edit Waaaay shorter version authored by my more-concise girlfriend
We rented a car Saturday to drive to RI from Boston.
We dropped it off Saturday night, after closing hours as they said we could, and dropped the key in the drop box.
Sunday came and went with not a single call from the rental company.
Sunday night there were all sorts of angry violent drunks in Boston because of the superbowl.
This morning, I got a call from the rental company saying that the car was vandalized, windshield and hood smashed in.
They claim it happened Saturday night.
There's no way. They were open all day on Sunday. If the car had been that damaged Sunday morning, we should have gotten a call. Obviously it got vandalized last night in all of the Superbowl riots and they're just trying to get someone to pay for it. They are straight-up lying and there's nothing we can do about it because they wrote up a form which says it happened on Saturday night. When we asked why we didn't get a call on Sunday about the damage they said, "mistakes happen." I asked to speak with the people that received the car Sunday morning, and the manager on duty said the guy doesn't have a phone and wouldn't be in until Wednesday.
I (stupidly) signed an accident report saying I didn't know WTF happened and that the agency didn't call me until this morning. I initiated a claim with my credit card issuer, since they offer limited auto rental coverage. (I don't own a car or have insurance.)
What else do I do?
I think the first question is when did/does your liability for the car end? Do you have a copy of your contract with the rental company? There should be a clause that states when your liability for the car ends. It's possible that your liability ends when you dropped off the car, and returned the keys (though, you'd have to prove when you did that).
I think you should pursue the claim that they were open all day Sunday and didn't call you to tell you that it had been damaged. There's no way that a car rental company, which is trained in the art of inspecting and turning around a car to be re-rented quickly wouldn't have noticed if the vandalism occurred on Saturday night, given that they were open on Sunday.
Finally, where was the car parked - in a fenced lot or open parking lot, near bars or in a residential neighborhood?
Not much help, I'm sure, since you've certainly already considered these things. I would contact your credit card issuer and make them aware of the circumstances, so that they don't pay out on a plausibly fraudulent claim.
The contract states that the renter is liable for over-night drop-offs until the car is inspected in the morning. If the damage really happened on Saturday night, fair enough; I signed a contract and I'm held to it. My issue is that the damage very likely occurred after my liability ended.
The car is in an open lot in an area with a dozen bars and populated mostly by college students.
IMO you're likely to get further with your CC company than anyone else in this situation. if they have charged you previously, you should be able to request a block of future charges...
Would you suggest dealing with their standard customer service line or trying to speak with the auto rental insurance dept? Seems like the auto rental insurance is a totally separate division...
Go scope out the area for any surveillance cameras which might help back your story...you might get lucky.
@hehehhehe I paid with a Visa, so I'm covered. The chain is called Usave; they're a 2nd-tier (maybe even a 3rd-tier) national discount rental agency. I estimate I've saved about a grand using them over the last 2 or 3 years, which savings were just swiftly wiped out by this incident.
@ FON - Good suggestion. I'm calling shortly to ask if they filed a police report and ask about security cameras.
Yeah, being a car rental place with a lot full of cars in a college town with bars you would think they'd have security cameras watching the lot at all times...I would try to get them to look at all the surveilance first. Maybe they have someone on tape vandalizing the car but obviously they're never gonna find the person so they're pullin some bullshit and tryin to hold you responsible just to get the car fixed. If the company itself doesn't file a police report maybe you should do it and then they'll be required to submit all surveilance tapes from that night.
Other than that, wait until the guy is back in town that inspected the car the next morning and see what he says.
I would suggest trying to locate if any other cars were vandalized, if so then somehow trying to see if you can come in contact with those people who rented the other cars. It seems like a long shot but if you guys could work as a team, and if this ordeal can't be stopped by your credit card company at least you'll have strength in numbers.
That's ridiculous that there isn't a log that says when the car was first seen Sunday and what condition is was in. I assume the conditions you signed didn't say anything about when they had to notify you after they inspected the car? I would think they would have to notify you within a certain period of time. Hope it works out for you, and FliliK Patriots fans.
Maybe some updates this afternoon...
Update Have a $750 pending charge from the rental agency on my credit card. Apparently I cannot dispute the charge until it's actually posted to my account, but I intend to.
