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Buchbinder and Thrifty’s Car Rental Terror!!

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Renters beware of Travelers Scam. I am an avid traveler and have rented cars in multiple countries and I have run into a nightmare with these affiliated companies. I booked my car while I was still in Canada through Thrifty’s and when I arrived in Berlin the rental was through an affiliated rental agency, Buchbinder, this happens all the time so I didn’t think to much of it.

I arrived in Berlin, Germany late April 12, 2014, to find that the company did not have the car type that I had requested (not a big deal, I just needed a car for the week), so we did up the paper work and I was rushed out the door and told my car would be on the 3rd level of the parking garage and to have a good night. I did a walk around that night not seeing any significant damages, a few scratches and scrapes but nothing out of the ordinary for a rental car (lesson learned to take close ups of every angle of the car and have them uploaded to the company). The week with the car was awesome, it ran perfectly, there were no incidents and everything went off without a hitch, that is until the return. I returned the car in Munich on April 19, 2014, only to be told that I had cracked a fog light, I truly don’t believe that I had damaged the car, but there was no way to prove that I had not cracked the fog light, so I signed off the damaged fog light and the return agency let me know that the airport rentals (that’s where I picked up) always have issues and they never fully document the damage on the cars and he said he always has this problem. He said he would submit the info to Berlin and hopefully I would not get charged. If the fog log checked out then the 600 Euro damage deposit for the car would be returned to my credit card or if they deemed it damaged by myself only part of the damage deposit would be returned (he thought approx. 160 Euros). April 21, 2014 the deposit was returned fully on to my credit card. I was very relieved and thought things had worked themselves out.

Only once I had returned home from Germany did a charge on April 29, 2014 show up on my credit card for 660 Euros. Even with the insurance I purchased they are stating that $1034 CND (660 Euros) dollars is the “deductible” for the damages they found. When I enquired about they “damages” they were speaking about , they stated the fog light cover and scratches on the paint. When I received the report of the damages they were very small scratches and scrapes, regular wear and tear that you see on rentals all the time. I then contacted the agency again stating that these were not noted on the return and that these could have happened in the parking lot or in the wash bay after I signed the car off. I have been going back and forth with Buchbinder for 2 months on this issue now and there has been no resolution. I have been caught in a couple of traveler’s scams in my 20 years of traveling to over 30 different countries, and this is definitely one of them. This company will do anything they can to steal money from the traveler. This rental when I originally booked should have costed $750 CND, now the rental has costed $1800 and being back in Canada and not speaking German is there way of ensuring they cannot communicate back with the customer. My recommendation is to stay as far away from this company as possible. Enterprise is amazing, I have rented with them 3 times in three different countries and they are fantastic!

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