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“It’s amazing to me that Enterprise can get away with this”

roibu / Shutterstock.com

You’ve probably heard Karen Moyer’s story before.

There’s the VW Passat, rented from Enterprise after an ice storm in Greensboro, NC. There’s the claim, sent by its legendary Damage Recovery Unit, weeks after she returned her car, noting her roof was scratched. And there was the bill for $442, suspiciously similar in amount to her insurance deductible.

Moyer fought the good fight, disputing the claim. More on that in a minute.

But unlike most consumers who contact me, and who want to fight a charge, she’s made her peace with this incident.

“I accept the responsibility and will pay the damages,” she told me. “But I’m not a happy customer.”

Moyer wants me to raise another question: Has she been, in her own words, “scammed” by Enterprise?

To find out, let’s hit “rewind” on her rental. Moyer rented the vehicle back on March 10, and used it to drive to and from work.

The car was covered in salt from top to bottom; I could not even tell the true color of the car.

An employee walked me around the car in a hurry and asked me to check for damage. I did so, looking at the sides of the car for major dents.

He even made the following comment to me, after I stated that the car was so dirty that it was hard to see, that it’s, “not a problem unless I bring the car back with the bumper falling off.”

I mentioned to him that I thought Enterprise would have cleaned the car prior to rental. I also noted that the car’s engine light was on, which was a concern. He once again told me not to worry, that the car had been serviced.

I never looked at the roof of the car.

The car also smelled strongly of cigarette smoke, to the point it burned my eyes.

Well, at this point, I would have told Enterprise to find a different car. But maybe I’m just being picky.

Moyer claims she babied the Passat.

“It was parked in an open parking lot and then at home, parked in a garage,” she says.

She returned the vehicle after a rainstorm, which rinsed the salt from the vehicle.

I returned the car in the same condition as rented, with the exception of its odor. I had sprayed air freshener.

I was totally shocked when the same employee took me out to see scratches on the roof of the car.

I told him I did not check the roof on Monday. The scratches must have been present before I drove the car from their lot.

Moyer filled out an incident report and was contacted April 1 by Enterprise’s Damage Recovery Unit. Several efforts to resolve the claim in writing and by phone failed.

Here’s the thing: Even if Moyer had taken “before” photos of her vehicle, she’d still get the bill. That’s because no one could see the pre-existing scratches — if indeed they pre-existed — through the layer of salt.

In fact, the photos might have proven Enterprise’s claim was legitimate.

But my consumer advocate instincts tell me there’s more going on here. Certainly, it’s difficult to call this particular claim a scam unless you can show me another driver with the same repair bill.

Are they giving Moyer the benefit of the doubt? No. Are they collecting every claim they can, and trying to keep the insurance companies out of the process? Probably.

Here is what is a scam: If Moyer’s account is correct, then Enterprise tried to rent her a dirty, smoke-saturated vehicle. That’s no way to run a car rental company, and indeed, some might consider a car in that condition a scam, at any price.

And who would I be to disagree?

Car rental customers have a right to a clean, salt-free, smoke-free vehicle. And when the car rental companies don’t provide one, they shouldn’t be surprised when their customers claim they’ve been scammed.

Is Enterprise trying to scam Karen Moyer?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • backprop

    He even made the following comment to me, after I stated that the car
    was so dirty that it was hard to see, that it’s, “not a problem unless I
    bring the car back with the bumper falling off.”

    And of course, here’s the crux of the problem. The OP, at least in retrospect, sounded like she had the sense to trigger some sort of alarm bell.

    But hen she listened to what the agent said. How often does that story repeat? “The ticket agent said….” “They said I could have a refund…” “The clerk promised me that….”.

    If the OP had followed her gut, she may not be $400 lighter today.

    I believe it was in your book, but certainly one of the “Top 3” rules of being a smart traveler is never believe what somebody says to you.

    It may be cynical or seem aggressive when you’re in the situation. But words are worth the paper they’re printed on and nothing more.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    True. Always get a promise like that in writing.

  • FQTVLR

    I am perplexed as to why she accepted the car rental in that condition when she had obvious qualms about it. And even more perplexed as to why she did not take any photos of the car before driving off with it to show that damage could not be seen. I think she has been ripped off but she has no proof at all showing the condition of the car at pickup.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    “sent by its legendary Damage Recovery Unit, weeks after she returned her car,…”

    A bit misleading, given that Enterprise wrote a damage report at the time of vehicle return. Surely, a formal estimate has to be done before a claim is sent out, no?

    “It was parked in an open parking lot and then at home,..”

