Ridiculous or not? Just ignore those dings and dents – your bill is in the mail

With all the recent stories about questionable damage claims on rental cars, it’s no surprise that motorists like Mike Weaver would insist on inspecting his vehicle before renting it. Or that he expects to note every ding and dent before he drives away.

If you’re not familiar with what some call the ding-and-dent scam, here’s a primer: You rent a car, and for whatever reason, pre-existing damage isn’t recorded in your contract. Maybe it’s a dark parking garage. Maybe you just don’t see it.
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Enterprise’s Van Horn: Vehicle damage recovery is “not a profit center”

Roger Van Horn is the vice president for corporate loss control at Enterprise Holdings, which owns Enterprise, National and Alamo. Since I’ve received a lot of recent questions about car rental damage claims — many from Enterprise customers — I wanted to ask him a few questions about what happens when a car is dinged or scratched.

How is the rental process supposed to work, in terms of inspecting a vehicle for pre-existing damages?

We conduct a pre-rental vehicle inspection, which includes cleaning, refueling, necessary maintenance and damage review, for all of our brands. Our Enterprise Rent-A-Car service model involves employee interaction with every customer during the vehicle selection process. This allows us to make a physical inspection with our customer – before a rental car is driven off the lot.

Our Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental service models don’t involve employee interaction unless questions arise, so cars are not inspected in the presence of customers at the commencement of the rental. Because accidents are an unfortunate fact of life, some of our Alamo and National customers do personally inspect rental cars for additional peace of mind and to provide them a clear understanding of the overall condition of the vehicle from the start of the rental period.

Regardless of brand, it is our normal practice to inspect the vehicle upon return with the customer present.
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Is this the end of the car rental “ding” scam?

dingRecent news that Hertz would begin photographing its cars before they’re rented got me wondering: What about the “ding” scams that have made the car rental industry millions of dollars over the last few years?

You know, the one where you rent a car, return it completely undamaged, and a representative points to a tiny ding or scratch on the roof or the underbelly, where you couldn’t have possibly known to check for pre-existing damage.

Is this the end?
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