Sixt informs 4 students to wait for invoice for burning clutch; Vehicle driven 100km

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Apr 23, 2016
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Dear all,

We are a group of students on a 6-months exchange programme in multiple universities across Europe.
We decided to rent a car for our road-trip in Spain on the 6th April till the 11th of April 2016.

Our itinerary was supposed to be Barcelona > Valencia > Madrid.
Unfortunately, our vehicle broke down on the 8th (morning) at around 9:30am, just when we were about to move out for Monserrat Monastery (prior to that we haven't even driven much as most of the attractions in Barcelona are all in the city centre!)

We had only started driving for about 15 minutes when the car started to smoke and surrounding drivers told us to pull over. Due to our inability to converse in Spanish, we decided to approach a shopkeeper there to help us make an emergency call to Sixt for help.IMG_9572.JPG IMG_9576.JPG
  • Sixt told us within 30 minutes, a taxi will be sent over to bring us back to Barcelona airport where they will issue a new vehicle for us while they will tow our vehicle back FOC.
  • Unfortunately, we were stuck at the same area <<Place Francesc Macia, 1 08021 Barcelona>> for 3.5 hours (even though the airport is just 20mins away from where we were).
  • This thoroughly undermined our initial itinerary. And we asked them for some form of compensation
Unfortunately, at the airport, Sixt said that it was the tow-truck's driver's fault (they outsource the vehicle recovery team i believe) for going to the wrong location which resulted in this whole delay; hence nothing they can do aka "not our problem". We requested for compensation but they only gave us "Free Upgrade on Next Booking".
  • As students leaving Europe by the end of this month, this compensation was totally silly* as we won't be using it anytime soon
  • The staff did not seem interested in helping us at all. Giving the "its just company policy" attitude.
Nevertheless, we continued with our trip because we did not want to lose more time. After the trip we returned the next car in flawless condition. However, 2 days ago Sixt sent us an email stating that we "ABUSED" the vehicle which resulted in the clutch from burning with the vehicle that brokedown.

We are gutted that the mechanic seems to be pushing the blame to us and wants to charge us for this event.

I would like you to know that:
  1. We rented a car with a sole purpose to enjoying a holiday in Spain (why would we jeopardise our trip by abusing the vehicle at the start of our trip; incident happened on the 2nd day out of our 6 day trip)
  2. We were driving only within the city of Barcelona for the first two days (no speeding or off road driving)
  3. We rented manual transmission vehicles before in France and Iceland earlier this year and we never faced any issues before (proof of our ability to drive)
  4. In fact, you can see for yourself that the second vehicle sent to us was returned to Sixt in perfect condition
  5. With my experience, no vehicle will burn out its clutch within 15 minutes of driving unless it was wear and tear.
Here are the statistics of the vehicles rented:
Vehicle 4663JKX > driven 103km (Broke-down)
Vehicle 3967JKW > driven 1104km

Currently, I am waiting for their formal invoice for the repair payment and I really hope justice can be served and that admin can assist me on this issue.
  1. Sixt's poor customer service attitude (Barcelona team), Madrid team was commendable and tried to assist us in lodging the complaint to their counterparts at Barcelona.
  2. Customer service unit did not put themselves in our shoes
  3. Had the audacity to blame it on us for ABUSING their vehicle? I have my license for 6 years and I always handle my vehicles with care. It is an insult to just push the blame to us and charge us for their poorly maintained vehicles.
If they want to charge a $1000 euros to my account, I will not give in without a fight.

Elliot's advocate, please assist!

*subbed out offensive word. Moderator
 

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Last edited:
Feb 9, 2016
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I am in no way a senior advocate but here is definitely where you should start

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

And here are the executive emails from this site
http://elliott.org/company-contacts/sixt/

If one or more does not work please inform the site so they can be corrected.

You are absolutely in a great position to be able to make this go away because that car did not have a brand new clutch when you rented it, and it did have an amazing number of different drivers using it, thru the life of the rental service of the car. It's going to be VERY easy to prove you are not responsible for the situation. Stop taking to them on the phone, require all communication be via email so that you will have a paper trail. Follow the link above, having to do with damage, and get that trail started.

I couldn't/didn't read your entire post because it was really long. I do think, before you start asking for compensation for their inability to swap a rental out in a timely manner, you should first focus on getting the mechanical issue off of your financial plate.

I'm sure the more senior advocates will chime in at some point, and feel free to post more information, updates, questions as this all plays out. We are here for help and we want to know how it is going, so we can help the next person.

Good luck.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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and definitely, in all correspondence, keep it poignant and stick to the facts. Emotion is unnecessary and lengthy letters will cause the reader to skim, or avoid reading all together.
 
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Jan 5, 2015
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I am in no way a senior advocate but here is definitely where you should start

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

And here are the executive emails from this site
http://elliott.org/company-contacts/sixt/

If one or more does not work please inform the site so they can be corrected.