    Thus, admitting that the damage could have happened while the car was unattended. Just because you don’t SEE it happen doesn’t make you not responsible.

    The problem with cases like this is that they involve nothing more than “he said, she said.” Given the poll results, most people seem inclined to believe that any and all damage claims by a rental company are a scam. I assume the majority of comments will reflect this view. But absent of any pictures, the only thing we have to go off of is the rental agreement signed by the OP and the vehicle records from Enterprise.

  • absherlock

    Seems to me that if the OP were to have taken pictures of the dirty car (and the agent – always try and get the agent in at least one pic so they can’t claim the pictures were taken without their knowledge or at a later date), a case could be made that Enterprise was, at best, not making a good-faith effort to allow the customer to discover possible damages and, at worst, deliberately obscuring that damage from the customer.

  • SoBeSparky

    I voted “no” about the scam, because sometimes you just cannot protect a consumer from themselves. If the car had three tires low on air, would she still have rented it? How about one headlight burned out and the backseat window cracked? And on and on. If you have no common sense, then everything becomes a scam against you eventually.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I think you are extending a bit. I can’t speak for anyone else but my issue is this; since any damage that occurs during the duration of the rental term is presumed to be the renter’s responsibility, then it behooves the rental agency to ensure that any previous damage be adequately noted and the car be delivered to the renter in such a way that the average renter can readily ascertain the condition of the vehicle. The renter should not have to play renter’s roulette.

    Should a rental agency elect to present a vehicle such that its condition cannot be readily determined, e.g. dirt covered, ice covered, inadequately lit, etc, then the rental agency should not be entitled to the presumption that the car was damage free when the renter took possession of the car.

    Without the presumption, the rental car company would have to prove that the damage was caused while in the renter’s possession.

    Of course, if the car was clear and the renter simply couldn’t be bothered to inspect then the renter is correctly SOL.

  • Bill___A

    It is very important to do your part too. Accepting a smoke filled car covered in salt and with the engine light on is just begging for trouble.

    Who knows when the scratches happened? It is surely hard to tell.

  • EvilEmpryss

    I live in the area the OP is from, and the local TV stations would probably love to look into this one for her. They could try to get the records of the car to see if any damage was previously reported, or ask viewers if they rented that car and have proof of similar bills.

    Ooh! And another thing… has anyone ever called their insurance companies to check and see if the rental agency called to verify the deductible? I have only a $0 – $50 deductible and have never, in all the time I’ve rented cars, been hit with this. I wonder if they’re targeting the people with standard-to-high deductibles, knowing they have to pay cash?

  • John Baker

    I voted “no” although I’m suspicious. At the point she signed the accident form, she accepted responsibility.

    If you didn’t do it, don’t sign the form and make their job easier. If you can’t see the car, don’t accept it.

  • naoma

    i WOULD REFUSE to accept a car that smelled of smoke. I do not smoke and never did and do not wish to smell like it!!!!

  • tomjuno

    Carver Clark Farrow has it right. The rental company didn’t offer the renter a proper chance to inspect the vehicle. So let the rental company now prove the renter did the damage. I suspect the company can’t prove it and is merely taking a shot at a renter who was too trusting and didn’t have the wit in a hurried situation to take pictures, assuming the renter had a camera (not everyone does). As I’ve said before, it’s getting so you need a brace of contact lawyers to accompany you every time you rent a car nowadays. In my view, the renter shouldn’t have acquiesced so easily.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    Except the renter didn’t even look at the roof of the car. In her own words: “…looking at the sides of the car for major dents.”

    WRT the way the car was initially received, she has no proof other than her word that it was covered in salt. IF she had pictures it would give her more credibility, but given that renters tend to lie about these things frequently, I don’t blame Enterprise for not dropping the claim based on the OP’s word alone that she couldn’t properly inspect the vehicle.

  • EvilEmpryss

    I disagree. She had every chance to say “No. Get me a clean car or I take my business elsewhere.”

  • backprop

    The problem is, we don’t know that “the rental company didn’t offer the renter a proper chance to inspect the vehicle.” Her gut instinct, as told in the story, was right…but she didn’t even follow through to take a photo of the car in that condition.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I should have been clear, I was responding in general, which is why is used renter, not LW and brought up points like dirty and inadequately lit.

  • SoBeSparky

    If you cannot exercise reasonable caution in looking out for your self-interests, then all the legislation and police enforcement will never protect you from this world.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Kind of. In reality, most people simply acquiesce.

