Rental Car Damage Issue

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oaks
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Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by oaks » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:05 pm

BH friends,

I rented a car for 24 hours while on vacation. In the 24 hours it was in my hotel parking lot (key pass required and enclosed) or I was driving it. It was parked one time for around 5 minutes grabbing lunch to go but the parking spot I got was at the end of a row so I always hug the curb when parking at the end to prevent door dings.

The car was dropped off 6 days ago. This morning I got an email from a 3rd party claims company representing the rental car company (a top household rental car company brand in the US). There was no information about the damage or anything other than "a claim has been given to us to resolve, get estimates and ultimately bill you for the damages which you can submit to your insurance or pay out of pocket." No pictures, no narrative, nothing. I called but they aren't open on weekends.

I called the rental car company direct and they said that the reservation shows damage upon return and no other information. No pictures, no location of damage, etc.

This is so ridiculous. I completely understand that it is possible that something occurred while I was driving (rock chip on windshield for example) but that could have very easily been there when I picked the vehicle up. Basically anything that I get accused of, assuming it is minor, could have been there when I picked up the vehicle.

So how does one defend themselves in the situation I am in? I did the traditional walk around the vehicle and it wasn't perfect but there wasn't anything I or the checkout attendant considered to be damage. Soooo aggravating. I am more than happy to take responsibility for damage I caused, but it doesn't feel right paying for something that they can't prove was me but at the same time I can't prove it wasn't me.

What would you do or have you been in this situation before? Who has the burden of proof?

Carl53
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Carl53 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:11 pm

When I occasionally rent a car, I usually take photos of all damage I spot upon pick up, and if anything more than a tiny scratch, bring it to the attention of the rental agent, letting them know I have taken photos. Take photos again at return.

Not sure that you can protect yourself in your after the fact case.

TravelGeek
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:15 pm

Where was this?

Did the agent processing the return do a walk-around and sign off on the return without pointing out any damage? If so, depending on what you hear back I would likely dispute the claim and - if needed - dispute any charges they put on your credit card.

moehoward
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by moehoward » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:21 pm

oaks wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:05 pm
BH friends,

I rented a car for 24 hours while on vacation. In the 24 hours it was in my hotel parking lot (key pass required and enclosed) or I was driving it. It was parked one time for around 5 minutes grabbing lunch to go but the parking spot I got was at the end of a row so I always hug the curb when parking at the end to prevent door dings.

The car was dropped off 6 days ago. This morning I got an email from a 3rd party claims company representing the rental car company (a top household rental car company brand in the US). There was no information about the damage or anything other than "a claim has been given to us to resolve, get estimates and ultimately bill you for the damages which you can submit to your insurance or pay out of pocket." No pictures, no narrative, nothing. I called but they aren't open on weekends.

I called the rental car company direct and they said that the reservation shows damage upon return and no other information. No pictures, no location of damage, etc.

This is so ridiculous. I completely understand that it is possible that something occurred while I was driving (rock chip on windshield for example) but that could have very easily been there when I picked the vehicle up. Basically anything that I get accused of, assuming it is minor, could have been there when I picked up the vehicle.

So how does one defend themselves in the situation I am in? I did the traditional walk around the vehicle and it wasn't perfect but there wasn't anything I or the checkout attendant considered to be damage. Soooo aggravating. I am more than happy to take responsibility for damage I caused, but it doesn't feel right paying for something that they can't prove was me but at the same time I can't prove it wasn't me.

What would you do or have you been in this situation before? Who has the burden of proof?
I had this happen to me about 1 week after I rented a car. Person on phone said, there was a chip on the windshield. I was on company business but I was really mad because I thought and still do, it was a scam. My company paid it against my wishes but it was the principle of whole thing. I'm a little more careful with rented cars now but I still think it could happen again.

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DWesterb2iz2
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by DWesterb2iz2 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:27 pm

One of the things I like about Hotwire rentals is the collision damage waver is $9.00/day. I’ve been renting that way for this past year and it’s been great. There are downsides to Hotwire, but I really like getting a CDW, and that price is right.

anonenigma
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by anonenigma » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:32 pm

You said it was a third party claim, so damage to someone else's car or property...

