Sixt-Lost damage claim resurfaces after insurance expires

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Do I just do my best to pay this and try an move on?

  • Yes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No

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Nov 9, 2015
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I wish I would have found this forum before my trip as I probably would not be in my current situation. However, I would like to receive some advice on how I should proceed with my current dilemma now, and while I have found information on how I should have preceded elsewhere on the site I am open to constructive feedback here as well.
To keep thinks brief I am only posting a summary of my correspondence, I am open to posting any other documentation on request if it is helpful.

TIMELINE
Before May 2015: I checked with my credit card on auto rental insurance, familiarized myself with the policy and understood the limits of my coverage.
May 24th 2015: In a rented car from Sixt in Germany a rock hit the windscreen and cracked the windscreen enough that it would need to be replaced. I called Sixt customer help, filled out a damage incident report, and was told I should keep driving if it was safe to do so.
May 27th 2015 (or so) I returned the car on time to the Airport drop and the car services noted the windscreen damage and told me that Sixt would follow up in a timely manner as that was a special concern to me as my credit card insurance needed follow-up documentation within 45days.
-Also called credit card insurance and opened a claim. This was contingent on documentation from Sixt within 45 days.
-Also followed up at the airport counter where they assured me that these things happen “all the time” and that the procedure is pretty straight forward and that I should expect to see a bill in approximately 2 weeks.
June 29th-July 2nd 2015: I had received no follow-up from Sixt and as my time on the insurance claim was close to up I called Sixt USA to follow up and make sure I kept the claim open. They said that there is a separate system for Germany and gave me a phone number.
-I called Sixt Germany and was told that my car had been returned without any damage and that there was no documentation of any claim in their system. I informed them of my credit card insurance timeline and they said there was nothing they could do to help out because as far as they were concerned the car was returned in good condition. They also added that these things sometimes get missed and while they thank me for trying to follow up I shouldn’t worry about it as there is no claim.
-I checked the online system the rest of the time my c.c. insurance claim was open and had no response. (Calls to Germany are difficult due to work and the time change and there is a not insignificant cost).
October 13th 2015: Sixt sends me an email requesting that I fill out further documentation for my “recent” incident. This went in my trash folder and I luckily caught it without too much time lapsing.
October 18th 2015: I reply with a request to proceed with the correspondence in English, a summary of my previous interactions, and a request for an explanation as to why it took 5 months to respond with documentation despite my efforts to address the issue in a timely manner.
October 22nd 2015: An email response from Sixt states that they only became aware of the “issue” on October 12th 2015 and requests that I have patience while they look into the matter. This sounds good.
October 26th 2015: The next email is from Sixt with a bill for 939euros and a 2 week deadline to pay unless I raise objections.
October 28th 2015: I raise objections on two counts. I do not dispute that I was responsible for the car when the damage occurred.
-Count 1: Sixt’s delayed response of 5 months despite my follow-up and best efforts have resulted in the insurance claim expiring and I cannot afford to pay 939 euros at that notice.
-Count 2: 939euros for a window replacement seems to be excessive as I got a local quote for ~350 usd to replace the same window.
October 28th 2015: Received an auto response stating that they will review and respond personally to this email.
November 7th 2015: Received an email with a letter attached stating that if I thought there was damage to the car prior to renting it, I was my responsibility to raise the issue immediately. As I did not, and damage was present when I dropped it off I should be held responsible. As a “courtesy” Sixt would extend the payment deadline.
-This does not address either issue I have with the claim.
November 9th 2015: I am posting this as I wish for advice. Please be kind as I do recognize there are steps I could have taken earlier to document this and strengthen my position now, and I don’t dispute that I am responsible for the window. However, not helping me during my initial follow-up when it was an insurance claim and in both our interests to resolve, and waiting 5 months to provide me with a bill that I am now personally responsible for (with a 2 week notice to pay) does seem to be a little bit extreme.
I should note that up until this point I thought Sixt seemed to be very reasonable and helpful. So much so that I have had my work rent from Sixt when possible when I travel on business.
Thank you very much,

Joseph
 
Jan 5, 2015
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What a mess.