  • Fishplate

    And then they take responsibility for the consequences.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Unfortunately, many people feel that they have no choice except to sigh the form. Its the same reason why high pressure tactics work.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    Then I agree with you “in general.” The problem is that terms like “Dirty” and “inadequately lit” are subjective and without photos it’s hard to tell whether or not said conditions would have prevented a renter from spotting damage.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    The LW is taking responsibility. She’s just annoyed at it.

    But given the reality of pressure tactics, it is troubling that the resolution of these matters may be more influenced by the renter’s personality traits than the merits of the situation.

  • EvilEmpryss

    As my father once pointed out, we all have freedom of speech here in the States, but if you go running through a bad part of town screaming ethnic slurs, no one is going to protect you from the consequences. We all have to take responsibility for our choices.

    I am NOT saying that what the agency did was right, but a little self-interest could have protected her. On the plus side, the OP seems to be taking it in stride: this was a $442 dollar lesson in standing up for her consumer rights.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Yes, those are a fact intensive inquiry.

    For purposes of Chris’ articles, since we often don’t have hard evidence, I generally give the LW the benefit of the doubt unless my BS meter goes off.

    If I think the LW is lying, then I wouldn’t believe him/her if he said water was wet and ice is cold. That’s how I screen clients. Lie to me during the intake and I will never, ever represent that person.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Alas, its the reasonable part that the rub.

  • Fishplate

    “The LW is taking responsibility.”

    True enough. But why are we involved?

  • shannonfla

    I have stopped traffic at the rental car exit where I was told to have my car inspected for damage before leaving the lot. The attendant told me some scratches and dents didn’t count because they weren’t big enough on certain areas of the car and wouldn’t note these on the rental form. It took me saying I was going to return the car for one without damage if he wouldn’t sign off before he finally did so. Never accept anything verbally. Never accept a car you can’t inspect properly.

  • shannonfla

    For the first time ever, I was asked how much was my deductible last week when renting from Enterprise. I immediately started thinking of all the posts on this blog

  • shannonfla

    And I would definitely have refused that car with engine light and cigarette smoke once I got in to inspect interior and photograph mileage/gas tank

  • EvilEmpryss

    Yeah, if that wouldn’t set off alarms in your head, I don’t know what would.

    They *might* have just been trying to find out to sell you their own insurance, but knowing what happens to people who contact Chris, it’s suspicious.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    “The LW is taking responsibility. She’s just annoyed at it.”

    As are 95% of people who have to pay for damage to a rental car.

  • SoBeSparky

    Hmmm. Are we to infer that a “bad part of town” is inherently ethnic in nature, and that is why you would not scream ethnic slurs? Ethnic usually refers to a minority of some sort, as we do not describe the American melting pot as an ethnic group.

    A concentration of one ethnic group does not connote danger. A concentration of poverty usually does, as the residents cannot afford safer places, and poverty tends to breed property crimes.

  • EvilEmpryss

    Good for you! I’ve made an agent spend a solid fifteen minutes marking EVERY scratch on a car and got pics. It’s a shame to have to do it, but you have to protect yourself.

  • EvilEmpryss

    You went way off the point there, Sparky.

  • Tom_Blackwell

    Enterprise? Skip them. They made misleading statements to the customer.

  • emanon256

    I voted yes. I am guessing this was a non airport enterprise too, they are just the worst!

    My car manufacturer recently asked me if they could borrow my car for a week for an emissions study to determine how to keep cars emissions low as they age. They said they would provide me with an equivalent rental car and pay me $100. They picked my car up at work and Enterprise dropped off the rental. Honda agreed to provide $0 deductible insurance for the rental. I couldn’t say no.

    Well, the car was dropped off at work. Enterprise dropped it off and left the keys in our mail slot, never even went in and I never had a chance to look at the car. The car was a base model Hyundai which wreaked of cigarette smoke. Surprisingly, it had no body damage. I called Honda and asked about the smoke smell and the fact that an Elantra is much smaller than an accord, and didn’t fit our car seat, they suggested I call Enterprise, they said they paid for a “Luxury” car.

    I called Enterprise, who insisted an Elantra is a luxury car, and they said that they were surprised to hear it smelled like smoke. They said no other cars were available for three days. The smoke was so bad I got a sore throat every time I was in it that lasted for hours. When one finally was available, they refused to drop it off, they said pick up and drop off are only valid for the beginning and end of the rental, and I am responsible for exchanges. I brought the car in, waited a full hour, and they finally were able to inspect the car and confirmed it smelled like smoke. They then gave me a 1996 Chevy Impala which surprisingly only had 45,000 miles on it. They insisted this was an upgrade from the Luxury category that Honda paid for. It had one of those old dial radios with the knobs and push buttons which I hadn’t seen since the 80s. But at least it didn’t smell like smoke.

