are less than faithful employees who turn a blind eye to truth. This should never happen to a consumer, and when it does the only thing one can do, stop using them. I got my degree.
I know this is not a good defense, but it should be the company's responsibility to make sure there is no damage to their property, not the consumer's responsibility. That means, check the car for damage before you send someone off in it and check when it is returned. Clearly, no one checked the car I rented when it was returned prior to renting it to me unless there was a freak crack in the windshield the morning I drove off in it. Either way, it is not my responsibility to pay for damages that did not occur when I had the vehicle.
Agree that Avis should be more diligent about inspecting for and noting damage, but a wise customer also checks before driving away in the rental. You didn't want to spend the time to report this when you discovered the cracked windshield, but now look at how much of your time and energy, and ours, has been spent on this. The LDW will likely take care of this. Otherwise, from a legal standpoint, you would have been stuck absent goodwill by AMEX or Avis. It has been awhile since I rented from Avis but IIRC, their rental agreements and/or rental booklets have a diagram where damage is noted. If there are no notations, no damage has been recorded. And check the language of the rental contract you signed. It generally says something along the lines of "I agree to the condition of the vehicle as notated".

Next time, check for damage, document it and report it.
The lesson certainly has been learned regardless of the outcome. I'll check the rental agreement and ask them to point to the language where glass damage is excluded from the LDW. I still cannot find that anywhere.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by muddgirl » Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:30 pm

I was in a similar situation with damage to a rental car which I believe was pre-existing. I involved my car insurance and once they contacted the rental car agency with their required documentation, the rental car company dropped the charge. My insurance rate did not go up based on that claim.

My agent gave me the impression that the agencies only go after low-hanging or high-dollar fruit and don't bother pursuing small claims against car insurance companies.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by jacksonm » Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:06 pm

dru808 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:53 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:07 pm
My only advice is with today's advanced smart phone cameras that take excellent quality videos, it is much faster and easier to start a video recording and just walk around the car one lap versus trying to identify and take a picture of all the damage and risk possibly missing something.
Best advice yet.
I agree that's good advice but only in conjunction with making sure the damage is reported before driving the car off the lot. A picture all by itself doesn't do anything to prove when the damage occurred.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:38 pm

Actionably:

1
Dispute the charge. Do everything you can. You have nothing to lose by trying.
2
This has happened to me in the past though not to that large amount. Thereafter, I go over the car in detail with the rental rep and note everything on the check in sheet, and get a duplicate.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by ianferrel » Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:46 pm

I always take a walkaround video of my car both picking it up and dropping it off.

A few years ago I had a rental car company try to charge me for damage I didn't cause. It wasn't there when I picked up or dropped off the car. The rental desk employee even took the keys and went out to the car (I assume to inspect it, but who knows). Then four hours later they called and told me the front end was damaged. They were asking for a lot more than $200.

I disputed it and proceeded to write letters in the "dangerous professional" mode, which is in my experience the best way to get what you want out of a bureaucracy. Provide lots of documentation of timelines and communications. Point out all the places that their case is not solid. Generally, you want to make it clear that you're going to make them exhaust every avenue before you'll pay a cent, and when it comes in front of a judge you're going to be there with a well-organized explanation and a pile of evidence.

The goal is for someone with authority to make the call that the amount they're paying people to process the case isn't worth what they'll get out of it.

They eventually dropped it.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by Pacific » Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:50 pm

atdharris wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:11 pm

I noticed that the windshield was cracked when I drove off in the car. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry and did not have time to go back inside and wait in line to report the crack. I also made a mistake by not taking photos of it at the time I received the car. I returned the car later, and the employee did not inspect the car. She was overwhelmed and took the keys and I left.

Today, a month and a half later, I received a letter saying I caused glass damage to the car and was being billed for nearly $200. I called into Avis to dispute the charge. The rep said no damage had been reported previously, but if I wanted to dispute the charge, I could and they would investigate.

Without photos, what is the best way to fight this? I realize I made an error by not taking photos, and I incorrectly assumed the damage had to have already been noticed. I want to ask for rental records before and after I rented it and for photos showing that the car was not damaged before I rented it. However, I realize this is not a court of law and I am guilty before proven innocent. Avis is currently "investigating. The rep said if Avis cannot prove the car was not damaged before I rented it, they would not charge me.
I think you are SOL.

