Another diminished value thread..

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Feb 22, 2018
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#1
Hi everyone,

Earlier this month I rented a 2016 Nissan Altima from Economy/Drivo in EWR for a weekend trip. Unfortunately, the car was struck overnight (parked on a hill, it was snowy). I found the car after it happened, no note from the person who hit it. Fast forward to now, where I've filed claims with both GEICO and Chase's card benefits service (I have a Sapphire Preferred). Initially I went solely through Chase, who issued a release (that has not yet been signed). RockPort Auto Claims emailed me with the following demands for payment:

Visa will cover
Physical Damage $2,082.93
Loss Of Use $57.07
Diminished Value $0.00
Appraisal Fee $0.00
Admin Fee $100.00
Total $2,240.00

Your Balance
Physical Damage $145.81
Loss Of Use $10.93
Diminished Value $891.50
Appraisal Fee $45.00
Admin Fee $122.87
Total $1,216.11

Chase won't pay the taxes on the repairs, nor what they consider to be unreasonable fees for loss of use and admin fees. They don't pay the appraisal fee at all. I'e talked with my primary insurance company (Geico) who will cover the tax if I file the claim through them, while Chase would pay my deductible and the other fees they've already agreed to.

My biggest issue here is this diminished value charge. The damage to the car was a dented drivers side front fender and a scratch on the bumper. They replaced the fender and painted the bumper, door, and fender -- all cosmetic damage that has been fully repaired. However, the rental car has been in a previous accident (verified by CarFax & VehicleReports) that caused front end and front-left side damage, and the airbag deployed. VehicleReports shows it as a 40mph rear ending, which caused an estimated $6000 in damage, though does not show the repair, just a subsequent sale of the vehicle. Would it be a valid argument to assert that I shouldn't be responsible for paying their diminished value claim, given the value of the car was already diminished by a prior accident that caused much more damage?

Thank you all for your help!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,426
11,882
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
Likes: VoR61
Feb 23, 2018
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#4
One recourse is to obtain your own diminished value appraisal. It may show that the rental company is overcharging for the car's loss in value. Rental cars can't be compared to private passenger automobiles when it comes to diminished value. There is no question that their car has experienced a loss in value but not nearly to the same degree as a privately-owned car. My own experience has revealed instances where the rental company's diminished value figure was twice what it should have been. Get an appraisal from a licensed auto appraiser who will speak to the rental company on your behalf.
 
Feb 22, 2018
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#5
The insurance companies are still settling what they're willing to offer, however I know I'll be stuck with the diminished value claim, appraisal fee, and excess loss of use and admin fees regardless of their offers. I'm preparing to present my argument that the diminished value fee is invalid, and I'm planning on contacting company customer service executives as well if needed. However, I've been unable to find executive contacts for either Economy Rent a Car or Drivo, which apparently is under Economy. Does anyone know where I can find this info? It's not on their websites, and when I've called the customer service number, I just get forwarded to the Drivo office I rented from.
 
Feb 22, 2018
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#6
I also had another question: Rockport is claiming the diminished value as 40% of the physical damages, rather than using an appraiser or industry standard formula. What recourse do I have in arguing their estimate, short of hiring my own appraiser?
 
Feb 23, 2018
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#9
I also had another question: Rockport is claiming the diminished value as 40% of the physical damages, rather than using an appraiser or industry standard formula. What recourse do I have in arguing their estimate, short of hiring my own appraiser?
FYI, regardless of what kind of do it yourself concoction you come up with, Rockport will disregard it completely. This goes for insurance companies as well.
 
Last edited:
Feb 22, 2018
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#12
An update: I went ahead and processed this claim through my Geico insurance with Chase Visa as secondary coverage, since they do not cover the taxes on the repairs in NJ (or NY). This was sent to me by Rockport today..

____,
I received a new release today from Visa, I cannot sign this till the remaining balance is paid. Below I have provided you with a breakdown of what Geico will cover and what Visa will cover and what your balance will be. Please let me know how you would like to handle this claim.