    I found the whole Enterprise local experience to be surreal. It makes for an interesting story.

  • The Original Joe S

    When I rent, I turn on the date/time stamp in the camera, and take photos of EVERY ANGLE, INSIDE and OUTSIDE. Photo of the person handing you the car. THEN I make a 1080p MOVIE of the whole car, and include the guy renting it. I say the date, time and place on the movie, and ask the guy if everything is OK. Same when returning it. Let ’em send a bill. I’ll ignore it, and let ’em sue. The fun begins when we go to court, and I subpoena all their business records concerning damage going back to the reign of Ramses II……

  • The Original Joe S

    You should have inquired what car they were gonna give you. Me, I’d NEVER give ’em my car…..

  • John Baker

    Yep… but you’re still not getting me to sign a confession to being Dan Cooper not matter how much you press.

    At some point… she has to accept responsibility for her mistakes. She had multiple opportunities to side line this scheme (if thats what this is) and didn’t take them.

    All that being said… I’m still not renting from the Enterprise anytime soon.

  • emanon256

    I did ask Honda in advance, and they said they can’t guaranty the car type, but it would be equivalent or better than mine. And Enterprise flat out didn’t have enough cars or employees. The fact that they had no cars available for 3 days, and then only had an 18 year old car as the only other option says a lot about their ability to run a rental car company.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I was just thinking that if a rental agency charges for damage, major or minor, and “loss of use” fees, then NO cars on the lot should have ANY damage on them. Yes? The cars should all be in pristine condition.

    What this means then is that if you have a lot where the cars are in dinged condition with engine lights a-glowing, then the lots is probably running a scam of charging renters for the same repairs over and over again OR they’re cool and don’t fret about the damages. I’ve been to lots that fit the latter description and charged rock bottom prices. I noted the damage liberally on the inspection forms and returned the cars without any issue.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I don’t think it’s strange to look only at the sides of the car. Most people aren’t tall enough to see the roof or have a lift to check the undercarriage. The roof scratch claim by this affiliate sounds like a classic scam. Unless the scratches are gouges, it’s unlikely a reasonable agency will notice or care.

    This LW claim passes the sniff test.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    You can stand on a door ledge and get a clear view of the roof. You can complain all you want, but the fact of the matter is that as the renter you are not in the position to dictate to the rental company what is and is not damage. Reasonableness is established by the courts, not individual consumers. Many posters here believe filing damage claims is unreasonable, period.

    If you don’t want to potentially be held responsible for damage to a rental, you should buy the CDW/LDW. Remember that YOU, not your insurance company, not your credit card company, are signing the agreement. Just like in a hospital when health insurance doesn’t cover 100% of your costs, if your designated insurer doesn’t cover certain costs, they fall back on you.

  • ORguest

    When I traveled more for work, Enterprise was my first choice. I used them in Chicago, Milwaukee, Boston and Manchester (NH). Luckily, my experiences were all okay. However, after reading Chris’ columns for a while, I am unlikely to use them in the future.

  • emanon256

    I have several relatives who can’t see the roof of the car while sanding on the door ledge. And door ledges scratch pretty easily, so wouldn’t standing on them cause damage?

  • PolishKnightUSA

    That’s a good idea in that if you fall down and hurt your head, you can sue them for the injury since it happened on site. :-) There are PLENTY of hungry accident liability lawyers around. :-)

    I have NEVER in my life stood on the door ledge of a normal car. Do you drive a 1936 Ford by chance? The problem is that the curved shape of the door means that the “ledge” (or more accurately, edge) is located inward. I never said that courts should not establish reasonableness.

    But yeah, I appreciate the legal warnings. By the same token, it’s not just the courts that establish what’s reasonable but also the legislature. As these stories become more and more common, more consumer friendly laws are written and then the chamber of commerce howls. I find it hard to feel sorry for them: If they can’t find ways to respect the reasonable consumer then so be it.

    On a personal level, I use Amex’s total insurance coverage and sic ’em (a few times) on any bad merchants I have encountered. In those rare cases, they have sided with me. Amex charges the merchants more and I know some merchants refuse to accept it. I have the right as a consumer to take my (excellent) credit elsewhere and often do but for small family shops, I pay cash out of politeness. If the business starts shoving F-U agreements in my face, I can and have walked.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    In my experience I’ve never scratched a door ledge on the hundreds of cars I’ve taken returns on.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I don’t understand why, if the agent claims that scratches are not a big deal, simply having them sign off as such: “Minor scratches on car up to 5 inches long, agent John Smith says not scratches are not significant for damage claims.”