There is no question of being guilty being proven innocent as this is a civil case, not a criminal case. If you are "guilty" of anything it is being careless.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:17 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:07 pm
File a claim with AMEX with the CC auto insurance. While it is secondary unless you paid for their "Premier Car Rental Protection", unless you have extremely low deductibles on your personal insurance a $200 will certainly fall into the gap between your personal coverage and the "secondary" coverage your AMEX provides. AMEX should reimburse you $200.
Ah, but the OP paid for the Avis Loss Damage Waiver, and I think credit card coverage T&C tend to say that they only apply if you decline the rental agency coverage. E.g., for my Amex Plat:

https://www.americanexpress.com/content ... Tier-2.pdf
To activate benefits –

A. An Eligible Payment is made to reserve and pay for the Entire Rental of a Rental
Vehicle to the Eligible Card.

B. The following optional coverages offered by the Rental Company at the counter are declined:
1. full collision damage waiver(CDW); 2. personal accident insurance;
3. personal property coverage;and
4. similar coverage.
It might still be worth calling them to see if the cover items that are explicitly excluded by the CDW of the rental agency.

I’d probably avoid disputing the actual charge with my credit card as there is a good chance Avis will put the renter on a Do not Rent list (and they also own Budget and Payless and might extend the ban to them). Talking to the local rental agent might be helpful, especially if you are a local and rent from them occasionally.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by dukeblue219 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:22 pm

For what it's worth, this has happened to me twice (not glass, but "damage" reports that I knew weren't accurate). Both times I disputed (with Enterprise) and they resolved in my favor.

Don't assume that they'll rule against you automatically. Avis is a decent enough brand and may actually review paperwork or video evidence to check. On the other hand, I only rent at airports and those locations have vastly better customer service.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by dru808 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:48 pm

jacksonm wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:06 pm
dru808 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:53 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:07 pm
My only advice is with today's advanced smart phone cameras that take excellent quality videos, it is much faster and easier to start a video recording and just walk around the car one lap versus trying to identify and take a picture of all the damage and risk possibly missing something.
Best advice yet.
I agree that's good advice but only in conjunction with making sure the damage is reported before driving the car off the lot. A picture all by itself doesn't do anything to prove when the damage occurred.
Maybe back in the 90’s. Everything is time stamped and you’d be taking video at the pickup spot with landmarks in the background. I do pics without reporting on minor dings and scuffs, video seems like a much easier solution.
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by TallBoy29er » Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:17 pm

I skipped all the posts in front of me.

I had Avis do this to me at one time as well. I bit the bullet and paid, but only after putting up an initial struggle. I took it, unhappily, as a learning. I now photograph the heck out of rental cars with my phone, clearly showing I am at the point of origination.

I get it, it's a PITA, and feels wrong. Learn for next time. Or fight. If the latter, let us know how it goes!!

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by tev9876 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:01 pm

If you are going to file a claim with Amex, do it immediately. There is a time window in which you must start the claim - 30 or 60 days I think. If you don't initiate it in that window you are done. If you do initiate it you get many more months to get all of the paperwork in so there is no risk. That said, I thing your claim would be denied with Amex since you bought CDW from Avis as pointed out by someone above.

Check all of the fine print on the contract and the folder they put it in, if applicable. That will call out all of the exclusions on the Avis CDW. There is likely a location specific version buried online somewhere also. That is one of the biggest rip-offs in the rental car world. They charge the equivalent of $10K+ a year for what is basically comprehensive insurance you have on your personal car for a few hundred, and also make it next to impossible to find the T&C ahead of time.

This is a common profit center for rental agencies all over the world. Saying never rent with Avis again will not protect you as there are National, Hertz, Sixt, etc. locations around the world doing the exact same thing. US airport locations where you just get in the car and go are usually not an issue - they are making plenty of profit on volume and high airport rates. It is the local franchises that play the game. I rent in Ireland often and it is a huge issue there, with all agencies. They will take advantage of you if you aren't careful.

