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Subject:  Re: Bogus car rental agency damage claim Date:  4/10/2013  8:13 PM
Author:  joelcorley Number:  306909 of 312188


You wrote, We rented a car, turned it in, no damage was noted, except that I noted to the turn in agent that the left rear door wouldn't open from the inside. It turns out that that was a child safety interlock.

Now we get a damage claim asserting that the left rear seat was loose. Either that was miscoding by the agent, or a previous family with young children dislodged the seat when installing a booster seat. The car had only a few hundred miles on it when we rented it. Or the manufacturer delivers the car with the child safety interlock actuated.

We had an adult passenger in that seat during the rental. He did not notice anything. We carried light cargo such as carry-on baggage on the seat, and I didn't notice anything obvious.

I called the claims adjuster with the company. They seemed responsive and are following up.

Should I alert my credit card company and block transactions from that company?

Any other actions I should take?

Also, the credit card company covers collision damage waivers, but unfortunately only for 15 day rentals. Ours was for 17 days.

And subsequently, So I called the claims adjuster at the car rental agency and sent emails. After two calls, as well as the evidence that the car was still in use, they closed the claim without charging us, and sent an email and voicemail confirming this.

No harm no foul. Next time, I'll call the credit card I intend to use to verify that my intended rental will be covered under their damage waiver coverage, especially as pertains to the place and length of the rental.

First, it's beyond me how a loose seat could be your fault. Perhaps they were going with a theory of malicious mischief? But that kind of thing seems to be a maintenance issue or manufacturer's defect - one they should have been able to address quickly in-house.

Thankfully I've not had any experience with rental car companies claiming bogus damage. When I travel, I usually pick up the rental car at the airport. Those places are usually designed to expedite the rental process; but I usually get someone to inspect the car and sign off on a report showing the condition of the car before I leave the lot - even though these places are designed to hand you keys and just let you go.

Since you point it out, the return process is probably still an open issue. It would seem that we are relying on the rental agency to be honest and not attempt to blame us for damage that occurs after the return. I've only been covering myself against claims for damage that occurred before I picked the car up.

Usually they try to expedite the return process as well. Perhaps I'll start taking a video "walk through" with my cellphone to show the condition of the car on return. The last rental or two I did this at pickup. Unfortunately such a run-through cannot be exhaustive, so I don't know that it would have helped in your situation in any case.

Still ... something to think about.

- Joel
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