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LadyGeek
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:36 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (damage claim).
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testing321
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by testing321 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:39 pm

I have never had such a claim on a rental car, but I always take pictures and/or a video before and after just in case.

quantAndHold
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:44 pm

When I got hit by a drunk driver while I was driving a rental car, the rental company sent me pictures. I would assume that they have pictures, and could send them on request. Since you don’t say, I assume your own car insurance is on the hook for this. Call them and let them handle it. That’s what they’re for.

I discovered when I had he accident that what you sign when you rent the car basically says that if the car is damaged, they can do whatever the heck they want and you have no say in the matter. So when my rental car had $1000 damage and a blue book of $4000, Alamo decided to total it and charge my insurance the full $4000. It felt like a scam. My insurance balked, and I spent six months getting increasingly threatening letters from Alamo before my insurance caved and paid. I never rented from Alamo again.

willyd123
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by willyd123 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:55 pm

Hello -

I assume you didn't book it through your employer? If so, you should talk with the person who manages travel. Many times these large employers have agreements with their preferred rental car company where the rental car company will disregard a certain number of instances like these per year.

j0nnyg1984
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:57 pm

if there was no note of damage when your rental contract was closed, I'd tell them to stuff themselves. You have clear proof of rental return with no extras noted.

I recently returned my Avis rental in Frankfurt. They immediately noticed a door ding that was not on my original contract, and even though I did notice it as I picked up the vehicle, my ~20 hours of travel made me neglectful, and I didn't report it. Avis charged me 400 euro for the ding, and despite my high level status and ~$25k annual spending, they wouldn't budge on the charges. I fought with Visa rental car insurance coverage for over two months but finally received a check for the damages last week. I'll never rent Avis / Budget again, btw.

student
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by student » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:59 pm

This is horrible. When I rent a car, I usually buy their insurance to avoid the hassle. I know it is not a financially optimal thing to do.

killjoy2012
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by killjoy2012 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:06 pm

I've never had an issue with returning rentals in the US. In Europe on the other hand, I've learned the hard way that you need to take detailed pictures at the rental lot before driving off showing all damage and with the rental lot background in the pictures. This has saved me twice in the last 10 years. Hertz in the UK/Europe is notorious for offering low priced rentals, and then gouging for 'damage' on returns. Just the way it is...

mouses
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by mouses » Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:38 pm

OP,

Which company was this?

I rent cars quite a bit, but my AMICA insurance covers rental cars, so I never have to worry.

This does make me realize I don't know how the walk arounds saying no damage wind up documented. I will ask about that next time.

Spirit Rider
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Spirit Rider » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:54 pm

j0nnyg1984 wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:57 pm
if there was no note of damage when your rental contract was closed, I'd tell them to stuff themselves. You have clear proof of rental return with no extras noted.
At most airports, car rental return is a high volume operation that may or may not even check the fuel gauge. Fuel check and damage assessment will not happen until next rental prep.

Sometimes it is not even done until the next renter to identify the damage. If they don't identify it, they now own the damage. This is why you always take pictures at pickup and dropoff even if it irritates the return attendant, especially when I take their picture next to the car. The date, time, GPS tags and attendant document the return status.

pdavi21
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by pdavi21 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:01 pm

Don't pay. If the damage was minor, they'll have no incentive to waste time on it. If the damage was major, it wasn't your fault.

Even if they turn it over to collections, it's not going to hurt your credit if the credit bureaus believe you over them.

Assuming you don't have pictures, your proof will be:
1. Ask for pictures from them
2. Send a written note (make a copy) (email if possible) stating your are not responsible for damage.
3. File a complaint with your state's Auto insurance regulatory authority.
4. Leave negative reviews about the service online and submit complaints to the BBB or whoever else.
5. Check to see if your credit card or auto insurance policy covers rental car damage.

