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Rental Car Disagreement Which Could Easily Been Averted....

Rental Car Disagreement Which Could Easily Been Averted....

Old Mar 14th, 2007, 02:56 PM
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Rental Car Disagreement Which Could Easily Been Averted....

Hi, just a heads up message. While my own car was in a body shop, my car insurance company paid for a rental car for me to use from a car rental company in Los Angeles area.

When I checked out the rental before I drove away I did the usual looking for dents and scratches and had them noted.

I returned it yesterday and the clerk went over the rental with a fine tooth comb and found a wavy seam on the roof! It is where the roof meets the door on the top of the car. I never even thought to check the roof, let alone a seam. I brought over my body shop manager from down the street and he told them it looked like it had been that way from the factory. I noted that the roof of the car was still dusty and that you could tell it had never been touched while I had it. I am waiting to see what the rental company decides and I may be stuck paying for the seam.

So, after all of this, I just want to say...check even the roof when you rent a car!!
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 03:01 PM
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you won't pay a dime. You are probably the 10th person they have noted that seam to.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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thinking about it...I've probably rented a car 100 - 150 times and I don't think I have ever looked for sratches or dents and I don't remember any clerk ever checking when I've returned a car.

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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 03:11 PM
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I had a close call once when we picked up a rental car for one day to drop off at the airport. I followed my partner driving the rental out of the lot, following him in my car. I could see a pretty big dent in the underside of the rear bumper, something you'd probably never even see standing up. Sure enough, the next day turning it in, they started insisting we had done it. I insisted we hadn't. That's the last I heard of it.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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A rep from the rental co. called me today and said they were recording the call and had me tell my "side" of the story.

I hope nothing comes of this. I do check the obvious places for dents but not under the bumper or on the roof! Live and learn.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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By the way, have you asked them to explain how they think you caused a "wavy seam where the roof meets the door? That should be interesting.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 04:17 PM
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I recently rented with Fox in San Diego. When I checked out the desk agent gave the signed inspection sheet, telling me the car had already been pre-inspected and I could simply drive off the lot.

I spent the next 10min using my cell phone camera to document every scuff, scratch, ding, splattered bug, and bird dropping on a relatively new car. Finally a guy in the lot came over, marked up the inspection sheet showing basically every surface had some damage. (ex the roof, which I never checked)

Not sure what would have happened had I not closely inspected the car, but the blank inspection sheet had me wary.

This is one reason I always like to get a final statement handed to me right when I return the car.

In my experience some of the bigger guys (National, Avis, Hertz) don't have inspection sheets to sign off, so there is less chance they'll try to ding you upon return with no agreed upon outgoing condition. Those co's that have an outgoing inspection I always closely inspect.

Next time I'll check the roof too!!
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 04:49 PM
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Yes, J62, check the roof!!
Neo, she told me today that it looked like I had either walked on the roof's edge or parked in a low ceiling building.

(Actually I had danced the highland fling on the edge of the roof, but don't tell anyone)


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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 05:37 PM
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Once when I was returning a rental car, the lady in front of me was having a fit. Turned out the SUV she had rented had a huge dent on its roof! If you're my height, you can't even see the roof of an SUV to check if there's a dent or not. Rental company said she had to pay for the over $1000 repair, therefore, her fit. Don't see how I can blame her.

Nowadays, whenever I rent a car, I ask the agent who is going over the car with me: "Do you see any dents on the roof?" I get some of the strangest looks, haha! Better to be thought strange than to have to pay for a $1000+ dent!

Some car rental companies just want you to pay additional for their insurance. If you don't they'll say you're responsible for the dent, scratch, slight crack on the windshield, etc.

One way to protect yourself is to take photos of the rental car (nowadays with your cell phone that's easy), especially before the rental. I always do this in Europe. If there is a dispute, take photos of the disputed area. Then refer the whole affair to your own insurance company. Photos and a detailed account to your own insurance company can work wonders.

SeaUrchin, if the car rental company calls again, tell them to call your insurance company. More likely than not, the car rental company is just gathering evidence against you and you don't have to talk to them. "Anything you say may be used against you..."

Tell them that their insurance company should be dealing with your insurance company. End of conversation.

