surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

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Drewman
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surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

Recently we rented a minivan. It had extensive cosmetic damage from previous renter when we picked it up. rental car company noted damages/took pictures during our pickup inspection and we were off. rental was returned on time in same condition it was rented in.

We received a SURPRISE bill in the mail from a 3rd party company, that rental company uses, for over $7,000 in damages!! :x

A 1 page document was included for us to complete and return, providing us an opportunity to pay the $7,000, through our insurance or a credit card. A fax was listed to return the form and a phone number was listed below that.

How would you proceed with this egregious surprise? (it is weighting on me as we are not at fault - just hoping the rental company uncovers the truth).

1) trying to save time do I write on the 1 page document that the vehicle was returned in the same condition it was picked up in and directing them to review the pickup inspection report and pictures?

2) wait till Monday at 8AM ET and call the number and hope for the best?
NYC_Guy
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by NYC_Guy »

I would sue them for fraud. Maybe even seek a class action. And I’d file a criminal complaint. Probably notify the state consumer protection agency. That should get some fast remedial action.
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Brianmcg321
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Brianmcg321 »

Are you sure its not a scam?
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renter
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by renter »

Hand it over to your insurance company to deal with (assuming you were covered).
Topic Author
Drewman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

renter wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:04 pm Hand it over to your insurance company to deal with (assuming you were covered).
Why even get my insurance company involved at this point? I booked with a credit card that offers rental car insurance.
Brianmcg321 wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:03 pm Are you sure its not a scam?
An internet search shows this is the 3rd party company that is used by many companies for these matters.
NYC_Guy wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:00 pm
I would sue them for fraud. Maybe even seek a class action. And I’d file a criminal complaint. Probably notify the state consumer protection agency. That should get some fast remedial action.
How do I reach out to them? Do I call on Monday or reply with a letter to the fax number?
How does one file a criminal complaint / or notify the state consumer protection agency? It was in Florida.
Raycpact
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Raycpact »

There is a short time to report claims on CC , check the terms. You might need to report it before it is resolved.

On my car insurance, I would contact my agent before contacting rental company and ask for guidance.
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Drewman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

NYC_Guy wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:00 pm I would sue them for fraud. Maybe even seek a class action. And I’d file a criminal complaint. Probably notify the state consumer protection agency. That should get some fast remedial action.
I found this complaint form on the Florida attorney general website: https://myfloridalegal.com/contact.nsf/ ... n_Services
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Dottie57 »

Raycpact wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:14 pm There is a short time to report claims on CC , check the terms. You might need to report it before it is resolved.

On my car insurance, I would contact my agent before contacting rental company and ask for guidance.
This. Please.
Topic Author
Drewman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

Raycpact wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:14 pm There is a short time to report claims on CC , check the terms. You might need to report it before it is resolved.

On my car insurance, I would contact my agent before contacting rental company and ask for guidance.
There is no claim to report, no damage was done to the vehicle during our rental.
tibbitts
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by tibbitts »

This is an interesting question, because it brings up the possibility that the rental company can claim damage after the time allowed to be reimbursed by your credit card or even a third-party trip insurance product has expired. I'm not sure whether there's a time limit on your own insurance. Obviously many of us don't even have insurance that would cover damage to a rental car - or our own car for that matter. So I'd say skip contacting the insurance agent if your policy wouldn't cover the situation. Also I don't think a credit card or trip insurance, or maybe even your own insurance, will reimburse for damage you're billed for, but that you claim didn't occur while the vehicle was in your possession.

I don't know how you'd prevent this problem going forward. You could photograph the vehicle upon return, but it's not that difficult to change exif data, etc. so the rental company could claim the photograph didn't prove anything. In theory you have the rental company acknowledge the condition of the returned vehicle, but you'd never get any of the employees to agree to do that.
renter
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by renter »

Drewman wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:12 pm
renter wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:04 pm Hand it over to your insurance company to deal with (assuming you were covered).
Why even get my insurance company involved at this point? I booked with a credit card that offers rental car insurance.
Brianmcg321 wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:03 pm
I buy good insurance so I don't have to deal with this sort of thing, and would not hesitate to hand it over to them if I were covered.
sc173
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by sc173 »

Any chance this is "Nu Car Rentals"? They're known to pull this.
Topic Author
Drewman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

sc173 wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:26 pm Any chance this is "Nu Car Rentals"? They're known to pull this.
not them
Last edited by Drewman on Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
TIAX
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by TIAX »

Drewman wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:18 pm
Raycpact wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:14 pm There is a short time to report claims on CC , check the terms. You might need to report it before it is resolved.