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Nicolas
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Nicolas » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:16 pm

DWesterb2iz2 wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:27 pm
One of the things I like about Hotwire rentals is the collision damage waver is $9.00/day. I’ve been renting that way for this past year and it’s been great. There are downsides to Hotwire, but I really like getting a CDW, and that price is right.
I pay $19.95 for car rental property damage coverage from American Express. This isn’t per day, it’s per rental. If I rent a car for a month it’s still just $19.95. This is for $70K of coverage. You can get $100K of coverage for $24.95 also but I don’t rent cars in that price range. This is primary insurance.
If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. — Katharine Hepburn

neilpilot
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by neilpilot » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:24 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:16 pm
DWesterb2iz2 wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:27 pm
One of the things I like about Hotwire rentals is the collision damage waver is $9.00/day. I’ve been renting that way for this past year and it’s been great. There are downsides to Hotwire, but I really like getting a CDW, and that price is right.
I pay $19.95 for car rental property damage coverage from American Express. This isn’t per day, it’s per rental. If I rent a car for a month it’s still just $19.95. This is for $70K of coverage. You can get $100K of coverage for $24.95 also but I don’t rent cars in that price range. This is primary insurance.
While some AMEX cards my offer different coverage, when I rent in the USA using my AMEX card and decline CDW they include coverage up to $50k with no additional payment to AMEX. Other than the higher $70k limit, is there an additional advantage to paying AMEX the $19.95?

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Nicolas
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Nicolas » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:31 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:24 pm
Nicolas wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:16 pm
DWesterb2iz2 wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:27 pm
One of the things I like about Hotwire rentals is the collision damage waver is $9.00/day. I’ve been renting that way for this past year and it’s been great. There are downsides to Hotwire, but I really like getting a CDW, and that price is right.
I pay $19.95 for car rental property damage coverage from American Express. This isn’t per day, it’s per rental. If I rent a car for a month it’s still just $19.95. This is for $70K of coverage. You can get $100K of coverage for $24.95 also but I don’t rent cars in that price range. This is primary insurance.
While some AMEX cards my offer different coverage, when I rent in the USA using my AMEX card and decline CDW they include coverage up to $50k with no additional payment to AMEX. Other than the higher $70k limit, is there an additional advantage to paying AMEX the $19.95?
I don’t believe I have such coverage with my Amex card. Mine is a basic Hilton Honors Amex card, no annual fee. So I buy the $70K coverage, actually since I signed up for it, it’s automatically applied anytime I rent a car, and it’s effective worldwide with the exception of five or six countries. Is your coverage primary or secondary?
If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. — Katharine Hepburn

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8foot7
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by 8foot7 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:46 pm

Would not pay a dime until there were photos and some sor of evidence the damage happened while I had the vehicle and not before. That’s probably impossible so I’d be fighting until the end. (If the damage does end up being yours, then you should pay, of course. )

I will say typically if you fight back long enough these types of nuisance bills go away, because somebody with some authority decides it’s become too expensive to continue fighting. Time Warner Cable and I had one of those fights. I suspect this will be one for you.

vested1
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by vested1 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:54 pm

My last rental entailed picking up the car in their lot with no attendant, and returning it the same way. In both instances there was only one person at the counter with no other employee working so they couldn't leave the counter. This was Budget/Alamo at the airport. I took pictures before and after and was surprised to see a $100 charge on my credit card the day after I returned the car, which they never mentioned.

When I called they said the $100 was charged in case there was damage and that it would be credited if they found none. In my opinion this policy puts the onus on the customer, and requires you to trust them, simply because they refuse to hire a sufficient number of employees. I have full coverage on our vehicles through AAA and they advise not to buy the rental insurance. I would never rent a car without taking time stamped pictures before and after to document the condition of the car.

The person at the counter told me that proof in the form of time/date stamped pictures was sufficient, so I guess they've been through this many times before.

