Enterprise insane/unjustifiable "Preventative Maintenance" charge for a flat tire

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Apr 5, 2020
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I took my car to dealership for service on Oct. 24, 2019. Dealership had a rental contract with Enterprise to rent the cars to customers of the dealership. Enterprise had a counter setup inside the dealership. Mercedes dealership is located at Vancouver, BC, Canada.

I picked up the vehicle on Oct. 24th, 2019 and total mileage put on it was 328 Km. When I rented this 1st vehicle it had 35,995 Km on the odometer. I noticed during the rental that front right tire had low air. I filled the tire with the air again and noticed after few hours it was loosing air. I work little less than 8 Km (5 miles) from the dealership. My workplace has a air pump. I filled the air and drove the rental to the dealership and returned it. The person at the Enterprise counter inspected the car and noticed it has low pressure and gave me another vehicle. I put total of 842 Km on this 2nd vehicle. This 2nd vehicle had 21,083 Km on the odometer when it was given to me.

The dealership told me that they will be covering the rent of the vehicle. I returned the 2nd vehicle on Oct. 30, 2019 and rental agreement ended on the same day.

On Nov. 14th I receive an email from Enterprise. In the email only invoice was shown, and the only description of the charge was for “Preventative Maintenance” under Miscellaneous charges. My credit card was charged $562.28 CDN

I called the phone# that was shown on the invoice and got a voice mail and could not leave message as voice mail was full. The next day again I called the number and same thing so called the dealership and they told me there is nobody at the Enterprise counter. I called 1-844-307-8009 (Enterprise customer service) and spoke to the customer representative. I asked what this invoice is all about as the only thing on the invoice that states the charges are for “Preventative Maintenance Charge”. She could not explain it to me what that charge means and said she will have someone call me. I did not receive any email or a phone call so I called 2nd time and I was told by customer representative, she will escalate it further to have someone call me and have them explain what the charge is for. Did not hear from anybody from Enterprise. I called 3rd time and same response that they have now escalated it to top of the chain and someone should get back to me on this. But again no response. I called the dealership to have me talk to someone at the Enterprise counter and was told that dealership has ended the contract with Enterprise to provide rental cars to the customers and Enterprise has no presence at the dealership as of Nov. 30th, 2019. Enterprise location closed at this location. After this I called my credit card company (Capital One) and asked them to look into this charge. They started disputing the charge and finally Enterprise responded back to the credit card company and told that this charge is for “flat” tire.

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I wrote an email to [email protected] on March 9, 2020, they responded back next day that someone will get back to me from regional management, no response for a week, emailed them back, I get answer stating they have sent another reminder to regional management to give me a call. I emailed to Senior Vice President of North American Operations and no response from him but I finally get a response from regional management on March 25, 2020

Following are the questions that I had asked in my original email to [email protected]

1. When I returned the car, there was no damage to the tire, it only had a flat tire. So what this “Preventative Maintenance charge” is for $562 ? Is this how much to fix a flat tire?
2. When the rental car was returned and rental agreement ended on Oct. 30, 2019, why am I getting emailed and billed (credit card charged) for “Preventative maintenance” $562 on Nov. 14th, 2019 ?
3. What happened to the car between the Oct. 30, 2019 and Nov. 14th 2019? Fixing a flat tire takes not more than an hour.
4. The mileage on the vehicle when I took the rental was 35,995 Km. The tire was not new and was close to getting replaced.
5. Please email the picture of the tire showing me damage to the tire if there was any with time stamped and date?
6. Provide me the maintenance/inspection history of tire.
7. A picture of the mileage indicator showing the mileage on the vehicle when the damage was noted as there was no damage to the tire upon return it was looked at and confirmed by the Enterprise employee.
8. A copy of the incident report.
9. A copy of the receipt showing the tire was repaired and the cost that was paid for the repair.
10. What was the condition of the tire before renting it to me?
11. Mileage of the vehicle per your invoice.

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Answers to my above questions in the email sent to me from regional management on Mar. 25, 2020

1. $562 is the cost for one tire. The tire could not be repaired but had to be replaced.
2. The rental agreement was closed on Nov. 14th reflecting rental charges incurred from Oct. 24th to Oct. 30th. We were waiting for full rental authorization/extension from Mercedes Benz.
3. The tire could not be repaired but had to be replaced. See response to #2.
4. Yes, the tire was not new. It was replaced due to Mercedes Benz informing us that it could not be repaired.
5. There is no picture to provide.
6. There is no maintenance/inspection history of tire itself. Please let me know if you would like full maintenance/inspection history of the vehicle.
7. There is no picture of the mileage indicator showing the mileage on the vehicle when the damage was noted.
8. No incident report is created for tire repair/replacement.
9. Please see email from Mar. 25th, 2020.
10. Tire condition met tire tread depth gage requirement. At or above 4/32nd.
11. Please see email from Mar. 25th, 2020.
=============================================================================

Enterprise never answered fully my questions. I am still wondering of the points below:

Vehicle did not have any visible damage to the tire at the time I returned the vehicle. Enterprise representative did the walk around and there was no damage noticed to the vehicle and only low air pressure. I believe technically I am released once the vehicle is delivered and enterprise representative not listing damage to the tire. Why was I not notified immediately about the damage to the tire? Dealership released the vehicle back to Enterprise on Nov. 4th per the invoice emailed to me. Rather than notifying me I was emailed a invoice on Nov. 14th for $562 as "preventative maintenance charge" and nothing stating that tire had damage or flat tire and I am only finding out after 6 months from Enterprise that is what “preventative maintenance” means. Vehicle in question went into service on Sept. 1, 2017. This states that vehicle was on the road for more than 2 years accumulating 35,595 Km before I rented the vehicle on Oct. 24, 2019. Vehicle already had significant mileage, how can Enterprise prove that tire did not have damage before or compromised due to the mileage attained or damage caused by any of other rentals. I need some evidence of the tire damaged to substantiate the bill the tire indeed was damaged. A written policy that customer is responsible for full tire replacement if there is a damage and not pro-rated.

