A scratch on my rental car — and now, a bill from a collection agency

Jemny/Shutterstock
Jemny/Shutterstock
Here we go again.

Car rental damage claims are such a contentious issue — and so preventable — that I’ve been considering a moratorium on new cases. But Aakash Patel’s problem might be the exception to the rule.

I’ll let you decide.

A few months ago, Patel and a group of friends flew to Las Vegas for a bachelor party.
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Payless denies car rental damage appeal, but did this driver give in too soon?

Payless wanted Shannon Lewis to pay up after it claimed she damaged one of its rental cars in Las Vegas.
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Can this trip be saved? A chipped windshield and a surprise bill

It’s been a while since we’ve had a chipped-windshield story. This one comes to us by way of Kenneth Ross, whose wife recently rented a Toyota Corolla through Payless Car Rental in Toronto via Expedia.

“It was dark out and she walked around the car with the agent but didn’t notice the chip in the windshield,” he told me. “It was hidden behind the rear view mirror. She noticed it an hour later but didn’t think to call Payless because it was so small and the car she rented had lots more damage than that.”

You can guess what happened next, right?

A bill for the full amount is inevitable. And that’s exactly what she got.
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Can this trip be saved? That’s one “hail” of a repair bill

You can drive your rental car extra-carefully — stay on paved roads, park in a garage and obey all traffic laws — but you still can’t control the weather. That’s the somewhat obvious but no less unfortunate lesson learned by Yolanda Liu when she rented from Payless Car Rental in Denver.

Liu’s vehicle got caught in a hail storm, and now Payless wants her to pay $813 for the damages. Is insisting on it, actually. The last notice from Payless’ claims agency, Subrogation Management Team, demands full payment immediately or her case will be “turned over to a national collection agency.” (See undated photo of the alleged damage, above.)

For a car rental company perspective on claims, check out this interview with another subrogation company from a few weeks ago.

This isn’t as straightforward as some of the other car rental cases I’ve featured on this site, as you’ll see in just a minute.

It all makes me wonder: Should a car rental company, or its insurance company, ever cover an act of God that was completely beyond the control of one of its customers? (You’ll recall that a few years ago, car rental companies changed their terms so that renters would be responsible for any damage caused by weather or natural disasters.)

And how much documentation should be reasonably required in order to pay a claim?
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