Spirit Rider
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Spirit Rider » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:27 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:24 pm
While some AMEX cards my offer different coverage, when I rent in the USA using my AMEX card and decline CDW they include coverage up to $50k with no additional payment to AMEX. Other than the higher $70k limit, is there an additional advantage to paying AMEX the $19.95?
The standard AMEX CDW coverage is like most CCs and is secondary coverage. You file a claim through your auto insurance company. They pay minus your applicable deductible. They may or may not pay for loss of use. The CC secondary coverage pays the deductible and may or may not pay for loss of use

The AMEX coverage available for an additional one time charge/rental is primary coverage. You never contact your auto insurance company to file a claim. It is covered entirely by this additional AMEX coverage. Some higher tier CCs always provide primary coverage at no additional charge.

j0nnyg1984
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:36 pm

Spirit Rider wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:54 pm
j0nnyg1984 wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:57 pm
if there was no note of damage when your rental contract was closed, I'd tell them to stuff themselves. You have clear proof of rental return with no extras noted.
At most airports, car rental return is a high volume operation that may or may not even check the fuel gauge. Fuel check and damage assessment will not happen until next rental prep.

Sometimes it is not even done until the next renter to identify the damage. If they don't identify it, they now own the damage. This is why you always take pictures at pickup and dropoff even if it irritates the return attendant, especially when I take their picture next to the car. The date, time, GPS tags and attendant document the return status.
Sorry, but this just isn't the case in my experience of flying roughly 110 - 140k miles a year for the last 6 years. The ONLY airports that I've had that experience is the tiny regional airport, when I'm returning before or after hours. At any major airport, the Avis employee always checks the vehicle, and I'm issued a receipt before I walk away.

Spirit Rider
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Spirit Rider » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:54 pm

j0nnyg1984 wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:36 pm
Sorry, but this just isn't the case in my experience of flying roughly 110 - 140k miles a year for the last 6 years. The ONLY airports that I've had that experience is the tiny regional airport, when I'm returning before or after hours. At any major airport, the Avis employee always checks the vehicle, and I'm issued a receipt before I walk away.
You must live a charmed life.

I just dropped off an Avis car rental with my youngest the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The agent in the car rental return line just checked the fuel gauge, mileage, issued the receipt and moved on to the next car. We observed her do several cars in front of us without ever walking around the cars before moving on to the next one.

I travelled on business once a month for years, this is my experience the majority of time at all the rental companies even at regional airports.

Nissanzx1
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Nissanzx1 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:56 pm

Do you have your drop off receipt with settlement charges? If so, charge back any other charges with your credit card issuer that aren't on the final settlement receipt. Keep hard copies of any interactions you have regarding this claim. This type of thing gets sold to debt collections pretty quickly...

I worked for Enterprise in car rental for 10 years. While the company wasn't perfect, this type of thing was rare. They are so worried about their customer service scoring, most of the time we just let people get away with small damage. Large dents and glass breakage we HAD to report to corporate and cease rental until the vehicle was repaired. If we didn't open the claim upon return of vehicle our vehicle repair department had a very hard time getting damages proven/paid for.

We don't rent cars unless we have to. Always a huge pain and waste of time. Plus I did it long enough and I don't care to see the misery of the employees (awful awful industry for the hourly worker).

TravelGeek
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:35 pm

Spirit Rider wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:54 pm
You must live a charmed life.

I just dropped off an Avis car rental with my youngest the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The agent in the car rental return line just checked the fuel gauge, mileage, issued the receipt and moved on to the next car. We observed her do several cars in front of us without ever walking around the cars before moving on to the next one.

I travelled on business once a month for years, this is my experience the majority of time at all the rental companies even at regional airports.
That kind of minimal inspection is fairly standard at many US airport stations. It is also very common that US rentals are covered with dings and scratches. No one really seems to care or track them. Maybe it is different for higher end luxury vehicles, but I don’t rent those. European rental cars tend to be in much better shape; it’s rare that I find much damage during my pickup inspection.

However, it is not my fault if they don’t staff the stations such that any damage can be determined at return time. I would simply not accept responsibility for damage “found” later (especially a week later) - how do I know that it wasn’t one of their employees doing the damage while racing the car to the wash station?

Having photographic and video evidence of the vehicle at pickup and return time should be sufficient to shut down any such claim. If OP doesn’t have photos, they could bluff and ask for photos of the alleged damage so they can “reconcile it with photos taken during pickup and return.”

letsgobobby
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:38 pm

oaks wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:05 pm
BH friends,

I rented a car for 24 hours while on vacation. In the 24 hours it was in my hotel parking lot (key pass required and enclosed) or I was driving it. It was parked one time for around 5 minutes grabbing lunch to go but the parking spot I got was at the end of a row so I always hug the curb when parking at the end to prevent door dings.