Charging $562 for fixing a flat tire is insane and does not justify.

Do I have any course of action? How should I approach them further? Can I email them back and ask the questions that I have listed under "Enterprise never answered fully?" How should I approach them further? Any possibility of getting refund for $562 CDN? Any help and assistance in resolving this matter is greatly appreciated.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
You should at least argue for a pro-rated price on the tire. You have not said what type of car or tire is involved.
Modern tires typically get 70-100, 000 km of tread life. 35,000 km is not end of serviceable life for a tire but represents 35-50% of tire life. You should also ask for the tread depth on the replaced tire as another easy of calculating future tire wear.

A new tire cost depends upon the car and tire model. A new tire may cost between $150-500+ CDN depending on the car/tire.
 
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Apr 5, 2020
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Thank you for replying back. For first vehicle I was provided Mercedes GLA.

Enterprise did reply to my question in regard to the tread depth and they said "Tire condition met tire tread depth gauge requirement. At or above 4/32nd."

Enterprise acknowledged that they do not have any picture showing me that tire was indeed damaged or what condition the tire was in before the rental.
They are going by the dealership mechanic that it can not be repaired (fix flat tire) hence needed to be replaced. They do not have any maintenance/inspection history of tire itself. No picture of the mileage indicator showing the mileage on the vehicle when the damage was noted. When I returned the vehicle Enterprise representative did the walk around and there was no damage noticed to the vehicle and only low air pressure. Enterprise did not create an incident report for tire repair/replacement.

Does my argument "Why was I not notified immediately about the damage to the tire?" hold any weight.

Dealership released the vehicle back to Enterprise on Nov. 4th per the invoice emailed to me. Rather than notifying me I was emailed an invoice on Nov. 14th for $562 as "preventative maintenance charge" and nothing stating that tire had damage or flat tire and I am only finding out after going through 6 months of ordeal from Enterprise what “preventative maintenance” meant.

Vehicle in question went into service on Sept. 1, 2017. This states that vehicle was on the road for more than 2 years accumulating 35,595 Km before I rented the vehicle on Oct. 24, 2019. Does my argument "How can Enterprise prove that tire did not have damage before or compromised due to the mileage attained or damage caused by any of other rentals" hold any weight?

Would asking Enterprise that I need some evidence of the tire damaged to substantiate the bill the tire indeed was damaged help? And a written policy that customer is responsible for full tire replacement if there is a damage and not pro-rated.

Best Regards.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
2,790
3,576
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Maui Hawaii
A non-repairable flat tire is usually a sidewall puncture/damage. Although sidewall damage is more commonly the outer sidewall, where it would be visible to normal inspection, inner sidewall damage can occur, most often due to striking road debris. This would not be visible to normal post-rental inspection without a lot of effort. Most likely when the car was placed on a lift and the tire was removed the non-repairable damage was discovered.

At what point in the rental of the first vehicle (Oct 24-??) did you notice a low tire light, and how long/far did you drive the car before returning it on Oct ??.
 
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Apr 5, 2020
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I believe noticed it on the 3rd day of the rental during the lunch hour. I had the tire filled with air as at my workplace we have air pump at our location. After about couple of hours or so I notice tire pressure is low again and while filling it with air I heard bit of hissing noise (meaning air is indeed leaking). At that time I refilled it with little extra air than recommended and drove to the dealership (Enterprise). Dealership is little less than 8 Km from my workplace. I do not recall seeing the low pressure message or light, it could be either I missed it or nothing was displayed.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
2,790
3,576
113
Maui Hawaii
I believe noticed it on the 3rd day of the rental during the lunch hour. I had the tire filled with air as at my workplace we have air pump at our location. After about couple of hours or so I notice tire pressure is low again and while filling it with air I heard bit of hissing noise (meaning air is indeed leaking). At that time I refilled it with little extra air than recommended and drove to the dealership (Enterprise). Dealership is little less than 8 Km from my workplace. I do not recall seeing the low pressure message or light, it could be either I missed it or nothing was displayed.
Hearing a hissing noise means a large hole in the tire or a faulty tire valve. If this was sidewall damage and you drove on the tire, the damage may have increased. If the damage was sidewall the tire was unrepairable anyway. Since you did not notice the low tire pressure light until the 3rd day, it is likely that this damage occurred during your rental.

Most all car rental insurance policies exclude tire damage unless you specifically buy it

The best thing is to try to negotiate a pro-rated charge based on the 30+km of previous use.
 
Jan 17, 2019
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A hissing sound can also sometimes be caused by not having the air nozzle placed firmly onto the valve stem as well.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Hearing a hissing noise means a large hole in the tire or a faulty tire valve. If this was sidewall damage and you drove on the tire, the damage may have increased. If the damage was sidewall the tire was unrepairable anyway. Since you did not notice the low tire pressure light until the 3rd day, it is likely that this damage occurred during your rental.

Most all car rental insurance policies exclude tire damage unless you specifically buy it

The best thing is to try to negotiate a pro-rated charge based on the 30+km of previous use.
I agree. There was no low tire indicator when you picked up the car? If you didn’t notice the low tire indicator until the third day, it’s quite possible that you ran over something that flattened the tire. If you didn’t get tire protection with the rental, I agree with this. You can only negotiate the cost. Find out how much that tire would cost plus balancing and try to make that offer.
 
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