You are absolutely in a great position to be able to make this go away because that car did not have a brand new clutch when you rented it, and it did have an amazing number of different drivers using it, thru the life of the rental service of the car. It's going to be VERY easy to prove you are not responsible for the situation. Stop taking to them on the phone, require all communication be via email so that you will have a paper trail. Follow the link above, having to do with damage, and get that trail started.

I couldn't/didn't read your entire post because it was really long. I do think, before you start asking for compensation for their inability to swap a rental out in a timely manner, you should first focus on getting the mechanical issue off of your financial plate.

I'm sure the more senior advocates will chime in at some point, and feel free to post more information, updates, questions as this all plays out. We are here for help and we want to know how it is going, so we can help the next person.

Good luck.
The only thing I should add is not to email all the executives at once if you need to contact them. Start at the bottom of the chain and work your way up as needed.

Great response, @sas80! :D
 
Aug 28, 2015
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Perhaps they threw your letter out bc you used the word, "retarded"? If an employee told me they received a letter with that word so they threw it out I would say ok. I would also stop reading right there. Thats probably what happened. If you you are more comfortable corresponding in a different language then you may want to write them in your native language.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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Perhaps they threw your letter out bc you used the word, "retarded"? If an employee told me they received a letter with that word so they threw it out I would say ok. I would also stop reading right there. Thats probably what happened. If you you are more comfortable corresponding in a different language then you may want to write them in your native language.
Ah! I missed that you used that word - probably b/c your post was long. But @AAGK makes a really good point - always keep it professional, no matter how insolent you feel the other party is being. You do catch more flies with honey. In this case I am very confident you can successfully maneuver your way out of this situation, provided you follow the advice of the links and the forum, so be sure to keep it specific, facts only (no emotion) and professiolnal.

Telling someone they are retarded in correspondence not only will piss them off, but it also SHOWS them that you are running scared. Never show your poker hand. Be confident. Play it close to the vest and fake it till you make it.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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Zack, you've been properly chastised for using the word retarded. You also need to lose any profanity, it makes you look bad.

The facts are that car rental companies all over the world are on a tear to increase their profits by accusing their customers of wrecking their cars. It's like an epidemic. First thing is to forget about "compensation" for your lost time, that's a non-starter.

Respond to Sixt bill by politely (yes I know, but grit your teeth) advising them that you did not damage their vehicle and request that the claim be dropped. Avoid all emotion and keep it short and concise. That often works right away.

If Sixt wants to play hardball, use our thread and the Company Contacts. Contact each executive up the ladder, waiting a week for a response. If Sixt is HQd in Europe, I'd allow two weeks between submissions. Working this problem methodically usually results in a closed file. Good luck and please let us know the outcome.
 
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Apr 23, 2016
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Thank you all for ur replies/responses!
I really allowed anger to get the better of me and I am sorry for that. Guess I'll use a softer approach in my future responses.
 
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Neil Maley

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Thank you all for ur replies/responses!
I really allowed anger to get the better of me and I am sorry for that. Guess I'll use a softer approach in my future responses.
Hopefully this is a well lesson learned. "Retarded" is a terrible word to use to describe anything and it turned all of us off. It's derogatory and very unprofessional when you are trying to get results from a complaint.

You won't get compensation for time lost. Your argument is going to be in you proving that you didn't cause the clutch damage because you had the car for 2 days before the incident. The fact you were only driving in the city is relevant because city driving is worse in a clutch than highway driving.

Use our information in the story we pointed you to and ask about getting the records of the five prior rentals before yours to see if you see any record of problems with the rental.

Did you buy their insurance?
 
Apr 23, 2016
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Hopefully this is a well lesson learned. "Retarded" is a terrible word to use to describe anything and it turned all of us off. It's derogatory and very unprofessional when you are trying to get results from a complaint.

You won't get compensation for time lost. Your argument is going to be in you proving that you didn't cause the clutch damage because you had the car for 2 days before the incident. The fact you were only driving in the city is relevant because city driving is worse in a clutch than highway driving.

Use our information in the story we pointed you to and ask about getting the records of the five prior rentals before yours to see if you see any record of problems with the rental.

Did you buy their insurance?
Sadly we didnt buy their insurance because it was not our first time renting cars in Europe. As we had rather pleasant experiences under Eurocar and Bluerental, we thought a popular provider like Sixt should be even safer to rent from.

Also, we will update you people as soon as I get a reply from Sixt. We have already followed the measures that your team has provided us with.
 
Apr 23, 2016
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@Zack Yeo - you'll get nothing from me because you do not know how to right a polite letter asking for compensation or reconsideration of a damage claim. The attitude expressed in the letter, entitlement mentality we're smarter than you, makes me lean toward you did damage the vehicle-and not that yo are innocent. The whole ' hey, its rental' mentality is all through what you have written.