The car was dropped off 6 days ago. This morning I got an email from a 3rd party claims company representing the rental car company (a top household rental car company brand in the US). There was no information about the damage or anything other than "a claim has been given to us to resolve, get estimates and ultimately bill you for the damages which you can submit to your insurance or pay out of pocket." No pictures, no narrative, nothing. I called but they aren't open on weekends.

I called the rental car company direct and they said that the reservation shows damage upon return and no other information. No pictures, no location of damage, etc.

This is so ridiculous. I completely understand that it is possible that something occurred while I was driving (rock chip on windshield for example) but that could have very easily been there when I picked the vehicle up. Basically anything that I get accused of, assuming it is minor, could have been there when I picked up the vehicle.

So how does one defend themselves in the situation I am in? I did the traditional walk around the vehicle and it wasn't perfect but there wasn't anything I or the checkout attendant considered to be damage. Soooo aggravating. I am more than happy to take responsibility for damage I caused, but it doesn't feel right paying for something that they can't prove was me but at the same time I can't prove it wasn't me.

What would you do or have you been in this situation before? Who has the burden of proof?
Not going to help you this time, but I always take a video of the entire vehicle whenever I pick up a rental. I keep it for three months.

criticalmass
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by criticalmass » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:49 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:24 pm
Nicolas wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:16 pm
DWesterb2iz2 wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:27 pm
One of the things I like about Hotwire rentals is the collision damage waver is $9.00/day. I’ve been renting that way for this past year and it’s been great. There are downsides to Hotwire, but I really like getting a CDW, and that price is right.
I pay $19.95 for car rental property damage coverage from American Express. This isn’t per day, it’s per rental. If I rent a car for a month it’s still just $19.95. This is for $70K of coverage. You can get $100K of coverage for $24.95 also but I don’t rent cars in that price range. This is primary insurance.
While some AMEX cards my offer different coverage, when I rent in the USA using my AMEX card and decline CDW they include coverage up to $50k with no additional payment to AMEX. Other than the higher $70k limit, is there an additional advantage to paying AMEX the $19.95?
Are you comparing the free default CDW with the Amex Premium Car Rental Protection?

The latter offers superior benefits and is primary insurance, so your own auto insurance need never get involved with any claims on your rental vehicle. It also provides medical coverage, plus accidental death and dismemberment for rental vehicle occupants.

Premium costs only $12.25 per rental period (42 day max) in Florida for $75,000 coverage. $100,000 coverage is slightly higher, and the overall prices vary depending on the billing address state.

Starfish
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Starfish » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:00 am

Always pictures and video including under the car and inside the car.
9.00$ per day for CDW it's not a good deal. It could worse, but is still bad.
I use now my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, has primary insurance included. It the past I used to buy the Amex CDW for 15-20$ (it was mentioned above).

criticalmass
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by criticalmass » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:04 am

Spirit Rider wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:54 pm
j0nnyg1984 wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:57 pm
if there was no note of damage when your rental contract was closed, I'd tell them to stuff themselves. You have clear proof of rental return with no extras noted.
At most airports, car rental return is a high volume operation that may or may not even check the fuel gauge. Fuel check and damage assessment will not happen until next rental prep.

Sometimes it is not even done until the next renter to identify the damage. If they don't identify it, they now own the damage. This is why you always take pictures at pickup and dropoff even if it irritates the return attendant, especially when I take their picture next to the car. The date, time, GPS tags and attendant document the return status.
At busy airport locations within USA, the check-in folks generally note only the barcode scan, fuel quantity, mileage, and if the car has four wheels and a windshield.

At off airport locations (may be independently operated) for major companies (e.g. Avis/Budget, Hertz/Thrifty, etc.) are much more picky when cars are both signed out and returned.

Taking a photo is very important, but always ensure that you check for damage before leaving, and get it documented before leaving. The documentation trumps photos. (Who is to say that your photo was taken when you left versus when you arrived?) Local locations often send a guy around with a clipboard to inspect in front of you before you get the keys. Large airport locations generally never do this.

