AVIS Damage Claim

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Sep 28, 2016
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Hello,
I rented a car from Avis in Starkville, MS. I inspected the car before leaving lot. No damages to it. When we returned it, we parked it and went to the AVIS counter. A young rep took care of us and processed our bill. I paid. He never mentioned we should check the car or he never inspected the car at the time of payment. We completed the transaction and off we went. Two weeks later, I received a call from the AVIS rep in Starkville saying I had done damage to the car and that I was responsible for it. I asked why he had not called me earlier as soon as he had noticed the damage. He acknowledged 15 days had passed since I had dropped off the vehicle and that the vehicle had been rented after my rental period and claimed he had been able to check for damage in between. I informed him I had visually inspected the vehicle prior to returning the keys at the counter and that he had not inspected the car at the time of return. I made sure he understood I was not accepting any of the claims for damage. He said he would refer the case to another company. A week later, I received a call from a claims management company in San Antonio and they were ready for me to provide a credit card number for the damage I had incurred. Again, I explained I could not accept responsibility since I had not done it. I wrote a letter to the company asking for a copy of the Missed Damage Report along with time stamped pictures that accompany such reports and are standard practice with this type of inquire (the Missed Damage Report must be filed and the customer must be contacted -voicemail counts as contacted- within 48 HOURS of the return of the vehicle, which AVIS failed to do). I also requested information regarding whether the vehicle was driven from the time I returned it to when the Missed Damage Report was filed. I sent this request (for all the documents) on July 28th (none of the above mentioned paper work has been sent to me). On Friday, September 23rd, I received a call and an email from the claims office stating that he was following up on the claim and that I had done damage to the car and that he was willing to lower the price of the cost of the damage. This is when I googled this forum and decided to get more opinions on what to do or how to deal with this issue. I would really appreciate any help or direction.
Thank you! carrentalcase
 
Feb 9, 2016
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First of all STOP the phone calls!

You have a very strong case. Unfortunately it is all verbal. From here on out only email/write them.

You need to decide if you want to try and resolve this with the agent you are dealing with, or move up and start emailing the executives at the rental car company. In my opinion, given what you know, you may be able to solve this at the level you are at.

Take your above post and turn it into a list of bulleted points.

Read this
http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-deal-with-a-car-rental-damage-claim.1514/

And here are the executive contacts for Avis/Budget in case you decide to go that route
http://elliott.org/company-contacts/avis-budget/

We have a lawyer that contributes to the forum. Let me go get some of his verbiage that you can include in your letter to alert these idiots that they are really dealing with the wrong person.

BRB
 
Feb 9, 2016
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Modify these as necessary

(Lawyer) @Joe Farrell response letter when you are contacted about damage:

Dear xxx:
I did not damage your client's car. I deny I owe them, or you - any money.
If you believe I am responsible, please provide within 10 days . . . [insert the standard ELLIOT requests here]
I require a signed original of the assignment of claim. This must be executed by a corporate officer of the assignor such that the signature is legible and the person can be located and contacted to verify the document and their status. Please provide the information of the entity which assigned the claim to your company.
If we do not receive all of hte above information within 10 business days, I will close my file on this matter.

You have not provided information sufficient to prove loss of use, actual damage or actual liability on my part. I require a photograph of the vehicle when it was picked up establishing your claim of no damage. Otherwise, this devolves into a he said / she said where absent independent and timely evidence you are unable to prove the condition of the vehicle at the outset.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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Again, modify as you like. here is @Joe Farrell own respionse when he was accused of damaging a rental car

Dear Hertz Euro Damage control:

I received your claim for damage to the rental vehicle.

I deny that I damaged your property.

I revoke all authority to charge my credit card.

Did you not notice that we obtained and paid for collision damage waiver on this rental? So even if we are liable - we are not liable given the CDW and your obviously claim the damage occurred while the vehicle was moving, thereby activating CDW..

Moreover, attached is the turn in form from Hertz Inverness, signed by 'Thomas,' acknowledging no damage to the vehicle.

Please provide the following:

a) rental forms for the five rentals preceding mine and all rentals subsequent;

b) vehicle condition reports for the vehicle for all rentals;

c) surveillance video still photographs of the vehicle at rental and turn in;

d) a copy of all estimates and receipts for claimed damage;

e) explanation of why CDW does not cover the damage regardless of your claims.

Upon presentation of the above, I shall be happy to determine whether there is liability based on the information presented. Be advised that Hertz corporate will be receiving a copy of your false claim, and they should be in touch as well.
 
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Feb 9, 2016
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More Joe Wisdom

You may sign a contract which contains provision that you are responsible for all damage occurring to the vehicle 'while in your possession,' but how do they prove it happened while in your possession? Unless you admit to doing it - or they have visual evidence to the contrary.

The terms make you liable - if they can prove it. All of these damage claims are not about the technical contract language - they are about what the claimant can prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence. An absolute contract provision that 'damage is your fault pay up regardless of proof' is called a forfeiture clause and those have never been in enforced in US jurisprudence in consumer contracts.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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Joe says...