I filed a formal complaint with the agency's corporate office on Monday. I was told on Tuesday that someone would contact me, but I haven't heard from anyone since then. This morning, I emailed corporate again to ask when I could expect to hear back and was ignored. Left them a voicemail at 330pm to say that if I didn't hear from them by the end of business I would file a complaint with the BBB, and also planned to dispute any additional charges. Left a voicemail with the local guy to the same effect.
They're probably taking some time to communicate the details of the situation through the chain of command before getting back to you. From a business perspective, there's nothing worse than a lack of communication (and thus solidarity) between employees/departments/offices/etc. From your perspective...it's more like two criminals colluding to get their story straight before interrogation (
I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but they've had more than two full business days to get their stories straight--and they still managed to call and ask for the claim number this morning. And based on the way the whole thing has been handled (waiting 24 hours to notify me of the damage, telling me the employees that discovered the damage "don't have phones" and making them inaccessible to me, and placing $750 charges on my card), I'm not going to wait for them either way.
If they end up making you pay for it just go under your own insurance and have them pay for it.
[quote5aba66541c="hairyferry"]If they end up making you pay for it just go under your own insurance and have them pay for it.[/quote5aba66541c]
he doesn't have a car, therefore, no insurance.
could he claim it under the umbrella of homeowners/renters insurance though?
Yo, if the car was beat to shit as badly as they say it is, something tells me it would cost much more than $750 to cover. Windshield and a smashed hood? That's a grand easy, considering you know goddamn well if they plan to stick you with the bill they're bringing it to the most expensive place they know. Just keep asking to talk to the boss. And then the boss' boss, and keep going up the ladder. Eventually someone will work with you and listen to your story. Especially given your good history with them... I know this wasn't much help, but it's a shitty situation.. Good luck, keep us posted, we're all interested now.
[quote3e81c88a68="doylnea"][quote3e81c88a68="hairyferry"]If they end up making you pay for it just go under your own insurance and have them pay for it.[/quote3e81c88a68]
he doesn't have a car, therefore, no insurance.
could he claim it under the umbrella of homeowners/renters insurance though?[/quote3e81c88a68]
Hmm that's a good question. I'm gonna have to ask my boss about that one.
I'm covered through my credit card. I'm probably just going to capitulate and give them the claim number and let it be Visa's fight, but I'm so pissed that they're trying to scam me/Visa that I just wanted to fight it myself.
Any news on this? I was curious if that car company ever admitted fault.
Bunch of bums.
I was dealing with corporate last week, and they never called back. I saw another pending charge (this time in the amount of $400, in addition to the original $750 charge) on my card, so I decided to call back.
The woman I dealt with last Tuesday has since been fired, so I'm in the loop with a new guy now. He didn't promise much, but he said he thought he could get me in touch with the right person to speak with at the local franchise. So at least I'll be dealing directly with their owner, and he'll understand the kind of fight and negative publicity campaign he can look forward to if they keep it up.
Keith clearly doesn't take shit.
they'll do anything they can to help you as soon as negative PR is brought up. Tails go between legs very quickly when their "good name" is compromised.
I'm sure the local Fox affiliate would love to do a nasty piece on the rental store...
Oh yeah, he's right, hahaha, especially the one around here, they pretend to be nice, but they're not, they love trashing people ) ) )
Well, they're not exactly "doing anything to help me as soon as negative PR is brought up." Under the advice of a lawyer, I told them I planned to pursue action under MA 93A, the deceptive/fraudulent consumer practices law. They responded that they planned to file against me in small claims court tomorrow.
That's probably a good thing, though. Small Claims court is a fairly inexpensive venue to fight this, and from the sound of things they will have a harder time proving their case. Meaning, if you win, you may be able to recover court costs. That might actually wrap things up quicker than a drawn-out battle between your, them, and your CC company.
How about a countersuit to be argued concurrently with their suit? If a judge finds them negligent, or better yet fraudulent, you could walk away with damages.
The problem is I've got $2300 of approved-but-pending charges from them on my credit card at the moment. And Visa is being a little unhelpful about those AND the claim itself.
This is not the most fun thing in the world to deal with.
Yea, I'm sorry to hear about that! Just as bad as cashier check fraud. I had one of them a while back. Not fun losing money because of hard headed companies.