All locations in Europe and elsewhere OCONUS behave like the strictest small locations inside USA. Use caution.

For the OP, you may or may not receive additional information in the mail. I would send them a letter stating that you received the claim for damage, but the documentation you've received doesn't provide any evidence that any damage to the car was caused by your or your responsibility. I wouldn't worry about a thing in the meantime. Besides, even if there is damage, it could have occurred in their care after the car was checked in by their representative. Did you hand the car to a human (better), or drop it off unattended (less better)?
Last edited by criticalmass on Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

wootwoot
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by wootwoot » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:09 am

Chase Sapphire Reserve provides primary insurance coverage for free. OP if you used this card from your rental they may be able to help out.

Spirit Rider
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Spirit Rider » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:43 am

criticalmass wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:04 am
(Who is to say that your photo was taken when you left versus when you arrived?)
I'm surprised you don't know this.

The EXIF (EXchangeable Image file Format) has been in existence for 20 years. The date and time is recorded in the image file.

Also, almost any smartphone in the last ten years has a built-in GPS and records the geolation in that same file.

So the image file with date, time and geolocation will clearly establish which photos were taken after pick-up and which photos were taken prior to drop-off.

steadyhand
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by steadyhand » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:51 am

Had a similar issue where a dent was shown at the end of the rental that we had no clue about and a deposit was taken and we directed to a third party claims company. We asked for proof of cost of damages and repair and previous rental agreement so we know dent was not from previous repair. Did not hear anything back for 2 months and I was getting frustrated for having paid a deposit with no evidence shown saying it was our fault. I sent a formal written email to rental company (Enterprise) corporate HQ stating the facts and inaction. Our deposit was refunded over the next week and all charges dropped.

My feeling is that they are trying their luck to see what they can get. If you feel it wasn't your fault, go ahead and write a formal letter and hint at takijg this the legal route in addition to them losing a customer for life. Good luck!

TravelGeek
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:54 am

Spirit Rider wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:43 am
criticalmass wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:04 am
(Who is to say that your photo was taken when you left versus when you arrived?)
I'm surprised you don't know this.

The EXIF (EXchangeable Image file Format) has been in existence for 20 years. The date and time is recorded in the image file.

Also, almost any smartphone in the last ten years has a built-in GPS and records the geolation in that same file.

So the image file with date, time and geolocation will clearly establish which photos were taken after pick-up and which photos were taken prior to drop-off.

I don’t think EXIF data is immutable. Better to (also) take the pre- and post rental photos or videos with sufficient background that the location can be determined simply by looking at the picture.

criticalmass
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by criticalmass » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:18 am

Spirit Rider wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:43 am
criticalmass wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:04 am
(Who is to say that your photo was taken when you left versus when you arrived?)
I'm surprised you don't know this.

The EXIF (EXchangeable Image file Format) has been in existence for 20 years. The date and time is recorded in the image file.

Also, almost any smartphone in the last ten years has a built-in GPS and records the geolation in that same file.

So the image file with date, time and geolocation will clearly establish which photos were taken after pick-up and which photos were taken prior to drop-off.
I'm glad that you understand a little about EXIF. However, (Surprise!) it is not magic; it merely holds whatever date has been encoded on it. Anyone who can create a file with EXIF can create a file with EXIF that contains whatever data they want it to. Just as anyone an date a letter with an arbitrary date at the top, one can do the same with a photo file containing EXIF.

And good luck getting GPS geolocation services to work deep in a rental parking garage before you leave. It would be easier to enter some "geolocation" data of your choice in the EXIF information block later at your convenience.

Starfish
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Starfish » Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:33 am

This is between you and the insurance/credit card company, not between you and rental company.

Spirit Rider
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Spirit Rider » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:16 am

@criticalmass

I know more than a little about EXIF and clearly more than you. I have been involved in digital imaging for more than thirty years of my 40+ year career and hold several patents. I have sat on standards committees. I have architected, designed and developed EXIF loading, storing and viewing software

Yes, visable EXIF data can be changed, but there can be crypto based forensic tags embedded that can detect those changes. Even without that analysis, EXIF has been used in courtrooms as best available evidence successfully.

