ACE threatened collection action plus additional 30% and lien

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Aug 7, 2017
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#1
I incurred a hail storm and the rental car was damaged. They requested more than $14,000 for the claim; my visa card offered to pay $8,926.03 for the repair but not the administration fee, diminished value (about $3000), and other fees. ACE agent asked me to sign the credit card authorization form for the difference of $5,251.92 before she is willing to sign the release from the visa insurance. I declined and then she threatened to turn the full claim to collection plus 30% feel and to place a lien. Is that even legal?
I call the credit card and they said that they didn't have a record of being contacted and that they advise me not to sign anything till they mailed out a check to ACE. The ACE agent is saying that she will not sign the release unless I sign the credit card authorization form.
What do I do? First time encountering this kind of situation, any help will be appreciated. Thank you.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,665
12,004
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
Diminished value is impossible for them to prove since a rental car already has diminished value.

We had an attorney who used to post here and gave us a a blurb to send about diminished value. I have shortened his letter a little for you;

Joe's suggested response to a car rental company trying to get a diminished value payment. You might also want to state you will also contact your State Attorney General and State Insurance Department for further action on your behalf if necessary.


We deny your claim since you cannot prove damages. The vehicle is already a rental and has diminished value as a result of being used in fleet operations. Evidence of bad faith is a lack of adjustment for that part of the claim at the outset.


We deny we have damaged Ace in excess of the value of the repairs, which are being paid by our insurance, who has also advised us not to sign your credit card form.

We rely on the decision of our insurance company to deny your claim for further damages. We contend we owe you and your principal zero further damages.


We remind you that the contract contains an attorneys fee clause which is made mutual by the laws of our state of residence. You cannot prove diminution of value nor other "fees" you claim thus, we deny owe you anything. The contact provides for payment of those damages if you can prove them to a preponderance of the evidence. Our insurance carrier rejected your claim, which proves to us your further claims are without merit.

If you wish to sue us, please do so, in this manner we can resolve this claim. I remind Ace that we will seek full indemnification if you bring a further claim and are unsuccessful.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#3
I wouldn't do anything. in fact, I would stop talking to the rental car company and let my insurance handle it.
 
Likes: Mel65
Nov 14, 2016
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#4
First of all it's not legal to artificially increase the amount owed before sending it to collections. If you have that in writing then I'd immediately send that through FDCPA channels as that is a violation. If they threaten it again OR report the wrong amount to a collections company I'd report them as well. There's nothing like getting money back when someone is being a stupid bill collector.

Second, I'd contact my own insurance company and let them handle it with Visa and ACE. Sign nothing (without your personal insurance telling you it's okay). You pay for insurance and this is a time that you use them. Let them handle the claim for loss of use and any other fees. They'll likely tell ACE to stick many of those fees up their backside because they're not justifiable.

For instance, you can collect for diminished value for a rental car (just not as much as for a personal car). However, hail damage does not generally cause diminished value because it damages nothing but the surface. Buff out the body / re-paint and there's really no claim for any further diminished value when the car is sold. This is unlike a regular accident where internal components can be damaged, the frame dented/twisted, etc. and thus causes long-term wear to the automobile.

So get out of the middle of this thing, conduct everything through your car insurance company and tell ACE to pound sand if they try to contact you directly.
 
Aug 7, 2017
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#5
Thank you for everyone's replies. I just got a voicemail from the ACE agent threatening that she will not sign the release to Visa and will forward my full amount plus 30% extra to the collection and will place a lien on me so that I cannot renew my driver's license if I don't pay up. Based on what I read, what she is doing is illegal. I am trying to involve my own car insurance as I already filed 2 claims on my house this year (I have umbrella through the same company) and I worry they will drop me. If Visa credit card is handling it, should they defend me? Can ACE refuse to take the insurance offer and go after me with full amount plus driver's license(?!)?
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#6
I agree what she is threatening is illegal. I'd get her full name and report her to your state insurance board. Talk to your own insurance agent as well and tell him/her everything that is happening. Like Kahhss said this is why you pay them.
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
#7
Insurance companies including the benefits provided by credit cards usually don't cover the admin fees, loss of use or diminishing value fees. These are part of your rental contract when you accept the vehicle. The insurance is only going to pay for the damage up to the maximum coverage amount. It is up to you to pay anything above that coverage and the fees that were part of your contract. I don't see Visa providing anything more than payment, not sure what type of defense you are seeking. If it was a liability issue dealing with a vehicle accident, they may provide some type of defense if it is part of the policy.