    Done.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    Great. You have every right to not patronize a business if you don’t agree with the policies. What you don’t get to do is sign an agreement and then try to pick and choose which parts of the contract you want to have apply.

    The legislature goes both ways. In Colorado, for instance, courts have ruled that rental cos can collect for loss of use regardless of fleet utilization. So if you read the fine print on the CC CDW, it states it will pay for LOU if substantiated by a fleet utilization log. Since Colorado court rulings trump AMEX policies, renters in Colorado using CC CDW can expect to pay OOP if their rental is damaged, even if their CC company tells them (incorrectly) they’re fully covered.

  • Miami510

    Today, one has to “have eyes in your backside,” when renting a car. I’ve read enough incidents to think besides the added income from the same repair from multiple renters, this is a concerted effort to make people purchase the additional insurance.

    The agent’s remark about not worrying about anything less than the bumper falling off, reminds me of the dictum: A verbal assurance isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

    How unpleasant to be required to photograph all parts of the car including the top and underside.

    I just received an email advertisement from a well-known rental company and while I don’t want to mention their name, it hurts me to keep silent. I emailed them back and told them I have heard too many stories about their sticking people with questionable repair bills and will consider another rental company. Perhaps if everyone did that they would get the message.

    What if one company advertised that all necessary body work repair was automatically covered up to $1000. on all rentals and the cost was included in the price and their price was competitive?

  • EdB

    I would have told Honda on day one if they couldn’t give you the car they promised then to bring your car back immediately.

  • EvilEmpryss

    You HAVE been reading what gets reported on this site, haven’t you?

    Unless the agent specifically notes the location of those scratches, the next agent will say “That wasn’t there before” or “Smith didn’t have the authority to make that statement”.

    I don’t mind them doing as they did on one car where the bumper just under the trunk opening was so majorly scratched by people dragging luggage in and out of it that he just circled the area and wrote “numerous scratches of varying lengths on bumper under trunk lid”. I will not accept them doing the same for the whole car, though.

  • EdB

    Enterprise doesn’t dare try these tactics on their corporate account customers.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    Sounds like a good reason to avoid renting a car in Colorado. :-) There’s always small claims court and even a jury in some cases.

    All that said, it’s my understanding that the EXTENDED coverage I get from AMEX for $20 flat is pretty comprehensive. My auto insurance agent took a look at it and liked it so much, he signed up.

    And in the end, as I said, Amex just passes those costs along to the vendor as the cost of doing business. I wonder if they charge vendors in Colorado more for their rental laws. :-)

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Of course, until then your credit might be severely damaged.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I would not consider it reasonable to have to stand on a door ledge to inspect for damage. I would think that some variation of the plain view rule would be applicable. I always drive a large SUV. Unless you are approaching 6 feet, you cannot see the roof without the assistance of a ladder.

    As far as dictating to the rental car company, I wouldn’t presume. I would however be very happy to litigate in small claims court to show any malfeasance on the part of the rental car company as a defense to any claims.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    No, unlike most others that we see here, the OP is admitting that it’s her responsibility

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    We generally disagree. In this case we agree, although I would point out I do not believe there was any ill intended in the original post.

  • ORguest

    You would think the negative word-of-mouth generated by these incidents would reduce their frequency. That they don’t appreciate the power of it illustrates they are either ignorant or arrogant. Maybe both? Vote with your wallet, folks. There are good companies out there who will value your patronage.

  • The Original Joe S

    Not likely. Further, I don’t need credit. I have MONEY. And I don’t believe it would be severely damaged as I’d also cc the Attorney General, the Commonwealth’s Attorney, the Corporation Commission for this fraud.

  • Deepstardiver

    I have been to the Midwest in winter and gotten the salt covered car. The comment and and sign at the rental desk said it was to cold to wash cars as the locks can freeze or the water turns to ice and the hood/trunk/doors will not open. I try to return in the same dirty condition.Let the rental company prove different. I do take pictures but in several airports we are in dark (relative) garages and a good picture is hard to get, especially l at 10pm in winter in the cold.
    The smoke smell is a deal killer without a managers sign off. A lot of agencies charge $250 to “clean ” the car. Besides the smoke bothers me. I have taken them when they had o other cars on the lot. Try to say you want a different one and all you get is “we are sorry not all have been returned” when you are late/cold/tired you make choices.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    Good point. They can always (seemingly) throw the agent/employee under the bus (and congratulate him later. :-)

    How does it sound to go with “scratches on left side of car including doors, scratches on the right side of car including doors, scratches on hood, scratches on roof” and then get the signoff?