Geolocation works just fine for this purpose. Sure as you lose satellites it degrades accuracy. That is not critical for this purpose. When date and time data establishes proximity for the photos.

Any rental car company will and has folded with any photo evidence contrary to their false claims that you caused the damage

ponyboy
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by ponyboy » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:49 am

Last rental car I booked...I backed into a metal sign and smashed the tail light. Dropped off at the airport early morning, never heard back...that was around a year ago, lol. Got lucky.

bob60014
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by bob60014 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:24 am

When I take pictures when returning a rental, I make sure the check in agent, w/face identifiable, is in at least one if them. Luckily I've never had to use them.

carolinaman
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by carolinaman » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:20 am

I have rental coverage on my auto policy which only costs a few dollars every 6 months. Fortunately, I have never had to use it.

I use to travel in my work and only had problem one time. I returned vehicle to Newark airport and there was slight damage below driver side door. I was clueless when or how that happened but my work always insisted on getting insurance with rental which paid off that one time.

I rented a car from Hertz a few years ago for a trip. I scraped the front fender pretty bad and was sure this would be a problem. I told the agent about it upon my return. He looked at it and said that it was not a problem. I was amazed and appreciative to him and Hertz. Had it been my car, I would have insisted upon getting it repaired.

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snackdog
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by snackdog » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:54 am

I've smashed a few rental cars, even severed a front axel in one (spring break antics...). My insurance company always took care of it so there was no hassle from the rental place whatsoever.

I would tell your rental company the car was fine when you returned it and the damage must have occurred in their custody after the return. See if they can prove you did it.

Katietsu
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Katietsu » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:29 am

Have had two incidents with Hertz. In both cases, they supplied a report complete with an estimate from an independent body shop and with multiple photos of the damage. This was after I had already completed a full incident report to Hertz and taken my own photos. I would hope there would be some follow up here.

Also, in both cases the original loss of use request was dropped after they chose not to supply the fleet utilization records.

Old Goat
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Old Goat » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:51 am

Similar situation happened to me in August 2018. Rented from Alamo, paid with Chase CC to have their coverage. When I returned the car to the airport (Montana pickup and drop off same location) there was no agent to inspect the car. It was NOT damaged when I dropped it off.

Several weeks later I received a letter via USPS from a third party claiming damage as you described in your post, no specifics. I called Chase prior to contacting this third party and Chase confirmed that the third party was a regular company that they deal with and that it would be fine to contact them. When I made contact, I was told that the windshield was damaged and that I would be responsible for it. Furthermore I was told just to submit the claim to Chase and they would handle it. My frustration was that I knew I had NOT damaged that windshield. Since I had not taken any photos when I dropped it off, I thought Chase would end up paying but I still denied any damage.

I started the paperwork required by Chase (who confirmed they would pay) and awaited further proof of damage from either Alamo or the third party company. Neither ended up providing any proof, no pictures, no report. Maybe a month later I received another letter from the third party company stating that the case was closed, no claim paid. So ultimately it did not cost Chase or I anything, but it was still frustrating that it was even an issue.

I can not remember the name of the third party without looking through the paperwork but I think they were out of California.

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vitaflo
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by vitaflo » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:27 am

Hate to say it, but what solved my case was complaining to the rental car company on Twitter. I was getting nowhere until I did this. Their social media reps got in contact with the Regional Manager of my Metro area and the next day I got a call from him. Told my story, he believed me, and he dropped the claim. I then deleted the Tweet.

I wish I didn't have to shame a company publicly to get them to do what they should have done in the first place, but they must be so worried about bad publicity that they're willing to actually listen if you're loud enough on the internet. Though part of me feels I just got lucky. The Regional Manager said I wasn't the first person he's talked to who tried to get out of a claim but that it was obvious I was telling the truth. How he knew that I don't know (maybe because I wasn't yelling and swearing?), so YMMV.

tibbitts
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by tibbitts » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:29 am

quantAndHold wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:44 pm
When I got hit by a drunk driver while I was driving a rental car, the rental company sent me pictures. I would assume that they have pictures, and could send them on request. Since you don’t say, I assume your own car insurance is on the hook for this. Call them and let them handle it. That’s what they’re for.

