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RetiredVermonter Jun 19th, 2006 01:34 AM

Be careful when you rent a car
We recently took a fly/drive trip and rented a car when we arrived where we were going. We had gotten a good rate with the "entertainment Book" (check those coupons) and rented for 2 weeks.

Before we took the car, we had walked around and checked the car with the agent. (ALWAYS do that, look carefully, and be sure they note any existing damage on their copy AND YOURS).

After our delightful trip, when we returned the car to the small airport, we filled up, as required; I parked the car right by the curb outside the door to the rental car agencies (as directed); we took out all of our luggage, so my wife could watch it while I settled up; and I walked into the terminal, to the rental car desk, at 6:45 a.m. to pay.

I handed the paperwork to the young man there and said the car was outside, so did he want to go out with me and check it over, make sure the tank was filled, etc., but he said "No need. I'm sure it's fine." (Mistake -- do not do that.) There was no one else around at that hour, and no one waiting, so he could have walked around the corner in 30 seconds to check the car.

We went over the bill, I paid with my credit card, he signed it off with zero balance, and I thanked him and left.

When we got home, there were TWO messages waiting. One was from the young man, obviously, saying there was a "bad scratch" on such and such part of the car, and a second message, hours later, ostensibly from a senior member of the rental agency on the same topic. I was floored! We had looked that car over and there was nothing wrong when we turned it in!

I returned the call to the "senior" man, explained all of this, and told him how I had even SUGGESTED we look at the car, but his man had politely said "no bother", so we had left -- but I reiterated that there was nothing wrong when we did so. He only sighed and said he'd call the particular little place in question and "look into it".

That was a week and a half ago, and I have heard nothing more.

Since I had suggested they check it and they declined, and since we paid and were signed out as okay, I'm 99% sure that that ends it. However, next time, I would be inclined to INSIST they check!

What would you have done?


LindainOhio Jun 19th, 2006 04:06 AM

You don't mention if the car rental agency charged you for the scratch. I would call your credit card company and check--hopefully you paid with a credit card. If you were charged, contest the charge with your credit card company.

xrae Jun 19th, 2006 04:26 AM

When you rent a car, you have to sign or initial if you waive their collision coverage.

Perhaps there should be a box on your return receipt for the desk agent to initial if he waives his obligation to check your car when it's returned.

Dick Jun 19th, 2006 04:57 AM

I'm not a lawyer....
but I would tell them that you have a receipt saying you returned the car and and that your bill was settled.

I'd inform them that any damage to the car, was obviously done AFTER you returned the car and the car was in their possession.

IMO, they are just trying to bully/bluff you into paying.

Malesherbes Jun 19th, 2006 05:14 AM

There was a thread similar to this several months ago. One particular rental company was named and at least one other person chimed in saying they'd had a similar experience with that company. Do you mind saying which company you used? I can't remember which one they had used now, but perhaps someone else here will recall it.

The more of these stories I hear, the more insistent I am that virtually every nick and ding be noted with the rental agent before we leave, much to my DH's dismay, as he wants nothing more than to be on his way.

L84SKY Jun 19th, 2006 05:50 AM

Either insist that they check it or take some pics with a digital camera.

travel_addict Jun 19th, 2006 06:49 AM

Was this with Dollar? They were just talking about Dollar on NPR saying people have been complaining of similar situations. The travel agent being interviewed said to make sure a rep from the company looks at the car and signs off as clear before you leave. She also said to make sure you call your insurance agent before renting to find out what they cover. Some insurance companies will cover damage, but the car rental company can still charge you a per-day fee for all the days the car is 'out of commission' being repaired.

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