  • MarkKelling

    Without credit you won’t be renting a car anytime soon. At least not in the US.

  • The Original Joe S

    I already have credit cards – won’t be affected by a law case. Where did you get your law degree?

  • MarkKelling

    I would have and have in the past refused a car with the check light on. This is an indicator that something even worse that a few scratches might be going wrong. An engine failure is much more expensive that a little body work.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    Just wait until you get on the DNR list for every company. And keep in mind getting iced at one company means getting iced at the entire corporate group. So, for example, if you have Geico and they send you to Enterprise after an accident, and you have a damage claim you just decide to blow off, you’ll be banned not only from Enterprise, but Alamo & National at well. So those 2 weeks of free rental days and Emerald Club Executive Status? Poof. Also, it pretty much means no Priceline/Hotwire for rental cars, since a company you are banned from isn’t going to rent from you just because you already paid online. And good luck getting a refund from Priceline or Hotwire.

  • Gerry Pong

    First mistake was accepting this car. All her problems would never have occurred if she asked for another car. Why did she accept a dirty, smoky-smelling, car?

  • The Original Joe S

    I’m shaking in my boots.
    Try reading my post. I’ll go to court with them on their scam. I didn’t say I’d blow them off. I won’t let them win by default. I would simply send their scam letter to the AG and let it go from there….

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I’d have laughed at them and done the same

  • MarkKelling

    Just stated a fact in response to your comment that you “don’t need credit.” And yes if your credit rating goes down far enough, whoever issued your credit cards WILL cancel them regardless how much money you have unless those cards are secured.

    Never claimed to be a lawyer. Never mentioned what type of degree I have. Doesn’t matter here where everyone is free to state facts and/or their opinions.

  • The Original Joe S

    Thankyou for your input.

  • y_p_w

    I haven’t really had a bad experience with Enterprise. A lot depends on the location and sometimes even the particular person you deal with.

    I recall renting a car with 4 miles on the odometer. It was basically dropped off at the airport location from the car carrier and prepped on site. It did have a noticeable scratch on the trunk lid, but the employee said it wasn’t an issue even if it happened during the rental period – something about “deep scratches or dents bigger than your hand”. The fact was that scratch was covered up with touch up paint, and they probably have paintless dent removal specialists come by periodically to work on their inventory. These are the guys that lots of insurance companies will pay for without a deductible.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    So I am attorney of many years,

    In order…

    1. You stated “Let ’em send a bill. I’ll ignore it, and let ’em sue. Which means that litigation will only ensue if they institute it. Unlikely unless the amount is substantial.

    2. You stated Not likely. Further, I don’t need credit. I have MONEY. And I don’t believe it would be severely damaged as I’d also cc the Attorney General, the Commonwealth’s Attorney, the Corporation Commission for this fraud.

    None of which will have any bearing on your damaged credit report. Further, as has been stated, a low credit rating has resulted in the cancellation of other, unrelated credit cards. There has been some traction to outlaw this practice, but I haven’t paid attention to it lately. Additionally, credit is used to screen rental applicants for commercially and residentially, insurance policies in some states, financial accounts, etc.

    3. The various law enforcement agencies would be unlikely to be interested in this matter unless you have something more substantial to bring to the table.

  • The Original Joe S

    Thanks for your input.

  • emanon256

    I think the problems goes back to the fact that the vast majority of people don’t read this site, don’t investigate places in advance, and then only rent from the very cheapest place they find.

  • emanon256

    At that point by car was already on a truck to Chicago.

  • SoBeSparky

    No. It is right on point to always point out discrimination, blatant or implied, on the basis of ethnicity. To suggest ethnic slurs would cause “consequences” in a “bad part of town” obviously connects “bad part of town” with ethnic peoples who would be offended to the point of violence.

    Now, why would this not apply to a non-ethnic neighborhood in a “bad part of town?” You are the one who drew the distinction. We all know “ethnic” is a code word for peoples different from ourselves.

    If you cannot see your own judgmental attitude, that is proof enough my comment was on point.

  • SoBeSparky

    I would rather be a toad than believe people in a “bad part of town” are of ethnic origins. That is just blatant discrimination on the basis of color, race or national origin. There is nothing political about it, either. All men are created equal except for “ethnics” who live in the bad part of towns.

  • SoBeSparky

    I beg to differ. It is a discriminatory mindset. Bad part of town=ethnic neighborhood.

    The same people who have such a mindset are those who typically say, “Some of my best friends are…”

    Do these people know of their predisposition toward “ethnics.” I doubt it. Maybe that is why you said it was not ill intended. I would revise that to a lack of self-awareness. The ill intention is still there.

