Car stolen and still charged for time until it was recovered (towed / impounded) in different city. (SFO to San Jose)

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Jan 15, 2020
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I rented a vehicle on September 6 for about $50 a day including insurance which included stolen vehicle coverage. 6 days later, the vehicle was stolen on the day it was to be returned. Also on that day I went to jail on a parole violation for a little over 3 months. I told someone I knew to return it, and they said it was gone. The car was recovered a few weeks later. I was charged everyday the company did not have the car even though I did not have it. I was charged more than $1600. The company does not want to give my money back. The rental car agreement # is 3xxxxxxxx

Note: Edited by a moderator to remove rental car agreement number
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Feb 16, 2018
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Two very important things you have left out, did you report the vehicle stolen to the police and cooperate with the investigation, and did you report that the vehicle was stolen to Enterprise? If you did, how soon after the day it was to be returned? Have you gone through the process set forth in your renters insurance policy?
 
Jan 15, 2020
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Two very important things you have left out, did you report the vehicle stolen to the police and cooperate with the investigation, and did you report that the vehicle was stolen to Enterprise? If you did, how soon after the day it was to be returned? Have you gone through the process set forth in your renters insurance policy?
I did not report my car stolen cause I was in jail. And what county would I report it stolen? The one I rented it from or the last place I parked it? I couldn’t really do much while I was in jail for the 3 months. I did cooperate with the national recovery team investigator Neil Walker. I was worried ofcourse that they were going to charge me with the theft. I had no way to contact them directly for weeks because of the limited phone options (calling collect/calling an 800 number) I had an intermediary/friend try and contact the company to pass or get info and same with trying to contact the person that said they would return it. The company is saying that since I “authorized “ someone else to drive it that I am responsible. But I had to in the hopes they would get it to the company. What else was I supposed to do? I don’t know how long it was until I was able to talk to the company directly and confirm it was stolen, but they knew before I contacted them because a friend told them of the situation. Also I called within 3 days of getting out to be updated on situation. I have not gone through insurance policy, however the rep that rented the car verbally confirmed I would not be charged anything if the car was damaged or stolen if I got the insurance.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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You should re-write with bullet points in the approximate date order.

Use of the terms "he," "they," "them" "the person," are not helpful as those terms are confusing.

If you have insurance, report the claim. In writing.

It is unclear as to whether you allowed someone else to drive the car who was not an authorized driver other than the friend you asked to return the car who discovered it stolen.

If you rent a car, and get busted on rental day 6 for a parole violation, and spend 90 days in lockup, and, upon release, find the rented car still on the driveway where you left it, and promptly return it to the rental agency, I would figure you owe for 96 days of use. If the car was stolen, and you have insurance for theft, the insurance should pay the rental agency its loss as covered by the insurance policy.
 
Jan 15, 2020
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You should re-write with bullet points in the approximate date order.

Use of the terms "he," "they," "them" "the person," are not helpful as those terms are confusing.

If you have insurance, report the claim. In writing.

It is unclear as to whether you allowed someone else to drive the car who was not an authorized driver other than the friend you asked to return the car who discovered it stolen.

If you rent a car, and get busted on rental day 6 for a parole violation, and spend 90 days in lockup, and, upon release, find the rented car still on the driveway where you left it, and promptly return it to the rental agency, I would figure you owe for 96 days of use. If the car was stolen, and you have insurance for theft, the insurance should pay the rental agency its loss as covered by the insurance policy.
•September 6 -I rented car at SFO from national (for 6 days)
•September 12 -I went to jail (car was not returned)
•September 12 -my friend went to return car and it was not where I parked it
•September (end) vehicle recovered in casino in San Jose
•December 18- got out of jail and left messages with national to have the risk manager contact me about unapproved $1600+ Charge
•January 5- spoke to Dante as risk manager and he will not be giving me back funds while they did not have vehicle.

The insurance I have was what I purchased through national. The company claims two things, (1) That insurance covers damage to vehicle if the car is stolen, not that I don’t pay for the car if it is stolen. And (2) that I authorized another person to drive the vehicle.

