Rick Magill’s recent trip didn’t end well. When he and his wife returned to the Miami Airport Marriott Hotel to pick up their Infiniti from the “secure” parking lot, they found it was undrivable.
The basics of good customer service, like courtesy and attentiveness, may be free. But great service? That’s expensive.
Consider what happened to Virginia Bibliowicz’ father, who rented a car from Budget recently. Shortly after he picked up the vehicle in Knoxville, Tenn., he suffered a heart attack and died.
“When my sister and her husband returned the car later, Budget refused to let them pay the charges,” she says. “I think Budget and this rep should be commended, and they will certainly always have our business.”
Budget wants Guilhem Ibos to pay $3,000 for damage to his rental car. But wait! Is that Ibos’ rental car in the photo? No, it isn’t.
Question: I recently rented a car from Budget in Nashville and returned it to New Orleans. It was in perfect shape when I brought it back.
A few weeks ago, I received a damage claim from the company. They asked me to pay more than $3,000 for repairs.
I’m not responsible for the damage. How do I know? Well, I can tell you that I returned the rental undamaged. But there are two things about Budget’s claim that don’t make sense, either.
First, I returned the car at the Budget Rent-a-Car agency in New Orleans, specifically on Canal Street. Canal Street is in the middle of town, surrounded by buildings. But the landscape in the pictures on my damage claim is completely different. There are no buildings at all. They must have moved the car before taking pictures of it. Who’s to say it wasn’t damaged then?
When Frederick Dintzis returns his rental car to Enterprise, it tells him the car looks fine. But four hours later, all is not well. The underside of his car has been damaged, it claims. It wants him to pay for the repairs. Is that fair?
Question: I’m fighting with Enterprise about a damage claim, and I need your help. I recently rented a Hyundai Sonata. Both a manager and I inspected it and we both thought it looked OK.
When I returned the car a few days later, we did the same thing, and the manager considered the car to be in good shape and he accepted it.
About four hours later I received a phone call from the manager, claiming that there was “hidden” damage — specifically, several scratches to the underside of the car.
A few days later, I was notified by mail that a damage claim against me had been filed. My credit card was billed for $186 for paint scratches on the rocker molding, and that costs totaling $106 for “administrative” fees, loss of use and diminishment of value were waived. Included in the claim were two rather poor black-and-white photocopies of the claimed damage.
Question: My wife and I purchased a 2008 Toyota Sienna used from a dealer in her hometown in central California, a dealer where her family has purchased numerous cars over the years.
A few months ago, the oil light flickered while driving. I pulled over when it was safe and got the car towed. A pressurized oil hose had burst, and cost me just under $500 to fix, plus about $100 to tow. I contacted Toyota of America to ask why an oil hose would failed on a five-year-old van, and if the repair cost would be covered under my warranty.
You know the ding-and-dent car rental scam? Sure you do.
Rent a car, and the agents tell you “not to worry” about the little scratches and bumps on the high-mileage vehicle. But when you return it, they give it a careful once-over and pressure you to sign an incident report, acknowledging you’ll pay whatever repair bill they send you — usually something suspiciously close to your car insurance deductible.
Well, Chelsey Johnson thinks she’s a ding-and-dent victim. Let’s hand the mike over to her to hear her story.
A few months ago, Johnson rented a car from Advantage in Minneapolis.
Don’t mess with Barbara Kotzin.
Someone should have warned Enterprise before she rented a Toyota Corolla from the car rental company earlier this year. Maybe it wouldn’t have sent her the repair bill, which Kotzin claims was bogus.
Then again, maybe it would have. Hard to know.
Here’s what I do know: Kotzin’s tale of fighting what she believed to be a fraudulent damage bill, is an inspiration to anyone who thinks car rental companies are enriching themselves from frivolous damage claims.