On my car insurance, I would contact my agent before contacting rental company and ask for guidance.
There is no claim to report, no damage was done to the vehicle during our rental.
But the car rental company is alleging there was. I would make the claim but honestly explain what happened. I would also contact the car rental company as well as this contractor.
Topic Author
Drewman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

renter wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:24 pm
Drewman wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:12 pm
renter wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:04 pm Hand it over to your insurance company to deal with (assuming you were covered).
Why even get my insurance company involved at this point? I booked with a credit card that offers rental car insurance.
Brianmcg321 wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:03 pm
I buy good insurance so I don't have to deal with this sort of thing, and would not hesitate to hand it over to them if I were covered.
I have never utilized my auto insurance so unsure if it is good...is there a litmus test do determine the goodness of my insurance? This is not a facetious response.


I think I am going to inform them in writing and send it to the fax number provided instructing them to review the inspection report that was completed at the time we picked up the vehicle including the photographs that were taken of the damage as no damage was inflicted upon the vehicle during out rental period. This will prevent me from having to take time to call. This puts the ball promptly back in their court.
Topic Author
Drewman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

DRAFT:

Dear RENTAL CAR COMPANY:

I have received your letter regarding our recent rental in Orlando, FL. I was traveling with my wife and kids and we all took notice of the condition of the car at pickup and drop-off. I also had a conversation with the attendants at pickup and drop off and mentioned the damages. The attendant at pick-up even took pictures of the damages as they were quite extensive. We were told this was the only minivan available to my family.

Please be advised that during the entire rental period no damage was done to the car, nor was any damage brought to our attention by the attendant at the time of return. Please review the pick-up inspection documents and photographs.

I will be happy to review this matter further if you can produce the following:

1. Proof that the vehicle was damaged while it was in our possession including pictures of the car that are time-stamped before and after that clearly show the damage alleged.
2. Any documents signed by us acknowledging any damage to the car when returned.

You may send these documents directly to me at EMAIL.

As a loyal customer of RENTAL CAR COMPANY, I have not used another rental company in many years. Obviously, if this matter is not resolved quickly, it will be the last transaction we ever have.

Sincerely,
THIS BOGLEHEAD
renter
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by renter »

If your insurance has you covered, then I would say that you have good insurance. If you are not covered, then it will be up to you to deal with the rental car company. By chance did you purchase a damage waiver when you got the car?
Topic Author
Drewman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

renter wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:58 pm If your insurance has you covered, then I would say that you have good insurance. If you are not covered, then it will be up to you to deal with the rental car company. By chance did you purchase a damage waiver when you got the car?
okay, thanks for your help. I am not sure my insurance covers me from someones false accusation? Would they be the ones to draft the letter I just created? No damage waiver was purchased.
123
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by 123 »

It's been 18 months since I rented a car but it seems to me they give you a copy of the sheet that notes existing damage at time of pickup. At least that's what Hertz did a couple of times with me.

You could request a Carfax report to see if there's a past record of damage. VIN or plate info is likely on your rental agreement (might be an email).
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anon3838
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by anon3838 »

renter wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:24 pm
Drewman wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:12 pm
renter wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:04 pm Hand it over to your insurance company to deal with (assuming you were covered).
Why even get my insurance company involved at this point? I booked with a credit card that offers rental car insurance.
Brianmcg321 wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:03 pm
I buy good insurance so I don't have to deal with this sort of thing, and would not hesitate to hand it over to them if I were covered.

If your auto insurance covers you with rentals, then I agree with the suggestion to involve your insurance company. Provide all the details about pre-rental condition. They’ll probably get this shut down quickly.

If you go the legal route on your own and sue them, you’ll end up with a fat lawyer bill.
Inframan4712
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Inframan4712 »

Drewman wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:05 am
renter wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:58 pm If your insurance has you covered, then I would say that you have good insurance. If you are not covered, then it will be up to you to deal with the rental car company. By chance did you purchase a damage waiver when you got the car?
okay, thanks for your help. I am not sure my insurance covers me from someones false accusation? Would they be the ones to draft the letter I just created? No damage waiver was purchased.
Contact your insurance company. This is why you buy insurance. Let them guide you. More importantly, your insurance company likely has requirements that you inform them in a timely manner in these situations.