Have you called your credit card company and tried to reopen the claim. Explain you're just now getting billed & you made every effort to get a bill prior to now.

I'd also ask Sixt what the 939 euro fee is for - an itemized listing, and why it took them 5 months to bill you for damage you tried to pay them for shortly after returning the car.
 
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Nov 9, 2015
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Thank you for your reply.
Contacting my credit card is a good idea and one I had not considered-Thank you

I did inquire on the reason for the delay and this is the email response.
"Dear Mr. Elmquist,
Thank you for your mail and the time you took replying.
This stone chip in the windshield was already stated by you with a damage report from the 24th of May.
Unfortunately we just noticed the report after we have send you the damage report in german on the 13th of October.
I would kindly ask you for a bit more patience as we are still checking this case.
If you have got any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Freundliche Grüße"
It does fit with their earlier statement that there was no claim, although I am not sure how something like that gets lost and then found.

As to an itemized list, I do have it, but in German. Essentially it boils down to parts-443.67 and labor-372.35 with the rest on tax and misc. items I think. It still seems a little high to me based on U.S.A. rates.

S C H L U S S K A L K U L A T I O N EUR EUR
-----------------------------------
E R S A T Z T E I L E 434.97
KLEINERSATZTEILE ( 2.0%) 8.70
GESAMTSUMME ERSATZTEILE ..................................... 443.67
A R B E I T S L O H N ZEITBASIS 10 AW = 1 STD
GESAMT KL 2 25 AW X 148.50 EUR/STD 371.25
GESAMTSUMME ARBEITSLOHN ..................................... 371.25
N E B E N K O S T E N
SUMME SONSTIGES 4.20
GESAMTSUMME NEBENKOSTEN ..................................... 4.20
R E P A R A T U R K O S T E N OHNE MWST.................... 819.12
----------------------------------------- ----------
MWST 19.00 % 155.63
R E P A R A T U R K O S T E N MIT MWST..................... 974.75
 
Jan 5, 2015
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From living in Germany 6 years I will tell you that most things are more expensive there. However, this still seems high - but I'd let the credit card fight it. It doesn't take but 20 minutes to pop out an old windshield and replace it, and they simply said "replacement parts" instead or autoglas is a huge red flag.

I'd also check to ensure they're talking about the same vehicle and only the windshield replacement. The license plate should be on your paperwork. This parts and labor just doesn't seem right.
 
Last edited:
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Mike Z

Jan 8, 2015
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There should be no parts and labor on a glass replacement. Well maybe a half hour labor, but how much could that possibly cost, unless they are having the tech at the Ferrari factory fix it.

The above suggestions about making sure they have quoted the appropriate damage is spot on. We've seen cases where the car company tells one person they need to pay for damage, but the records sent to corroborate the claim show a different vehicle. What kind of car are we talking about here, anyway? It's hard for me to even think a replacement is at $350 like mentioned in the original post.
 
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Aug 31, 2015
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Don't turn around . . . .
are you ever going to rent a vehicle from Sixt again? Then its time to play hard ball.

"dear sixt:

On date XX I rented a [brand of car] from your location in Spangenharbenfahrfegnugen bearing rental contract number xyz.

On May 25 2015 the windshield was damaged by a stone. I agree I am liable for the reasonable cost to replace the windshield. I completed all paperwork requested by the location in whereever.

I have waited several months to be contacted by your company. There are time deadlines that have passed for my credit card damage coverage due to the failure of Sixt to process their claim for damage. I reserve the right to offset your claims by any amount the dilatory processing of the claim reduced my ability to see reimbursement from others for my damage I must pay out.

On October xx I finally received a demand for 975 Euro of damage. This seems excessive and I dispute that I own your company over $1100USD to replace a windshield.

Unless Sixt properly presents proof of the damage claimed within ten days of receipt of this communication, I will treat the damage claim as being abandoned.

What I mean by reasonable proof is a copy of the bill for the replacement windshield, identified by license number, make and model number. Replacing a windshield is no more than a one hour job, thus please identify all other charges for which you seek reimbursement, along with receipts supporting any other damage claim at a standard supportable for a magistrate.