It is possible they could refuse the insurance offer if the terms of the release is not something they are willing to accept. For example wanting them to settle the damage amount for less than they are willing to accept.

If the company has documentation of the debt, they can seek to collect it even through a collection agency. You have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

As for the driver's license issue, not aware they can do that, could be a State thing, I suppose.
 
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Nov 14, 2016
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#8
Thank you for everyone's replies. I just got a voicemail from the ACE agent threatening that she will not sign the release to Visa and will forward my full amount plus 30% extra to the collection and will place a lien on me so that I cannot renew my driver's license if I don't pay up. Based on what I read, what she is doing is illegal. I am trying to involve my own car insurance as I already filed 2 claims on my house this year (I have umbrella through the same company) and I worry they will drop me. If Visa credit card is handling it, should they defend me? Can ACE refuse to take the insurance offer and go after me with full amount plus driver's license(?!)?
Alright, time to play a bit of hardball.

What I'm about to say depends on your state law. But I'm not aware of any law in the 50 states that allows suspension of a driver's license over a debt. But like OR has about 100 different ways to suspend a license and many of those don't directly involve driving. So Your Mileage May Vary with what I'm about to suggest.

Call them to tell them you will only deal with them via email. At the same time, tape the call (as long as it's legal in your state to do so ). Get their threats of marking up the debt 30%, the driver's license thing and anything else on tape. I'd play dumb and say something like, "When we last spoke you told me that you could prevent my driver's license from being renewed. That's okay, it's not up for another 5 years and by them the debt would have expired." In short, I'd bait them into telling me something false. I'm evil that way.

Then when they contacted me again I'd tell them if they persist with any collection efforts I would immediately take the following actions:

1. Immediately file suit in small claims court in your jurisdiction for $1,000 for each violation. That would include the 30%, threatening your driver's license and any for contacting you via phone. That's $3k they could owe you right there. You can also consult an attorney who can sue for attorney's fees as well as the violation amounts. That would cost them far more than what they're attempting to collect. Given that their actions are GROSS violations of FDCPA this threat should carry quite a bit of weight with their management.

2. File complaints with the Federal Government, first with the FTC and then with CFBP:

https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#&panel1-1
https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

The CFBP may try to "negotiate" for you but the FTC will take a dim view of such moronic collections attempts.

3. File a complaint with your state AG who then may choose to investigate them for violations of state law.

So I'd provide them two choices - dismiss any remain claim immediately or deal with the consequences of their actions. But I'd make sure I had proof of malfeasance before I made any such "requests".
 
Aug 7, 2017
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#9
Thank you very much. I reside in NY but the incident occurred in CO. I have an email from her stating there will be 30% more with a lien on me if she turns the full claim to the collection. I also have her voicemail stating the same above plus the claim to prevent me from renewing my license and Do-Not-Rent on my record.
I contacted the visa and they have no record of her trying to contact them to negotiate the payment. I was told that she could either accept or deny the release and try to negotiate with them. Apparently, she is trying to scare me into signing the authorization for my credit card before she responded. Personally, I probably won't be against paying a little money to cover some fees but the $3000 diminished value seems to be absurd and unreasonable (not to mention the visa already agreed to pay about $9k which I think definitely will cover the repair if they really did repair the car).
Thank you for the information above. I will definitely look into it.
 