I got burned years ago at a National location in Germany. Check in person pointed out a "scratch" which I wiped away - was just a smudge. I assumed all was good and went on my way - there was also a language barrier. Three months later I got a bill. It was too late to start a claim with my credit card. As it was a business trip I just paid it and expensed it. We looked into it further and found many people from the company got hit with similar issues - one was accused of stealing the red safety triangle and billed for it. We ended up getting the location banned in the travel system which probably cost them dearly since there were probably 100+ rentals a week as it was a huge Fortune 100 headquarters location with a common travel portal.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by IMO » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:08 pm

The OP's situation should remind car renters about the fact that apparently windshield's and tires are not covered even if one gets the damage protection.

What is often frustrating when renting cars is the cars are often in areas with poor lighting. Once you get the car into the sunlight, one can often see damage that one missed at checkout. Done this a few times.

My personal strategy now when renting cars is to be very diligent about documenting even the damage that they company says, "don't worry about that" and to look carefully for even chips in a windshield that may crack while I'm renting the car. I take lots of pictures of the car as a precaution. Furthermore, I take a picture of the filled out pre-rental damage card before I turn it in to the agent because I can only wonder what a mess it must be to try to argue that you filled out the damage on the damage inspection card before you left (where do those go when you turn them in?).

I do think the OP messed up by not going back right away when he saw the damage in the windshield. It then simply becomes a he said/she said type of thing and the OP doesn't have a good argument for why he didn't document the damage before leaving the rental lot.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by cheapskate » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:14 pm

Yikes - I am sorry this happened to you. I have no advice to offer except try and work this out with Avis and hope for the best (and see if the credit card company can pick up the tab, via supplemental coverage).

Lesson here for anyone who reads this thread to take a video of the vehicle before and after the rental. I frankly never have done it, but have not had bad luck over the many decades of renting cars, but I will make it a point to do so from now on. The norm nowadays is that you don't get a walkthrough with an employee before or after a rental. Most locations at airports are thinly staffed - they point you at a range of parking spots where you can pick up a vehicle and you just drop off the vehicle leaving the keys in the car and run off.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:22 pm

dru808 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:48 pm
jacksonm wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:06 pm
dru808 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:53 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:07 pm
My only advice is with today's advanced smart phone cameras that take excellent quality videos, it is much faster and easier to start a video recording and just walk around the car one lap versus trying to identify and take a picture of all the damage and risk possibly missing something.
Best advice yet.
I agree that's good advice but only in conjunction with making sure the damage is reported before driving the car off the lot. A picture all by itself doesn't do anything to prove when the damage occurred.
Maybe back in the 90’s. Everything is time stamped and you’d be taking video at the pickup spot with landmarks in the background. I do pics without reporting on minor dings and scuffs, video seems like a much easier solution.
I've edited metadata to change time stamps when they weren't properly recorded. It can be done for neferious reasons to, which could be used as a basis to deny a claim. They'll probably accept it, but reporting the damage before leaving seems the safest.

Perhaps more importantly, reporting it before leaving should close the issue up-front, rather than leaving it to be dealt with a month after your trip is over, with numerous communications back and forth and the opportunity for mistakes on the company's part to further complicate matters.

I generally prefer photographs, but whether you do photos or video, make sure you capture enough detail to clearly document the damage. Standing 5' back, your 4K phone video may look fantastic, but you try to zoom in to show a dent, it may still be hard to see. You may also find you should have taken it from a different angle to make it more clear that it's a dent and not dirt or a reflection in the glossy paint.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by BobTexas » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:43 pm

First, I can’t remember the last time I had an agent do a walk around of a car with me.

I can’t believe you would drive off with a cracked windshield. You had to know that they were going to accuse you of breaking it.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by WildBill » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:34 pm

Howdy

I agree with you and others that it is on you. You saw the damage and decided your time was important and went on your way without reporting it.

After a couple of sort of similar incidents I signed up for American Express premium coverage. When you rent AMEX charges you $19 , and you are covered for basically anything and everything for up to 30 days.

I had a situation with some bandits in Alaska who were trying to rip me off on some pre existing damage. I just gave them the AMEX contact details and told them to sort it out with AMEX. Good luck ripping off AMEX :twisted:

Last I heard of it.