Imagine someone pretends to slip in your home and sends you a letter demanding payment for medical bills. Surely you would inform your homeowners insurance company?

Don’t delay. Don’t handle this yourself. You will only create problems for yourself.
Kagord
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Kagord »

This is common, I've had this a few times in the $1K-3K range, at least with majors (Hertz, Avis, National). It's never been a big deal, I just fax in a letter and the initial paperwork stating the damage noted from the walk around, and they have always taken care of it.

Same with tolls I got charged for, and after research, the toll was not during my rental.

So yeah, it's a mess, but they are familiar with working these things out. If you have ever watched Brazil, you can see it's quite easy for these types of things to happen.
Jags4186
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Jags4186 »

Drewman wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 10:58 pm Recently we rented a minivan. It had extensive cosmetic damage from previous renter when we picked it up. rental car company noted damages/took pictures during our pickup inspection and we were off. rental was returned on time in same condition it was rented in.
The lesson here is to make sure *you* take pictures before you take possession of a rental vehicle. Rental car company can take pictures and then click delete the second you drive off. On the rare personal rental I take, I usually insist the rental car person is actually in one of the pictures with the car so they can’t claim “they didn’t see it”.

Oh and *all* rental car companies are shady, don’t think this is limited to one or two select companies. In fact all those rental counters you see are mostly just different brands of the same two companies.
brian91480
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by brian91480 »

Drewman wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:18 pm
Raycpact wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:14 pm There is a short time to report claims on CC , check the terms. You might need to report it before it is resolved.

On my car insurance, I would contact my agent before contacting rental company and ask for guidance.
There is no claim to report, no damage was done to the vehicle during our rental.
This isn't about ego... right vs wrong... or anything else.
Your sole priority right now is to protect yourself so you don't lose $7,000.

Pick up the phone, call your insurance agent, and do whatever they say to do. Hopefully you won't have to do anything else after the call, and your agent will do the rest of the work.
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Drewman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

Jags4186 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:21 am
Drewman wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 10:58 pm Recently we rented a minivan. It had extensive cosmetic damage from previous renter when we picked it up. rental car company noted damages/took pictures during our pickup inspection and we were off. rental was returned on time in same condition it was rented in.
The lesson here is to make sure *you* take pictures before you take possession of a rental vehicle. Rental car company can take pictures and then click delete the second you drive off. On the rare personal rental I take, I usually insist the rental car person is actually in one of the pictures with the car so they can’t claim “they didn’t see it”.

Oh and *all* rental car companies are shady, don’t think this is limited to one or two select companies. In fact all those rental counters you see are mostly just different brands of the same two companies.
Yes I have learned this lesson. I have rented many vehicles and never had an issue. However, also never been given a vehicle that was damaged.
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Drewman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

Kagord wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:43 am This is common, I've had this a few times in the $1K-3K range, at least with majors (Hertz, Avis, National). It's never been a big deal, I just fax in a letter and the initial paperwork stating the damage noted from the walk around, and they have always taken care of it.

Same with tolls I got charged for, and after research, the toll was not during my rental.

So yeah, it's a mess, but they are familiar with working these things out. If you have ever watched Brazil, you can see it's quite easy for these types of things to happen.
Thank you - this is what I am leaning towards.
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Drewman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

brian91480 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:49 am
Drewman wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:18 pm
Raycpact wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:14 pm There is a short time to report claims on CC , check the terms. You might need to report it before it is resolved.

On my car insurance, I would contact my agent before contacting rental company and ask for guidance.
There is no claim to report, no damage was done to the vehicle during our rental.
This isn't about ego... right vs wrong... or anything else.
Your sole priority right now is to protect yourself so you don't lose $7,000.

Pick up the phone, call your insurance agent, and do whatever they say to do. Hopefully you won't have to do anything else after the call, and your agent will do the rest of the work.
Thank you Brian - I am not sure what my car insurance covers in regards to a rental, I will have to check. I have always booked with Chase Visa Signature and here is the wording from them:

Provides reimbursement for damage due to collision or theft for most rental vehicles when traveling within the U.S. and abroad.

Within your country of residence coverage is secondary when renting for personal reasons and supplements any valid and collectible insurance or reimbursement from any source. Outside your country of residence you do not have to claim payment from any other source of insurance before receiving coverage under this benefit
Initiate and complete the entire rental transaction using the covered Chase card and decline the rental company's collision damage waiver or loss damage waiver


I see Visa does require this to go through my insurance first. I'm going to reach out to Chase Visa Signature - maybe they will shut this down as they may have more skin in the game than my automobile insurer.