But the actual claim is a tort claim by the car rental company for after discovered damage,' not a contract claim - even though they like to threaten contract damages.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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this letter is more geared towards a collections agency but there is relevant verbiage in it.

The letter to collections simple:

"I deny I caused your client any damage. Your client has not proven the damage, either in causation or amount, to a preponderance of the evidence despite request. you have made an empty demand without proof and I insist you follow the rules to obtain and provide proof of loss and every element of damage claimed.

I have previously asked your client for certain information they have not provided to date to establish the enforceability of their claim. Thus. I deny your claim and deny that I owe your client anything.

I invoke all rights under the Fair Credit Billing and Collection Act and request no further contact from your business. I invite you to sue me to complete this transaction quickly. Be advised that I significant defenses at law and equity and that the contract I signed, which you are trying to collect, contains a mutual attorneys fee clause by operation of law.

If you decide to report this to a credit reporting bureau you are required to report my disputation of the entire claim. Failure to do so accurately will result in legal action for defamation. Given your client's lack of any proof of damage or amount, other than their say so, I invite litigation to resolve this matter timely.
 
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Sep 28, 2016
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Just use our process. In almost every case the claims get dropped.

And before you rent again, read our tips on how to protect yourself when renting a car. You needed pictures when you picked it up and dropped it off. All you would have had to do was reply to the original request with your photos.
Definitely. No repeats!
 
Sep 28, 2016
7
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Modify these as necessary

(Lawyer) @Joe Farrell response letter when you are contacted about damage:

Dear xxx:
I did not damage your client's car. I deny I owe them, or you - any money.
If you believe I am responsible, please provide within 10 days . . . [insert the standard ELLIOT requests here]
I require a signed original of the assignment of claim. This must be executed by a corporate officer of the assignor such that the signature is legible and the person can be located and contacted to verify the document and their status. Please provide the information of the entity which assigned the claim to your company.
If we do not receive all of hte above information within 10 business days, I will close my file on this matter.

You have not provided information sufficient to prove loss of use, actual damage or actual liability on my part. I require a photograph of the vehicle when it was picked up establishing your claim of no damage. Otherwise, this devolves into a he said / she said where absent independent and timely evidence you are unable to prove the condition of the vehicle at the outset.
Thanks so much!
 
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Jun 13, 2016
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Ask them to prove the damage was caused during your rental by providing evidence:
- A copy of your original agreement and a copy of the paperwork given to you when you returned the car.

- Time stamped and dated pictures of the damage

- The rental agreements from the five people who rented the car before you and the five that rented if after (this will force them to look at the paperwork for anyone before or after who returned it after you that may have caused the damage)

- A picture of the mileage indicator showing the mileage on the car when the damage was noted.(Compare it to the mileage when you turned the car in).

- A copy of the fleet utilization log

- A copy of the incident report

- A copy of the receipt showing the car was repaired and the cost that was paid for the repair.

- A copy of the license plate number on the car to ensure it is the car you rented.

I asked for these things and received some, but never got all of them because they either didn't exist or didn't fit their narrative that I caused the damage. Keep asking for these, realize that they will take their sweet time and use bully tactics so you will want to just throw your hands up and pay to be done, but they will eventually drop their claim when they cannot prove you caused the damage. The fact they they are already willing to lower the price is a red flag that anything you do pay for this "damage" is basically free money to them...

Also, being polite, yet firm, will get you way further than sinking to their level.
 
Jan 25, 2016
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More Joe Wisdom

You may sign a contract which contains provision that you are responsible for all damage occurring to the vehicle 'while in your possession,' but how do they prove it happened while in your possession? Unless you admit to doing it - or they have visual evidence to the contrary.

The terms make you liable - if they can prove it. All of these damage claims are not about the technical contract language - they are about what the claimant can prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence. An absolute contract provision that 'damage is your fault pay up regardless of proof' is called a forfeiture clause and those have never been in enforced in US jurisprudence in consumer contracts.
this should be the name of a new section: "More Joe Wisdom" ... it would be one of the most popular sections of the site (along with the Good News section).
 
Sep 28, 2016
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Hello All,
As posted previously, I have one of those car rental cases in my hands as we speak. It is so upsetting to say the least! and the time, the time!!!!!!!! that goes into disputing the claim. But, I need more help.

I wrote the Avis Customer Service Department first. Gave them almost a week to repond and nothing. I went to the first contact in the AVIS Executives list and sent her a letter stating basically what I had shared at the very beginning of my posts and specifying I needed documents: time stamped, pictures, logs, missed damage report, etc.

The executive letter got me a response from the Executive Claims Manager who said he would look into it and contact another Claims Manager and that he would get back to me.

