Car Rental Co. Claims Damage-what to do?

Old Nov 10th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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Car Rental Co. Claims Damage-what to do?

In Aug. we spent a wonderful time in Paris and rented a car from SIXT for a week. Seven days later we returned it to their parking lot at Gare de Lyon. Their representative inspected the car, the gas tank and took the keys wishing us a bonne journee! Two months later we get an email asking us to complete an accident report form. Because we denied being a part of this, a month later we received an invoice for the claimed damage. Needless to say we haven't been involved in any accident, and the car was not damaged in any way.
If anyone had a similar experience, please let us know. Thank you.
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Old Nov 10th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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Do you still have the paperwork, receipt or whatever that shows your car was accepted at checkin?
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Old Nov 10th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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Travelnut, we were not given a receipt. The guy took the car keys and said that we were good to go. At the time of the rental the main office told us to drop the car in the parking lot. It happened that the same guy was in the parking lot at the return of the car.
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Old Nov 10th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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The car rental company has the burden of proof that you returned a damaged car. This means, the guy who takes the car has to fill out a form and you have to sign it. If the car rental co. does not have such a protocol they will have trouble to prove the case. So, relax.

But anyway, it is always much more relaxing if you have an insurance with full coverage (I have it included in my credit card).
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Old Nov 10th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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How did you book your rental? If through a consolidator like Auto Europe, get on to their customer services in US and make a formal complaint, and ask them to resolve the dispute with SIXT. If directly with SIXT, get in touch with their US subsidiary (if they have any) or write directly to their French counterpart, again denying any knowledge of the damage and demand a satisfactory resolution (you can write in English). If they are going to debit your credit card for the so-called damage, get on to your card company and ask for a chargeback for a disputed amount.
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Old Nov 10th, 2007, 10:51 AM
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I hate to keep harping about reasons to rent through AutoEurope - but this is another case where they may have been able to help you.

Make SIXT come up with the paper that the "guy" used to indicate that there was no damage to the car rented with your name on the papers. This may be hard because all they have to do is say "No - we don't keep the paperwork" or something like that. You really don't know what procedures the SIXT office in France uses. You are not a big customer to them, and it's my experience that dealing with someone in a foreign country is difficult - they usually just ignore you.

Similar things have happened to me. When I rented through AutoEurope, they were my agent/advocate in trying to make the actual rental company come up with the paperwork to prove I did or didn't do something. After too long of a time waiting without the rental company coming up with the documents, AutoEurope refunded me the money themselves, and then said they would pursue it later.

Chances are in your case, documents may have been miskakenly switched, and someone elses "return" papers were processed against your rental - which is exactly what happened to me on one of the occasions.

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 10th, 2007, 11:17 AM
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Another reason why it's wise to photograph the car before leaving the rental lot and when the car is returned.
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