I'll post an update as this progresses. Lots of good wisdom here!
-Andrew
Prahasaurus
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Prahasaurus »

Jags4186 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:21 am
Drewman wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 10:58 pm Recently we rented a minivan. It had extensive cosmetic damage from previous renter when we picked it up. rental car company noted damages/took pictures during our pickup inspection and we were off. rental was returned on time in same condition it was rented in.
The lesson here is to make sure *you* take pictures before you take possession of a rental vehicle. Rental car company can take pictures and then click delete the second you drive off. On the rare personal rental I take, I usually insist the rental car person is actually in one of the pictures with the car so they can’t claim “they didn’t see it”.

Oh and *all* rental car companies are shady, don’t think this is limited to one or two select companies. In fact all those rental counters you see are mostly just different brands of the same two companies.
This!

I just returned from a 4-week stay where I rented a car. I took extensive video and pics of the car's condition - with the agent standing by the car in the video - for my own records. With a mobile phone in everyone's pocket now, it literally takes 1-2 minutes to make a fairly accurate record of the car's cosmetic condition at pick up. Just doing this will likely prevent any shenanigans from shady operators.
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WinstonTeracina
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by WinstonTeracina »

Duplicate
Last edited by WinstonTeracina on Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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WinstonTeracina
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by WinstonTeracina »

Jags4186 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:21 am
The lesson here is to make sure *you* take pictures before you take possession of a rental vehicle.
This really isn’t feasible all the time, especially for road warriors like myself who have 50+ rentals per year. Most of the time I pick up and drop off my rentals at the airport without even speaking with anyone except the attendant at the exit gate. I’m certainly not going to snap pictures for a few minutes in the dark on a Friday night when I’m trying to catch a flight home. I also wouldn’t take a before/after picture of my hotel room mini bar, even though I’ve had fraudulent after the fact charges before.

Back to the OP’s situation though…..I’ve had this happen twice to me in the past, once for legitimate damage caused by me and the other was not. In the first case, I filed a claim though my Chase Sapphire reserve. Very easy process and they handled everything. In the other case I had received a letter similar to yours that I ignored and made no attempt to follow up or acquire additional information. Just because someone sends me a bill doesn’t mean I’m going to pay or even waste a second thinking about it.
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rtt22
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by rtt22 »

Talk to your car insurance agent. If you have collision insurance, that will probably cover rentals as well. I have collision insurance for my newer car and only liability insurance for the older one. I asked my insurance agent several times in the past about coverage on rental cars and the answer has always been the policy with collision insurance will cover the rental car in case of damage. There is no line on my car insurance bill that lists the cost for this extra "rental coverage".

As an example, from https://www.allstate.com/tr/car-insuran ... rance.aspx
Does My Car Insurance Cover Rental Cars?
If you have a personal car insurance policy, it includes liability coverage and any additional coverage you've opted for, such as comprehensive or collision. That coverage may extend to your rental car, as long as you drive it for personal use. The coverage limits and deductibles on your personal policy also apply to your use of a rental car
Mr.BB
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Mr.BB »

This is why I always take pictures and do a walk around video of the car I am renting before leaving the lot with it.
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ResearchMed
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by ResearchMed »

Drewman wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 10:58 pm Recently we rented a minivan. It had extensive cosmetic damage from previous renter when we picked it up. rental car company noted damages/took pictures during our pickup inspection and we were off. rental was returned on time in same condition it was rented in.

We received a SURPRISE bill in the mail from a 3rd party company, that rental company uses, for over $7,000 in damages!! :x

A 1 page document was included for us to complete and return, providing us an opportunity to pay the $7,000, through our insurance or a credit card. A fax was listed to return the form and a phone number was listed below that.

How would you proceed with this egregious surprise? (it is weighting on me as we are not at fault - just hoping the rental company uncovers the truth).

1) trying to save time do I write on the 1 page document that the vehicle was returned in the same condition it was picked up in and directing them to review the pickup inspection report and pictures?

2) wait till Monday at 8AM ET and call the number and hope for the best?
[emphasis added]

Did YOU also take photos?