I discovered when I had he accident that what you sign when you rent the car basically says that if the car is damaged, they can do whatever the heck they want and you have no say in the matter. So when my rental car had $1000 damage and a blue book of $4000, Alamo decided to total it and charge my insurance the full $4000. It felt like a scam. My insurance balked, and I spent six months getting increasingly threatening letters from Alamo before my insurance caved and paid. I never rented from Alamo again.
When was this, 1974? I'm trying to think of the last time Alamo rented a car with a $4000 blue book (Alamo started in 1974.)

But I agree that to a large extent you are at the mercy of the rental company. They could have charged you for the $1000 damage and then $3000 in loss of use.

letsgobobby
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:30 pm

I was charged with $600 damage to a rental car in Hawaii. Upon request "Viking", to whom the rental agency had outsourced the claims process, sent me 23 pages of photos and documentation regarding the purported damage to the front bumper. I just sent them a photocopy of the little manila cardboard tag you fill out when you inspect your vehicle on pickup, showing I had noted front bumper damage at pick up. They sent back a letter saying issue resolved. Didn't even have to send a photo or video, but I had them, just in case. I had rented with a CSR so I was covered in any case.

tibbitts
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by tibbitts » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:42 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:30 pm
I was charged with $600 damage to a rental car in Hawaii. Upon request "Viking", to whom the rental agency had outsourced the claims process, sent me 23 pages of photos and documentation regarding the purported damage to the front bumper. I just sent them a photocopy of the little manila cardboard tag you fill out when you inspect your vehicle on pickup, showing I had noted front bumper damage at pick up. They sent back a letter saying issue resolved. Didn't even have to send a photo or video, but I had them, just in case. I had rented with a CSR so I was covered in any case.
It was good that you noticed the damage, but sometimes it's difficult to notice all the damage when you pick up the car - it's dark, it's raining, maybe the car is partly snow-covered.

z0r
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by z0r » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:09 pm

Spirit Rider wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:16 am
@criticalmass

I know more than a little about EXIF and clearly more than you. I have been involved in digital imaging for more than thirty years of my 40+ year career and hold several patents. I have sat on standards committees. I have architected, designed and developed EXIF loading, storing and viewing software

Yes, visable EXIF data can be changed, but there can be crypto based forensic tags embedded that can detect those changes. Even without that analysis, EXIF has been used in courtrooms as best available evidence successfully.

Geolocation works just fine for this purpose. Sure as you lose satellites it degrades accuracy. That is not critical for this purpose. When date and time data establishes proximity for the photos.

Any rental car company will and has folded with any photo evidence contrary to their false claims that you caused the damage
everything about an image can be faked, including all exif data. the only crypto aspect that would help would be a 3rd party timestamping signature which could prove that the image was taken at some time based on trusting the 3rd party, and this isn't an exif feature

tibbitts
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by tibbitts » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:29 pm

carolinaman wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:20 am
I have rental coverage on my auto policy which only costs a few dollars every 6 months. Fortunately, I have never had to use it.

I use to travel in my work and only had problem one time. I returned vehicle to Newark airport and there was slight damage below driver side door. I was clueless when or how that happened but my work always insisted on getting insurance with rental which paid off that one time.

I rented a car from Hertz a few years ago for a trip. I scraped the front fender pretty bad and was sure this would be a problem. I told the agent about it upon my return. He looked at it and said that it was not a problem. I was amazed and appreciative to him and Hertz. Had it been my car, I would have insisted upon getting it repaired.
You have full value coverage for a few dollars a month? Loss of use? No deductible?

Spirit Rider
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Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

Post by Spirit Rider » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:31 pm

z0r wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:09 pm
everything about an image can be faked, including all exif data. the only crypto aspect that would help would be a 3rd party timestamping signature which could prove that the image was taken at some time based on trusting the 3rd party, and this isn't an exif feature
Nope, try again.

Certain digital camera and cellphone manufacturers embed crypto forensic data that can be used to determine if there has been any modification to certain tags including DateTimeOriginal and GPSInfo.

Not to mention that there is a whole field of Metadata Forensics.

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