  • pauletteb

    You are far more polite than Sir Snarkiness deserves.

  • Raven_Altosk

    SCAM.
    But she should’ve never accepted the car.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Enterprise is the Ghetto of Rentals.

  • Raven_Altosk

    I may be called a “jerk* customer,” but I don’t feel like I owe anyone–much less a car-rental-counter-jockey–the “courtesy” of making his job easy by accepting sub-standard cars.

    *Word edited because now we have a filter?

  • Cybrsk8r

    What’s really needed is a “Carfax” for rental cars. Customers would input info on rental cars: Make, model, VIN, photos of any pre-existing damage, etc., into an online data base. A duplicate damage claim on the same car would be flagged and sent to the attorney general of the appropriate state. It would be really interesting to see how the rental companies react to this.

  • Cybrsk8r

    I really like that idea.

  • Cybrsk8r

    I’m going to do a proper inspection of the rental car. If there’s salt on it, that’s not my problem. That’s THEIR problem. They either get me a clean car, or I reach across the desk and tear up the contract and walk out I’ve actually done that. You should see the surprised look on a salesman’s face when I do that.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    I believe, to an extent, it already exists among insurance companies, not just for rental vehicles but for all vehicles.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    LOL. Go to court all you want. At the end of the day no company HAS to do business with you. And it was very rare but I could and did refuse to rent to people who insisted on shoving a camera in my face/taking pictures of me (taking pics of the car was fine). It’s not illegal for you to take photos and it’s also not illegal for me to deny you rental if I ask you not to take photos.

  • The Original Joe S

    Thanks for your input.

  • The Original Joe S

    I used to have layers. Got an egg a day from ’em. Good old days.

  • The Original Joe S

    I ignored a check light on a personal car. Found that the oxygen sensor went bad. Fixed it. Milage went from 16 to 25. Lesson learned.

  • The Original Joe S

    Careful! Sparky will yell at you!

  • MarkKelling

    Darn auto crrect.

  • MarkKelling

    “Bad” part of town is relative depending on your own ethnicity. A part of town you might be completely comfortable in I may see as bad or vice versa. We might even agree that certain parts of any given town are equally “bad” for both of us due to either personal experiences in those parts of town or through purely anecdotal information.

    And people get arrested all the time simply because they are perceived by the police as not belonging in the part of town where they were seen. For those arrested, it was definitely the”bad” part of town.

  • BMG4ME

    You and I probably would have asked for another car, but maybe she did and this was the only one available and the choice was this car or no car?

  • BMG4ME

    I have to admit that I’ve been renting cars for more than 30 years and I’ve only had this happen to me once, so I think it’s fair to say this is not a trick that rental car companies habitually play (although having said that, I’ve rarely used Enterprise).

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    In fairness, amongst infrequent travelers, i.e. those who don’t read/participate in travel blogs, all of the major car rental companies have good reputations.

  • Alan Gore

    Easier still: whenever I fly to another city and don’t have my own car, I take public transit. I was even able to do this in Los Angeles.

  • Cybrsk8r

    Sounds like no car would have been the better choice. I travel to Greensboro every other year and now I know NOT to rent from Enterprise.

  • Nathan Witt

    I’m curious to know how the renter could have scratched the roof of the car. Chris’s article mentions that the car was covered in salt, so I’m guessing that this was a snowy locale. I suppose it’s possible that the renter cleared snow from the roof after it was parked outside at her workplace all day, but unless she carried objects on the roof or drove along some sort of overgrown back road, I just can’t see how it would have happened otherwise. If Enterprise didn’t even wash the car before renting it out, it seems unlikely that they could be certain the damage wasn’t preexisting. I’d also like to know, from the various legal eagles around here, what burden of proof exists, if any, on Enterprise. If I lend you my car and then try to claim you damaged it when I get it back, I assume I have to be able to prove that you’re the one who actually did the damage, right? Is it different for a rental company?

  • innchfromnj

    Ok…Here’s the problem the customer has. She accepted the vehicle in the condition it was in even though she could not properly inspect the vehicle properly.
    Because she did not do her due diligence to protect herself, she has only herself to blame.

  • innchfromnj

    You stole my thunder.

  • innchfromnj

    unlikely. That would be a fraud committed by the car rental company.
    And a violation of Due Process.

  • innchfromnj

    See, your attitude is just what these compnaies want. “Don’t fight them. It will cost you big”….
    No way. The LAW is on the side of the consumer.
    In order to prevail, the company has the burden of proof. Not the customer. And in the absence of any evidence that impeaches the video or photos taken by the customer, the company is liable for damages if the customer’s credit card is charged for damage to the car they did not do.