Aug 7, 2017
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#11
I have not sent her the letter yet. The problem now is that she is threatening the full claim plus the penalty and refusing to sign the insurance release; she is not just asking for the diminished value and the "fees." Visa suggests me to wait for a few days to see if she contacts them for negotiation.....
 
Aug 4, 2017
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#13
I incurred a hail storm and the rental car was damaged. They requested more than $14,000 for the claim; my visa card offered to pay $8,926.03 for the repair but not the administration fee, diminished value (about $3000), and other fees. ACE agent asked me to sign the credit card authorization form for the difference of $5,251.92 before she is willing to sign the release from the visa insurance. I declined and then she threatened to turn the full claim to collection plus 30% feel and to place a lien. Is that even legal?
I call the credit card and they said that they didn't have a record of being contacted and that they advise me not to sign anything till they mailed out a check to ACE. The ACE agent is saying that she will not sign the release unless I sign the credit card authorization form.
What do I do? First time encountering this kind of situation, any help will be appreciated. Thank you.
I incurred a hail storm and the rental car was damaged. They requested more than $14,000 for the claim; my visa card offered to pay $8,926.03 for the repair but not the administration fee, diminished value (about $3000), and other fees. ACE agent asked me to sign the credit card authorization form for the difference of $5,251.92 before she is willing to sign the release from the visa insurance. I declined and then she threatened to turn the full claim to collection plus 30% feel and to place a lien. Is that even legal?
I call the credit card and they said that they didn't have a record of being contacted and that they advise me not to sign anything till they mailed out a check to ACE. The ACE agent is saying that she will not sign the release unless I sign the credit card authorization form.
What do I do? First time encountering this kind of situation, any help will be appreciated. Thank you.
 
Aug 4, 2017
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#14
Hello Lynn,
I am going through a similar nightmare with Ace Rental in Colo. and Rockport Auto claims, they process the claims for Ace. I was also caught in a hailstorm on May 8 of this year. Before the claim was settled with my insurance co, Rockport Auto claims sent me a bill for over $14,000 and if my insurance company does not pay I will be responsible for the full amount! almost two months had passed and I did not hear from any one, then another letter comes from Rockport stating they did not get the full amount so now I will owe them the balance of $7,184.64 $1,761.40 for Physical damage Loss of use$828.48 Diminished Value$3,675.81 Admin fee 918.95 !! I called my insurance company which is USAA and they were no help, they said they paid them all they were going to pay, case closed. My credit card company said they would help with loss of use, but with out a fleet log they can not pay it. a fleet log was requested by my credit card company and Rockport said they do not issue them. I tried contacting ACE no reply. my credit card company stated they can just make the request and not enforce it, so they are NO HELP. Next I went on to the BBB website, looked up Rockport Auto claims, they have 11 claims on there for the same types of bilking charges. It seemed like they were willing to wave a lot of the fees as disputed in a public forum. I was not that lucky! I made a formal complaint, they will respond to your complaint, then you have the right to reject it. My problem was I was so mad I did not state why I was rejecting it, I just hit the reject button. So they closed the case saying I was dissatisfied, although they did post my complaint. Rockport Auto stated on their response that there was a FINAL REPAIR BILL coming my way. needless to say I am outraged! called a couple of local attorneys, they said no they do not handle these types of matters, but one did refer me to my local attorney generals office they have a consumer protection dept. they took my paper work and said they will try and mediate. I know there is what is called "Good Faith negotiation laws and fair dealings" that will hopefully resolve this in a fair manner. GOOD LUCK to you
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,665
12,004
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
Hello Lynn,
I am going through a similar nightmare with Ace Rental in Colo. and Rockport Auto claims, they process the claims for Ace. I was also caught in a hailstorm on May 8 of this year. Before the claim was settled with my insurance co, Rockport Auto claims sent me a bill for over $14,000 and if my insurance company does not pay I will be responsible for the full amount! almost two months had passed and I did not hear from any one, then another letter comes from Rockport stating they did not get the full amount so now I will owe them the balance of $7,184.64 $1,761.40 for Physical damage Loss of use$828.48 Diminished Value$3,675.81 Admin fee 918.95 !! I called my insurance company which is USAA and they were no help, they said they paid them all they were going to pay, case closed. My credit card company said they would help with loss of use, but with out a fleet log they can not pay it. a fleet log was requested by my credit card company and Rockport said they do not issue them. I tried contacting ACE no reply. my credit card company stated they can just make the request and not enforce it, so they are NO HELP. Next I went on to the BBB website, looked up Rockport Auto claims, they have 11 claims on there for the same types of bilking charges. It seemed like they were willing to wave a lot of the fees as disputed in a public forum. I was not that lucky! I made a formal complaint, they will respond to your complaint, then you have the right to reject it. My problem was I was so mad I did not state why I was rejecting it, I just hit the reject button. So they closed the case saying I was dissatisfied, although they did post my complaint. Rockport Auto stated on their response that there was a FINAL REPAIR BILL coming my way. needless to say I am outraged! called a couple of local attorneys, they said no they do not handle these types of matters, but one did refer me to my local attorney generals office they have a consumer protection dept. they took my paper work and said they will try and mediate. I know there is what is called "Good Faith negotiation laws and fair dealings" that will hopefully resolve this in a fair manner. GOOD LUCK to you
The BBB is a useless organization. They cannot do anything for you- all
they do is to pass messages from you to the company and get an answer.