I just received a letter this morning, via email. In it, an attached document showing a drawing of the car with a list of different damages to it and dates for the damages. There is damage listed for June 28th, which is when I returned the car. The attachment has a document with two parts: one with the drawings of the car and a list of damages ( I believe it is an internal document), and another document where I signed and it only says there is no hail damage. I did not sign on the damage log that AVIS is including in the documents they sent me this morning!!!

The documents come with the following message from AVIS:

"We have received a reply from our Claims Manager. They have provided the enclosed documents to support the damage charge linked with your rental. Based upon this information and the findings of our investigation we are unable to refund the charge. We regret any inconvenience this decision may cause.

Thank you for giving us this opportunity to be of assistance to you. We look forward to serving your future car rental needs.


Sincerely,

James Tucker

Avis Budget Group

Executive Resolution Coordinator


I have not responded to this email. AVIS has not submitted the documents I asked for (recommended in this blog).

I would really appreciate any help and input. I cannot tell you how upset I feel about this. I am not sure what the next step is and I am concerned that this could affect my credit history.
Thanks.
 
Jun 13, 2016
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Hello All,
As posted previously, I have one of those car rental cases in my hands as we speak. It is so upsetting to say the least! and the time, the time!!!!!!!! that goes into disputing the claim. But, I need more help.

I wrote the Avis Customer Service Department first. Gave them almost a week to repond and nothing. I went to the first contact in the AVIS Executives list and sent her a letter stating basically what I had shared at the very beginning of my posts and specifying I needed documents: time stamped, pictures, logs, missed damage report, etc.

The executive letter got me a response from the Executive Claims Manager who said he would look into it and contact another Claims Manager and that he would get back to me.

I just received a letter this morning, via email. In it, an attached document showing a drawing of the car with a list of different damages to it and dates for the damages. There is damage listed for June 28th, which is when I returned the car. The attachment has a document with two parts: one with the drawings of the car and a list of damages ( I believe it is an internal document), and another document where I signed and it only says there is no hail damage. I did not sign on the damage log that AVIS is including in the documents they sent me this morning!!!

The documents come with the following message from AVIS:

"We have received a reply from our Claims Manager. They have provided the enclosed documents to support the damage charge linked with your rental. Based upon this information and the findings of our investigation we are unable to refund the charge. We regret any inconvenience this decision may cause.

Thank you for giving us this opportunity to be of assistance to you. We look forward to serving your future car rental needs.


Sincerely,

James Tucker

Avis Budget Group

Executive Resolution Coordinator


I have not responded to this email. AVIS has not submitted the documents I asked for (recommended in this blog).

I would really appreciate any help and input. I cannot tell you how upset I feel about this. I am not sure what the next step is and I am concerned that this could affect my credit history.
Thanks.
You do not need to tell me how upset you are--I was there! I was in a constant state of anxiety all summer as I disputed my $2000 claim, continued to dispute, and asserted and continued to assert! And then they come back without the information you request and a very official statement that makes you feel like there is no way out. Still very fresh in my mind!

I would thank them very much for responding and sending some documentation, but reply that you have not received all of the items you requested and of the items received, none serve to establish the enforceability of their claim. Continue requesting... they will almost certainly not send your claim to collections while it is open and being disputed (it won't affect your credit history until they do and the collection agency reports to the credit bureaus), and if they do, they must cite that the claim is being disputed (does not hurt to remind them of that).

I would say in addition to this response, to continue climbing the ladder of executive contacts provided by Elliott, but I'm only going from my recent experience, wait for the experts to chime in!

I basically had this back and forth with the "Damage Recovery Unit" at Alamo for most of the 4 months I was doing this. I'd request the information, they'd send some and say that I still had an outstanding balance. So I'd email the next person and wait for weeks at a time and the DRU would send a bill again. I can't believe they are claiming you are responsible when all they are showing is a paper with marks on it! They are pretty bold.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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@carrentalcase The damage log that AVIS is sending you, you say you did not sign that, does it have your signature on it? are you saying that Avis has forged that document?
 
Feb 9, 2016
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@carrentalcase

I would reply to the person/email who sent you that information.

Dear Mister Tucker,

thank you for the reply and the information.

I did not cause the damage in question. I do not know when this damage occurred to the vehicle but it did not occur as a result of my negligence, or during my rental period. Therefore, I request that you close this case against me immediately.

My original email/request asked for specific documentation which I did not receive in your reply. In an effort to assist you in determining when this damage occurred, I will need all documentation requested.

The documentation I did not receive was:

List item A
list item B
(all can be found here) http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-deal-with-a-car-rental-damage-claim.1514/

The items being requested above are the same items that would be a part of the standard discovery process, should this matter move into a legal arena. Therefore, I see no reason why they should not be produced in a timely matter.

In a combined effort to resolve this matter, please reply with all documentation within 10 business days. If documentation is not received within 10 business days, I will consider this claim vacated and will close my file on this matter.

Thank you again for your time, attention and cooperation in this matter
sincerely
@carrentalcase
 
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