VTY - name

Translate it to German , - don't care if you use google translate- send it in English and German - they'll understand. . . .
 
Dec 12, 2014
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Probably too late now, but assuming your personal auto insurance covers rental cars, you may want to file a claim through them. Then you would only be on the hook for your deductible.

Also, based on Google searches, it seems like windshield replacements in Germany can cost over 1000 Euro depending on who does the work.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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I would take Joe Farrell's excellent sample letter and use it to compose one that tells Sixt that their claim is much too old and you cannot be responsible at this late date.
You have no way of knowing what the car has been doing all these months. It could have been rented out dozens of times and you have no knowledge of what shape it's in now. As an honest customer, you did everything they requested, and even inquired about the claim. They informed you there was no claim. Fine, you're done with them.
Tell them to drop the claim. They have a responsibility to communicate with you in a timely manner after the incident. As Joe says in the Elliott Travel Tips forum on booking airline tickets, you do not have to do their job, they need to treat their customers fairly.
 
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Nov 9, 2015
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Thank you everyone for helping out here. I received emails notifying me of the first 4 responses but not any of the subsequent ones so missed out on some of your helpful advice (I take that as a lesson for next time!)
I ended up taking the easy way out and settling for approximately 40% out of pocket payment. I found it easier to make a payment than to keep pursuing it over various time zones (I am also lucky to be able to afford it, it would seem much more unfair if I or someone else was in a different position and had to deal with a bill like this that they couldn't afford with so little notice). I never did get a good explanation for the delay other than "it got lost".
For anyone in a similar situation the only advice I can give is to keep meticulous records, be persistent and decide when it is worth it for you to settle. I sent 4 or 5 official letters disputing on my two counts (timeline, and cost) and pretty consistently got a similar letter back saying that they reviewed the case and could find no evidence that I had not caused the damage (something I was not disputing). I ended up getting a quote and outlining a proposal for payment that they accepted. I still don't feel like I was treated fairly but they didn't really have an incentive to properly review my case so as in most negotiations it came down to leverage and how far I was willing to pursue it.
Finally, I wouldn't automatically rule out renting from Sixt again in the future but I have been pretty consistently avoiding them so far. I have also stopped recommending them to my friends and family. My concern is not that the wind shield broke, or even that they "lost" the claim for 5 months, it is more about how ill-equipped their company seemed to be to deal with the claim and any aftermath. Something like a wind shield replacement cost has to be incredibly predictable in cost, and dealing with customers using a credit card insurance also has to be pretty standard procedure. The fact that multiple employees mishandled it over so long a period is disconcerting.
Once again, thank you for your advice, I am happy to have found your website and I will keep a lookout for how I can help other travelers in situations similar to those I have been in.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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There should be no parts and labor on a glass replacement. Well maybe a half hour labor, but how much could that possibly cost, unless they are having the tech at the Ferrari factory fix it.

The above suggestions about making sure they have quoted the appropriate damage is spot on. We've seen cases where the car company tells one person they need to pay for damage, but the records sent to corroborate the claim show a different vehicle. What kind of car are we talking about here, anyway? It's hard for me to even think a replacement is at $350 like mentioned in the original post.
I don't understand how there could be no parts and labor ... how does that work?
 
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Mike Z

Jan 8, 2015
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I don't understand how there could be no parts and labor ... how does that work?
The cost of the glass is generally all inclusive. Most people don't call up the auto parts store and order windshields and do the install themselves. So when you call a glass company and ask how much it costs to have the glass replaced, they tell you $200 (example) They don't break down the cost of the replacement to glass cost plus labor, plus xx amount for the sealant or masking tape or cutting blades they use. Windshield replacement is a slightly different business than say a garage where you would be quoted a price for the parts and labor separately. (at least in my state)
 
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R

Realitoes

Guest
You are paying way too much for a windshield replacement. We had a windshield replaced on an Opal Astra and I think all together it came to 300 Euro (I didn't have to pay VAT). If you want to really know what the cost of the windshield is in Germany, call the folks at the below link for an estimate based on your rental car make/model/year. They were the one's who replaced mine and they do speak English.

ABC Autoglas Kaiserslautern
 
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