If so, that should provide proof.
If you relied upon the rental company to "keep and provide those photos if needed"... um... this could really be a cute scam... and you should definitely report it to the AG's office. And there may already be other similar complaints. It's unlikely that you are the only one IF this is a pattern/scam.

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dukeblue219
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by dukeblue219 »

This has happened to me twice - in both cases a simple phone call to the car rental agency has resolved it. They reviewed the paperwork (and pulled security footage once), agreed with me, and dropped the charges.

It ain't worth spending time with your insurance company and credit card - nevermind immediately filing a lawsuit - until you know theyre serious about this.

IANAL.
Last edited by dukeblue219 on Sun Sep 12, 2021 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by dukeblue219 »

Prahasaurus wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:21 amI took extensive video and pics of the car's condition - with the agent standing by the car in the video - for my own records. With a mobile phone in everyone's pocket now, it literally takes 1-2 minutes to make a fairly accurate record of the car's cosmetic condition at pick up. Just doing this will likely prevent any shenanigans from shady operators.
Not possible at most Airport car rental locations where they assign you a car and you're off. I don't know how likely an employee would be to come to the garage and take photos with me...
rtt22
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by rtt22 »

Prahasaurus wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:21 am I just returned from a 4-week stay where I rented a car. I took extensive video and pics of the car's condition - with the agent standing by the car in the video - for my own records. With a mobile phone in everyone's pocket now, it literally takes 1-2 minutes to make a fairly accurate record of the car's cosmetic condition at pick up. Just doing this will likely prevent any shenanigans from shady operators.
Many years ago there was a story in Consumer Reports of a claim by a rental car company about damage to the OIL PAN, accusing the renter of running over a rock. Will you take pictures of the car's undercarriage? At the end the company withdrew the claim but that shows you need collision insurance in one form or another.
valleyrock
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by valleyrock »

(IANAL). I've successfully handled such things often by writing a polite business letter. Write a letter that includes the relevant documents, saying that there is a mistake, you returned the car in the same condition it was in, and would they please address the matter.

You must have the rental agreement with indications of the previous damage, shown marked on a drawing and/or with comments. Include that and refer to it in the letter.

Now, here's an important part: address the letter to whoever sent the bill, AND cc it to the manager of the agency office where you rented the car, AND to the main office of the rental car company (address it to the president or CEO). Send these all with proof of mailing (i.e., registered/certified mail, and that can include return receipt requested if you like). Now you have a record of having informed them of the mistake in writing, AND each party knows you've let all the other parties know the facts of the matter.

Now, the format of a business letter is very specific, so look that up if need be. And be certain to make it grammatically correct, and with correct spelling. I suppose that goes without saying, but not everyone learns how to write a business letter these days. Photocopy all the letters after signing them, by the way, for your records.

Other comments:
There's nothing to sue about yet because you are not out any money yet. Filing a lawsuit is an expensive proposition.

You might consider going to small claims court later. That might depend on geography and small claims court has a maximum, depending on the state.

It certainly can't hurt to contact your insurance company to document the facts with them, but, if they are competent, they will tell you to push back in writing as above and not advise you to file a claim with them immediately. You can tell them what happened without being obligated to file a claim immediately. In my state you can wait 2 years after the fact to file a car insurance claim.

It's important to relax. Simply documenting the facts in writing with the relevant parties is almost always sufficient to make something like this go away. It's a pain to write it up, but that's life in these United States.

Edit, after reading below:
--The advice from an experienced rental agent is great. You might be able to handle this with a phone call or two. Your car's damage repair might have been "lost" or otherwise mishandled in the shuffle. Giving them a courtesy call (and really, be courteous) might do it. If not, add the details (who, when, what) of the call(s) to the documentation. For every polite call saying there must have been some mistake, they probably get several from people screaming and threatening to sue. Who do you think they'll be most inclined to help?
Last edited by valleyrock on Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Jags4186
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Jags4186 »

WinstonTeracina wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:32 am
Jags4186 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:21 am
The lesson here is to make sure *you* take pictures before you take possession of a rental vehicle.
This really isn’t feasible all the time, especially for road warriors like myself who have 50+ rentals per year. Most of the time I pick up and drop off my rentals at the airport without even speaking with anyone except the attendant at the exit gate. I’m certainly not going to snap pictures for a few minutes in the dark on a Friday night when I’m trying to catch a flight home. I also wouldn’t take a before/after picture of my hotel room mini bar, even though I’ve had fraudulent after the fact charges before.