Use our company contacts and start writing to Corporate, and file complaints with the State Attorney General .
 
Aug 4, 2017
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#17
I called Corporate and they told me that the Ace Rental Car in Aurora Colo. is independently owned and operated. and yes I filed a complaint with my local Attorney General, they said they would mediate. should I file a complaint as well with the Colo. Attorney General if I do not get any reply? can I do that?
Thank you
 
Aug 7, 2017
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#18
WOW, Renee, I am sorry that you are in the same position. It is not fair that they are doing this to us since the role of the insurance is to take care of those issues. They want to take the insurance money and then squeeze money out of us. I don't know what I should do yet but as you said the insurance really is of no help when it comes to the extra charges that they are not willing to pay. If ACE settled with the insurance, they should not come after us again! (well, mine was threatening not to take insurance's offer) I feel like we are being bullied as consumers and no protection for us.
Please keep me posted on your progress.... :(
 
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Feb 9, 2016
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#19
The next time anyone calls you and demands anything, politely and kindly ask for their email address so you can correspond with them. if they give it to you, let them know you will be emailing hem soon.

then capture everything in an email and send it to them asking for their approval regarding the conversation that was discussed.

If they balk at giving you their email address, let them know that you are willing to entertain the situation but you are going to need them to put their REQUESTS in writing, and then supply your email address to them.

If they refuse to email you, and/or give you their email, ask them to send it over US mail. Then get in touch with customer service at the car rental company. Let customer service know you were conversing with lady X at location Y and failed to get her contact information and could they please supply it to you? Then email her

my point is, you need to get this back and forth in writing.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,665
12,004
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#20
I called Corporate and they told me that the Ace Rental Car in Aurora Colo. is independently owned and operated. and yes I filed a complaint with my local Attorney General, they said they would mediate. should I file a complaint as well with the Colo. Attorney General if I do not get any reply? can I do that?
Thank you
I would see what happens with your Attorney General first and would file wth Colorado as well if your AG can't solve this. I would also file a complaint with the Consumer Affairs office in Colorado.

Did you only deal with Customer Service using our contacts or did you go above and contact the Executives? This is not an acceptable answer that is independently owned. I think they are responsible if an owner is above the law.

You might also want to contact the State Insurance Department in your state and have them have a look at this. This one has me stunned and out reporters don't get involved in car rental issues so you have to find as many places are you can to report this.

I might even contact a news station in the area of the car rental place and ask them to look at this.