Happy indemnity

W B
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by whodidntante » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:38 pm

Photos are no good. You need clear photos with an Avis employee who is holding up a copy of today's newspaper. Also a magnetic ruler next to the damaged regions.

If photos are proof that you didn't cause damage, ima take photos after my next crash.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by JonnyB » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:49 pm

WildBill wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:34 pm
I agree with you and others that it is on you.
I don't understand this sentiment. It's the responsibility of the rental company to record and document the condition of each car as it goes out and comes back in. In this case they were derelict in their duties, probably out of cheapness -- they just didn't want to pay the labor to do so. And why should they if they can pin the damage on another unsuspecting customer. They save on the labor costs to do their job right.

So now the company is trying to cheat the renter by pinning a damage claim on them that they are not responsible for. The rental company failed to do their job, missing the damage they should have recorded previously, so are trying to recover from their dereliction by sticking it to another renter.

The renter did make one terrible mistake. They trusted the company not to cheat them.

So lesson learned. You may have to treat companies you deal with as potential criminals out to cheat you -- until proven otherwise.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by DVMResident » Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:29 am

Dispute the charge with the credit card. Customer service reps (including Avis from recent experience) are not empowered to reverse chargers or only partially empowered.

There is no reasonable path to correct the issue with the company.

My own policy is one phone call and 1 business day to correct issues; then it’s disputed with the credit card company +/- regulators (not in this case). This policy has dramatically increased success rate and decreased time sink.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by spitty » Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:48 am

Hopefully Avis will find records relating to the previous renter and you'll be off the hook. But it seems unlikely being a small mall operation. If not, just file a claim with Amex and they'll take care of it; make sure to keep your original renter's agreement. Happened to me 2 years ago, only the crack occurred during my time. Filed a claim with Chase (VISA) and they paid $190, no questions asked.

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Watty
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by Watty » Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:08 am

I had a somewhat different problem last fall.

I had a rental car where a crack showed up at the edge of the windshield one morning while I had it. It was obvious that it was not due to a rock, windshields just crack sometimes.

In looking at it I saw that the windshield did not have the manufacturer's logo on it like all the other glass did so it was pretty clear that the windshield had previously been replaced. It was pretty obvious(at least to me) that they had just put in some cheap glass that had a defect or it had been improperly installed and it just happened to crack when I had the car.

I pointed that out to the rental car company and I have a $0 glass deductible on my car insurance which covered the rental so I also pointed that out to my insurance company.

That did not seem to be my fault did not make any difference so the insurance company paid for it.

Sometimes there is not much you can do.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by Audioarc » Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:20 am

The last time I rented a car, the parking lot had cameras that automatically recorded the condition of the car’s exterior when I exited. The agent didn’t walk around with me beforehand. Any exterior damage was recorded by the car rental company prior to me leaving. Check to make sure they don’t have a prior record of the damage on video or on paper from the previous rental.

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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by tainted-meat » Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:23 am

Haha they tried to do that to me once in ATL a few years ago (the car was dirty and hard to see any damage). I argued with the manager to no avail - then I checked the corporate policy and it was written such that Avis was responsible for fixing any damage anyways.

Now I go over any rental very closely and take pictures on my phone. If the car is not washed it can conceal damage so I request a new car.

Haven't had an issue since.

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atdharris
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Re: Avis charging for existing damage on rental car

Post by atdharris » Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:56 am

This is a learning experience no doubt, but I don't understand those who say it is *my* responsibility to inspect the car when it should be the company's responsibility to examine their vehicles prior to renting to someone.

I had a deadline I had to meet, I was in a time crunch, and I was unable to spend another 30 minutes waiting in line and then risking not being able to meet my deadline. At the time, I trusted the company had inspected the vehicle upon its return from the previous renter and knew of the damage. I overly assumed. That is my biggest fault here - trusting Avis not to screw me. I was wrong.

I will see what their investigation yields and will call Amex. I still cannot find anywhere that says the CDW does not cover glass damage as the rep on the phone claims. If that truly is the case, I hope Amex will cover the damage even if I bought the CDW.

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