Correct — but I assume you rent 50+ cars a year for business. And assuming you work for an employer and aren’t self employed, your business has a contract with a rental car company that deals with this. Or at a minimum your business has insurance for this type of thing. When renting for business I’ve brought back cars with cracked windshields and bumper damage and they just take it back without a word.

Now if you’re self employed then I agree it’s a commitment.
seawolf21
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by seawolf21 »

Jags4186 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:21 am Oh and *all* rental car companies are shady, don’t think this is limited to one or two select companies. In fact all those rental counters you see are mostly just different brands of the same two companies.
Never had issues with Tier 1 brands (Hertz/Avis/National) in US/Canada/Germany and I rent about 10 times a year before Covid. Never took pictures myself. Only claims for damages I received were from Germany but they are sticklers at keeping vehicles in near mint condition to begin with regardless of brand/company. That’s 2 claims out of 70 rentals overall. I would not consider that shady.
BobTexas
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by BobTexas »

seawolf21 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 7:18 am
Jags4186 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:21 am Oh and *all* rental car companies are shady, don’t think this is limited to one or two select companies. In fact all those rental counters you see are mostly just different brands of the same two companies.
Never had issues with Tier 1 brands (Hertz/Avis/National) in US/Canada/Germany and I rent about 10 times a year before Covid. Never took pictures myself. Only claims for damages I received were from Germany but they are sticklers at keeping vehicles in near mint condition to begin with regardless of brand/company. That’s 2 claims out of 70 rentals overall. I would not consider that shady.
+1. Curious what rental company this is. My first step would be to go back to the rental company and confirm the preexisting damage from when you rented the car
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PoultryMan
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by PoultryMan »

Worked for a major rental company. This is not terribly uncommon.

1) send certified letter to loss control contact at rental company and cc your insurance agent
2) request copy of accident report for this claim
3) request prior 3 rental contracts and check for damages.
4) after 3 days upon receipt, if they have not waived this claim call vp of rental company for the area. Document.
5) contrary to popular belief, rental companies don’t like to charge people as employees don’t like the confrontation. They DO however re rent damaged cars all the time and documentation almost always clears this up.

Pm me if you like, these are not that hard to resolve.
mgensler
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by mgensler »

Your letter looks fine. I had the same thing happen and I simply called the number on the letter. I asked for proof and within two minutes they came back and said they would waive it as the agency didn't submit any. This was with Avis.
seawolf21
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by seawolf21 »

BobTexas wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 7:34 am
seawolf21 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 7:18 am
Jags4186 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:21 am Oh and *all* rental car companies are shady, don’t think this is limited to one or two select companies. In fact all those rental counters you see are mostly just different brands of the same two companies.
Never had issues with Tier 1 brands (Hertz/Avis/National) in US/Canada/Germany and I rent about 10 times a year before Covid. Never took pictures myself. Only claims for damages I received were from Germany but they are sticklers at keeping vehicles in near mint condition to begin with regardless of brand/company. That’s 2 claims out of 70 rentals overall. I would not consider that shady.
+1. Curious what rental company this is. My first step would be to go back to the rental company and confirm the preexisting damage from when you rented the car
First damage was on my watch (vandalism during overnight street parking) which my credit card paid (Hertz Germany).

Second is fender bender I caused (Hertz Germany) and credit card paid.

There is a 3rd claim but that is with Sixt Germany. It was likely pre-existing but not 100% sure and involved a bent/crack in tire rim on the axle facing side. There is no way anyone can find this damage unless the tires are removed. My guess the tire was examined after my vehicle was returned as I told return agent that the TPMS came on twice in 3 days. I had to pump air in the same tire twice. Sixt drop the claim after I informed them there was no way I (or anybody else) could have reported this as a pre-existing without removing the wheel at pickup nor was it reasonable to expect a renter to attempt to do so. Lol.

Was it shady Sixt sent a claim for this? Hard to say. The mechanics are just doing their job by reporting all damages found and the claims department just blindly sends out demands for payment without looking closely at the photos. I only spotted that the photos documented a crack on the axle side after closely examining the damage from the various photos provided.
Inframan4712
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Inframan4712 »

Drewman wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:10 am
brian91480 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:49 am
Drewman wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:18 pm
Raycpact wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:14 pm There is a short time to report claims on CC , check the terms. You might need to report it before it is resolved.