You don't have to cooperate with them. In fact, ask them to produce photos of the car AT THE TIME when you rented the car to prove that you were the one who put that wavy seam on the car. If they can prove that they rented the car to you without the wavy seam, then you've got a fight on your hands. If not, then they have to produce some evidence to prove their accusation that you were the one who put the wave on their car.

And,fer-gosh-sakes, take them hobnailed boots off and stop stepping on the roof of rental cars! Good luck!
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 05:41 PM
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You've been outed SeaUrchin.

We always knew something was strange about you and now we know: You are a Highland Flinger on random car roofs.
 
Old Mar 14th, 2007, 05:43 PM
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Would never consider renting any car without going over it thoroughly for dents, dings and scratches. If it's at night I make sure to do it indoors or under a light and if I see ANYTHING I have someone from the company mark it on the rental agreement.

Once she said - oh, that's nothing, don;t worry about it. I insisted. And when I brought it back 5 days later they asked me when I dented the car. They were not happy when I showed them it was marked on the agreement.

I think it depends very much on who's on duty when you return it (if the manager) and how busy they are.

But - why take the risk?
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 06:02 PM
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Actually I once returned a car with a big dent in the top, but they never noticed it. It happened in Key West when a coconut fell from a high tree.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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Like others have said, at pickup I always take photos of the vehicle from all angles, including interior, and ask for a walk-around if not offered.

And if you have an accident, have the presence of mind to document not only the damage to your car, but also the other party's.

A few months ago while on a road trip in a rental I was rear-ended while waiting to enter a highway at a stop sign. (see photos below). Amazingly, the damage to my van rental appeared minimal -- gouges in the plastic bumper guard -- but the other car had more damage. First thing I did was photograph everything. Naturally, the other party had expired license and registration, and no proof of insurance so mine ate up the $500 deductible of my policy.

I got a big bruise on my arm (because my arm was hanging out the window and the frame slammed into it) and I was pretty bummed over the whole thing, but about 4 hours later, farther up the same road, there was one of the most horrific accidents that I've ever seen and seeing that brought my little fender bender back into the perspective where it needed to be -- i.e. inconsequential.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/268lxj

http://preview.tinyurl.com/yu6zgh

http://preview.tinyurl.com/2brc4w

http://preview.tinyurl.com/2bcpnf

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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Nice shots, bluestar!

"A picture is worth a thousand words"

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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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I was just thinking about when the rental agents have and have not inspected the cars - usually I get the keys and either walk or take a shuttle to my designated car, show the attendent at the gate my paperwork, and am on my way. I think Enterprise is the only company that I have had someone actually inspect the car with me and ask me to sign the inspection sheet.
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 10:22 AM
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Was this Enterprise by any chance?

Pulled that stunt on me when I had an insurance rental. Then tried to charge everyone (probably 6-8 people they found dings) for out of service. Nothing like double-dipping times 4.
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 10:33 AM
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Yes, Enterprise!

I haven't heard anything more and I am not sure if I should call and ask what is going on or let it drop. I am not the sit back and wait kind of person and would rather get on with whatever they have up their sleeves so I can fight.

Stressful situation. Next time I am going to bring a step stool and check every inch of the roof.
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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A low ceiling building? ROTFLMAO ---- you'd have more than a wavy seam to show for THAT!

Your story is troubling from the perspective that you never know if they are going to pursue this thing, but laughable at the same time that they'd suggest you caused this damage.
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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I rented a car from either Budget or Dollar in Phoenix several yrs ago and no pre-ck form. The guy kept pushing the insurance which I didn't take. I returned the car w/o incident until I got a letter about 3-4 months laterfrom an attorney representing the car dealership which claimed I had done about $1,800 worth of damage to the front grill! The letter was mildly threatening, but the attorney was pleasant when I called said she would ck into it, etc. Nothing until another letter about 3-4 months later w/ same claim! I called again, and she asked about the "form" I signed at the dealer when I returned the car w/ the "damage." I never signed any form and asked her to fax/mail me a copy so I could look at my "signature." Never heard from her or the dealer again. I think the car had prior damage, and they were trying to hang it on me.! Now I ck every car I rent, but great idea about taking pictures! Good luck.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 08:33 PM
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Enterprise just sent me my bill for $325. 275 for the (false) damages and 50 for the administrative fee.

I will fight this with all my might and call a lawyer.

I will avoid Enterprise from now on with their false charges "based on the facts that have been presented to us". I am so angry with them!
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