On the first point; that is not what the rep told me before I purchased the insurance. What kind of insurance doesn’t cover the car being stolen? Next, I authorized someone else to return car. But they never did. So while they could have driven it back to company that never took place.

Furthermore, getting my property out of vehicle has been futile. Should I contact my own insurance company AAA for vehicle theft, does it cover me in another vehicle?
 
Jan 11, 2019
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Did you leave a key in the car or did you leave the key with your friend? Where was the car parked when you were arrested? I feel like there's more to the narrative, but maybe you're shortening it to make it easier to write. I think the answers, which the car rental place will also ask, will determine the outcome. If they suspect the friend used it and just didn't return it, then you'd out of luck. Hopefully you can set them straight. Once you rent a car, it's totally your responsibility to return it in the same shape you've received it. They don't really care what the reasons are unfortunately. Good luck.
 

Neil Maley

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Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
"Next, I authorized someone else to return car. But they never did. So while they could have driven it back to company that never took place. "

That is a huge problem.Did your "friend" move it or use it? That isn't a stolen car as far as the insurance or car rental is concerned - you violated the terms of the agreement by giving an unauthorized person permission to use the car.

At this point, I think you need an attorney to handle this.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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I agree with Neil. This is definitely a legal issue and you could get burned big time without good advice. In the interim, compose a list of ALL the facts in chronological order. This will allow your counsel to size up the situation quickly. I'm afraid that you rented the car and you're responsible for it. National isn't going to look much further than that. I'm sorry that this happened.
 
Feb 16, 2018
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If you authorized someone lose to drive the car, you are responsible for the return of the car, the person you authorized to operate the vehicle was given permission to drive the car, therefore it was not stolen. You may be able to make a case for operation without consent, as the person failed to return as per your instructions. But you would need to file a police report.
 
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Jun 24, 2019
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Often authorizing another person who is not on the rental contract to drive a rental car voids the collision damage waiver.

A lawyer is a good suggestion.
I do not believe the CDW is implicated in OP's post. The car was turned in late (recovered in San Jose) and OP is being charged for that.
 
Jun 13, 2018
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If I understand correctly this is the sceneario

The OP rents a car due back on day X
OP is incarcerated so the OP can't return the car on day X
OP asks Friend to return the car for him and tells friend the car is parked at location Y
Friend goes to location Y and the car isn't there because it was stolen
OP can't tell the rental place it was stolen because OP is incarcerated.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
22,910
22,856
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
If I understand correctly this is the sceneario

The OP rents a car due back on day X
OP is incarcerated so the OP can't return the car on day X
OP asks Friend to return the car for him and tells friend the car is parked at location Y
Friend goes to location Y and the car isn't there because it was stolen
OP can't tell the rental place it was stolen because OP is incarcerated.
One question- where did the friend get the keys to go and get the car if this was the scenario?
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Change the facts a bit. Let's say OP rents a car, takes some optional coverages, and during the rental the car is stolen, through no fault of the renter. OP then promptly reports the theft. The car is recovered a few weeks later and returned to the rental company.

The question is whether the theft insurance (or CDW) covers damage to the car, if any, and whether theft insurance covers loss of use and "administrative fees." That requires someone, most likely a lawyer, to review the insurance coverage and see what is included, as well as to evaluate whether any of the coverage may be voided through any action by the renter, such as allowing an unauthorized driver.

It seems like these are questions beyond the scope of this forum. We can advise that OP self-advocate, but he already has a denial. The suggestion of consulting a lawyer seems wise.
 
Feb 3, 2019
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Once you rent a car, it's totally your responsibility to return it in the same shape you've received it. They don't really care what the reasons are unfortunately.
This is it in a nutshell. OP was responsible for returning the car as agreed. OP did not.

It remains unclear who had access to the car, Who finally reported it stolen - to the police as well as to National - and when? If nobody told National the car was missing, it only makes sense that they kept charging whatever rate was in effect after the original rental period ended, as well as any applicable fees, per the rental contract OP signed.

I concur that this is beyond the scope of this for him, and OP may wish to consult with a lawyer who can help sort this out.