On my car insurance, I would contact my agent before contacting rental company and ask for guidance.
There is no claim to report, no damage was done to the vehicle during our rental.
This isn't about ego... right vs wrong... or anything else.
Your sole priority right now is to protect yourself so you don't lose $7,000.

Pick up the phone, call your insurance agent, and do whatever they say to do. Hopefully you won't have to do anything else after the call, and your agent will do the rest of the work.
Thank you Brian - I am not sure what my car insurance covers in regards to a rental, I will have to check. I have always booked with Chase Visa Signature and here is the wording from them:

Provides reimbursement for damage due to collision or theft for most rental vehicles when traveling within the U.S. and abroad.

Within your country of residence coverage is secondary when renting for personal reasons and supplements any valid and collectible insurance or reimbursement from any source. Outside your country of residence you do not have to claim payment from any other source of insurance before receiving coverage under this benefit
Initiate and complete the entire rental transaction using the covered Chase card and decline the rental company's collision damage waiver or loss damage waiver


I see Visa does require this to go through my insurance first. I'm going to reach out to Chase Visa Signature - maybe they will shut this down as they may have more skin in the game than my automobile insurer.


I'll post an update as this progresses. Lots of good wisdom here!
-Andrew
"I see Visa does require this to go through my insurance first. I'm going to reach out to Chase Visa."

These 2 sentences do not compute. Call. Your. Insurance. Agent. What is your reluctance to call the company that you pay to protect you?
Jags4186
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Jags4186 »

Inframan4712 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:19 am
"I see Visa does require this to go through my insurance first. I'm going to reach out to Chase Visa."

These 2 sentences do not compute. Call. Your. Insurance. Agent. What is your reluctance to call the company that you pay to protect you?
He doesn’t want to file an insurance claim and find his premiums go up. That is the reluctance…
shunkman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by shunkman »

We had the opposite experience. We returned a rental car at the airport once in the early morning while it was still dark out. We returned the car with a rather large chip in the windshield. We were expecting to get billed for this but we never did.
02nz
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by 02nz »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:19 pm This is an interesting question, because it brings up the possibility that the rental company can claim damage after the time allowed to be reimbursed by your credit card or even a third-party trip insurance product has expired. I'm not sure whether there's a time limit on your own insurance. Obviously many of us don't even have insurance that would cover damage to a rental car - or our own car for that matter. So I'd say skip contacting the insurance agent if your policy wouldn't cover the situation. Also I don't think a credit card or trip insurance, or maybe even your own insurance, will reimburse for damage you're billed for, but that you claim didn't occur while the vehicle was in your possession.

I don't know how you'd prevent this problem going forward. You could photograph the vehicle upon return, but it's not that difficult to change exif data, etc. so the rental company could claim the photograph didn't prove anything. In theory you have the rental company acknowledge the condition of the returned vehicle, but you'd never get any of the employees to agree to do that.
I picked up a rental car a few years ago (outside the US) that had damage. I took pictures and sent it by email to the employee at the counter. Upon return they tried to claim I caused the damage, I simply forwarded the earlier email and it took care of that. Another way is to keep a copy of the slip provided at pickup that notes any existing damage. Check that carefully to make sure any damage is noted.
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Drewman
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Drewman »

This is with Avis.

I did not take photos myself. Wife and I watched the guy but that was it - we trusted them...never had any issues in the past.

Reluctant to go with insurance as never worked with them, I have worked with Chase several times with fraudulent charges they have caught on my credit card and they call issue me a new card and correct things immediately.


Well I spoke with Chase - they said I am covered, they said to respond to the Avis letter and to open a claim with Chase. He said Avis should review pre-inspection documents, see there was no issue and I then can cancel the Chase claim.
02nz
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by 02nz »

Drewman wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:00 am This is with Avis.

I did not take photos myself. Wife and I watched the guy but that was it - we trusted them...never had any issues in the past.
They didn't give you a paper documenting the pre-existing damage? Always insist on that.
Inframan4712
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Re: surprise $7000 rental car damage bill

Post by Inframan4712 »

Jags4186 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:37 am
Inframan4712 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:19 am
"I see Visa does require this to go through my insurance first. I'm going to reach out to Chase Visa."

These 2 sentences do not compute. Call. Your. Insurance. Agent. What is your reluctance to call the company that you pay to protect you?
He doesn’t want to file an insurance claim and find his premiums go up. That is the reluctance…
There is no need to file a claim. Call the agent, not the Claims department. The agent can give him advice.
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