Yuo will want us to represent and help you - so let me ask you some questions:

1. Explain the discrepancy between 40- km claimed in the title and the 103km acknowledged in the body of the thread
2. Do you drive an manual transmission as your regular vehicle?
3. How often, in the last year, have you driven a manual transmission vehicle outside renting?
4. Identify the vehicles you have driven in the last year.
5. Do you own a vehicle? If so, what? and finally
6. How many miles do you get between breke rebuilds and clutch repair.

Finally - you lied right off the bat. The documents you show revealed you drove the car 103km. Not the 40km you put in the headline.

Anywer my questions above we shall see where we go from here.
Hey Joe,

Sorry for appearing rude in the article. I was fuming when I was writing the thread as I felt that we have been cheated. Just to inform the team at Elloitt, we did not use "retarded" or profanities during our official correspondence with Sixt. And I am sorry for using strong wrongs in the forum as again, I was really angry when I started this thread.

Moving on to answering your questions, the title is misleading and i will change it.
  1. Initially I wrote 40km because that was our planned route estimate on googlemaps.
6th April: Airport > Camp Nou > Santi Jordi Hostel (park)
7th April: Hostel > Monserrat (broke down at Place Francesc Macia)

It was only in the later stages when I went to read the mileage receipt that I found out that we have driven 108km (probably due to finding parking slots and driving into wrong routes (we did not have a GPS in our vehicle). Sorry for the misleading title, will have it changed immediately.

2. In Singapore no, we drive Automatic transmission
3. Nil.
4. My experience driving manual vehicles come from my time as a Transport Supervisor from 2012-2014.
  • Landrover Series III Defender 110
  • MB290
  • Unimog
  • Iveco 3 ton
  • and
  • Earlier this year Panda Fiat in France
5. Toyota Wish
6. Back at home, 10,000km or 1/2 a year the vehicle is sent for servicing.

And Joe, I really have no intention to cheat here. I just hope that this case can be settled before I leave France for home.
 
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Aug 31, 2015
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Don't turn around . . . .
As you might suspect the rest of my inquiry deals with your driving history . . . .and reasons that Sixt is right.

So lets get that answered as well - because I started driving in 1975 driving a three on the tree. And I generally get ab out 100,000 miles out of my clutches - which means my throw out bearing generally fails before the clutch lining wears out.

The other point is if someone really knows how to drive a manual transmission - you dont really need a clutch - I would have been easily able to get the vehicle started out of gear, and driven back to the car lot in about 10 min - ever heard of speed shifting? Matching the engine rpm to gear rpm and shifting that way??
 
Feb 9, 2016
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As you might suspect the rest of my inquiry deals with your driving history . . . .and reasons that Sixt is right.

So lets get that answered as well - because I started driving in 1975 driving a three on the tree. And I generally get ab out 100,000 miles out of my clutches - which means my throw out bearing generally fails before the clutch lining wears out.

The other point is if someone really knows how to drive a manual transmission - you dont really need a clutch - I would have been easily able to get the vehicle started out of gear, and driven back to the car lot in about 10 min - ever heard of speed shifting? Matching the engine rpm to gear rpm and shifting that way??
I know how to bump start a manual transmission car but I didn't know about speed shifting. There was one time when my manual transmission car wouldn't let me put it into second gear. At first the car would pop out of second gear as I released the clutch so I would have to hold the gear shift in place. Eventually that didn't work, so I learned how to drive going from 1st to 3rd gear. That was such a great car :)
 
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Don't turn around . . . .
I know how to bump start a manual transmission car but I didn't know about speed shifting. There was one time when my manual transmission car wouldn't let me put it into second gear. At first the car would pop out of second gear as I released the clutch so I would have to hold the gear shift in place. Eventually that didn't work, so I learned how to drive going from 1st to 3rd gear. That was such a great car :)
If the transmission is broken [as in the perhaps the synchro has broken between 1st and 2nd or 2nd and 3rd] so a gear is sticking - provides that challenge. But in a simple manual transmission and your clutch materiel has burned up and you're on the metal - then we have to get past the clutch to engage the gear - so what you need to do is match revs - when you are upshifting you are matching faster spinning gear to a slower one so you need to let up on the gas to slow down the fly wheel to the speed of the gear - its most effective between 2nd and 4th . . . . downshiftig is easy - you let up on the gas, then lets up on the pressure on the flywheel and you just pop it into neutral.

Most drivers with lots of experience usually shift into second gear anyway instead of first to start off. Less rpm, less stress on motor and tranny.

Did you know how to test your clutch? Engine about 1000 rpm, slip it into 2nd, if it stalls you're good to go. If not, its slipping... .
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Sadly we didnt buy their insurance because it was not our first time renting cars in Europe. As we had rather pleasant experiences under Eurocar and Bluerental, we thought a popular provider like Sixt should be even safer to rent from.

th.

Anytime you travel without buying insurance be it to cover your trip in case you can't go, or if you are renting a car, you are tempting fate. You may not need it 9 times out of 10 but the one time you don't buy and need it you'll realize you should have been buying it all along and had been lucky up until then.