  • innchfromnj

    Are you implying that it is ‘useless’ to make a photographic record of the pick up/drop off of a rental car simply because the rental company can in the view of some, “anything it wants”?

  • innchfromnj

    Umm. If you deny the customer the taking of photos to protect himself, you are not a reputable business. Word of mouth can destroy you rather quickly.
    Why would you want to chase the business of a savvy customer away? Got something to hide.
    BTW, when you are out in public you have no expectation of privacy.
    Your only ‘right’ is you can demand your photo not be published for public use.

  • innchfromnj

    I have news for you. You’re wrong.

  • innchfromnj

    You must live in Denmark

  • innchfromnj

    …..Take your PC nonsense to another place.
    Sick and tired of you hypersensitive PC types who go through you day looking for things with which to bother yourself.

  • innchfromnj

    and this has what to do with rental car companies?

  • innchfromnj

    when it comes to me and my bank account, I will throw a business employee under the bus faster than he can say “bus”….Non one is going to get anything by me. Trust no one

  • innchfromnj

    ef sparky

  • innchfromnj

    Enterprise core business is insurance claim type rentals.
    I used to rent from them but the manager I knew at an enterprise store left and I lost the perks he gave me.
    Enterprise does do unlimited mileage rentals. Two things. These are no charge from airport locations. But from a neighborhood location, there is a $10 day surcharge for unlimited miles outside a predetermined geographical area.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I’m dying to know how you drew that conclusion from my post.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    If you ignore bills from a collection agency, they can presume the debt is valid and ding your credit in 30 days. Your remedy is to dispute the debt within the 30 days. If the debt is not from a financial institution, then they should not ding your credit. As the previous poster stated he would ignore the demands, then his lack of diligence would be his.her undoing.

    As to the fraud, are you using fraud in the legal sense of the word. It doesn’t appear so.

  • The Original Joe S

    What are Priceline and Hotwire? :-Þ

  • The Original Joe S

    ¡No me diga!

  • The Original Joe S

    There’s always some toad who will see a racist under every rock.

  • The Original Joe S

    Yeah! Them poor Norwegians shouldn’t be castigated like that!

  • The Original Joe S

    How is it that you are the only one who equates “bad part of town” with “ethnic?”

  • The Original Joe S

    Yeah! Some of my best friends ARE Norwegian!

  • The Original Joe S

    Norway!

  • The Original Joe S

    “You have to sign this!” Well, if I have to sign it, then it’s a foregone conclusion, and therefore my signature is unnecessary, so I won’t sign it. Bless you very much!

    And, I wouldn’t sigh over the form; I’d probably sneeze over it.

  • bodega3

    They also have territory driving restrictions. For example, if I rent from one of their locations here, I can’t drive into Nevada. I have found similar restrictions at JFK.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Lol. I agree 100%

  • The Original Joe S

    Where I worked, bosso said “You have to sign this.” “I don’t have to do nothing except pay taxes and DIE.” “Everybody else signed it.” “Everybody else is a spineless idiot. You signed it, did you?”

  • Thoroughlyamused

    Which part? The Colorado law is there. Go read it.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    “And a violation of due process.”

    Go look up due process before throwing out legal terminology that is completely irrelevant.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    I love when people pretend to know about things they are really clueless about.

    Your honor, Exhibit A is a signed statement from the consumer when they picked up the vehicle saying the car was absolutely free of damage. Exhibit B is a damage report signed by the customer stating the car was returned with damage on it. Exhibit C is the prior rental agreements showing all the past rental agreements stating no damage.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    I never said the customer couldn’t take photos. They can photograph the car to their heart’s content. What I wouldn’t let them do is photograph me or my staff. And in the few instances where I turned a renter away because they were too much of a douchebag to get a camera out of my face, my corporate office backed me on it.

    I didn’t want people taking pics of me because I didn’t know where those pics would end up. In one case they ended up online because the customer was angry they had to pay for damage. Then I started getting hate messages on Facebook. You probably think that any and all damage claims are scams, but the reality is that a LOT of customers will have damage happen and then try to lie about it. But we rarely hear about those cases here.

    I may not have an expectation of privacy. But renting a car is a privilege, not a right. So while it’s not illegal for you to film a rental agent, it’s also not illegal for them to ask you to stop, and if you refuse, to refuse to rent you a car. Filling out a 60 second online reservation form which you generally don’t even put any money down for, does NOT give you the right to shove a camera in someone’s face if they don’t want it.