Geico Will cover
Physical Damage $1,228.74
Loss Of Use $0.00
Diminished Value $0.00Appraisal Fee $0.00
Admin Fee $0.00
Total $1,228.74

Visa Will cover
Physical Damage $1,000.00
Loss Of Use $57.07
Diminished Value $0.00
Appraisal Fee $0.00
Admin Fee $100.00
Total $1,157.07

Your Balance will be
Physical Damage $0.00
Loss Of Use $10.93
Diminished Value $891.50
Appraisal Fee $45.00
Admin Fee $122.87
Total $1,070.30

Thanks!
____


My response was as follows:

Hello ____,

I've spoken with Visa regarding the loss of use and admin fees. The amount offered was what they have deemed reasonable by their calculations -- if Drivo wishes to claim an amount in excess of that, they have advised that you can contact their claims examiner to submit justification of the excess amount. As to the diminished value claim, I reject your claim of additional damages in excess of the value of the repairs, which have already been paid. You have not proven the diminution of value to a preponderance of evidence. Sending a demand with a dollar number and arbitrary calculation based off of 40% of physical damages is not evidence; it is your conclusion as to reduced value. The vehicle is already a rental and has diminished value as the result of being used in fleet operations. Additionally, the vehicle was involved in a significant accident prior to its use as a rental vehicle, wherein the airbags deployed and the damage (estimated at $6000) was severe enough to render the vehicle inoperable. I have attached the relevant Carfax Vehicle Report and North Carolina Highway Patrol damage report for your reference.

Best,
_____



And so the battle begins. I will be contacting the Economy company contact if this escalates too much from here. Any other words of wisdom?
 
Feb 22, 2018
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#15
I got a response today:

M,
What I can do is accept what Visa paid for Loss Of Use and take half of the Diminished Value which will be $445.75 Plus accept $100.00 for Admin and then the appraisal fee of $45.00. Which will bring your balance to $590.75. Please let me know how you would like to handle this claim.
Thanks!
A


And my response to that:

Hello A,
I appreciate your willingness to negotiate on this matter. However, I must reiterate my previous statements regarding contacting Visa with justification and my rejection of the diminished value claim. I am willing to pay for the appraisal fee, which I understand is not covered by Geico and Visa. I appreciate your willingness to accept Visa's offer for the loss of use fee, however without further justification, the admin fee is still an unreasonable amount. Although I acknowledge your gesture of reducing the diminished value claim by half, it is still an unsubstantiated conclusion as to the reduced value of the vehicle rather than proof through a preponderance of evidence. In order to proceed with payment, the diminished value fee needs to be removed in its entirety.
Best,
M
 
Feb 22, 2018
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#16
Rockport responded this morning:

M,
I cannot waive Diminished Value. I have already lowered this claim as much as I can lower it for you. Per the Terms and Conditions you agreed to when renting the vehicle you are liable for these fees. This is also listed on your rental agreement where it says notice about your financial responsibility and optional damage waiver. I have also attached a copy of the Terms and Conditions for your records.
Thanks!
A

I have not responded to this email yet, however I have sent the following email to Alex Muniz, the president of Economy.

Hello Mr. Muniz,
I'm writing you today to inform you about my experience renting a car from your affiliate, Drivo Rent A Car in Newark, NJ. While I my experience with your staff and the car itself was excellent, I am incredibly dissatisfied with your company's unsubstantiated and predatory handling of a damage claim, and I am contacting you for assistance in resolving this issue.

While the car was in my possession, it was struck by a hit-and-run driver while parked. This resulted in a dent to the driver's side front fender, and a scratch on the bumper. I have put this damage claim through my personal auto insurance and my supplemental coverage from my credit card, which have paid the physical damage in full, as well as covering most of the loss of use and admin fees. However, your company continues to pursue a diminished value claim of $891.

Rockport Auto Claims has arbitrarily calculated the diminished value as 40% of the physical damages to the car. The vehicle in question is already of inherently reduced value as a rental vehicle, however my larger issue with this claim is that the vehicle was previously involved in an accident prior to this incident, wherein the airbags deployed and the damage (estimated at $6000) was severe enough to render the vehicle inoperable. (I have attached the relevant Carfax Vehicle Report and North Carolina Highway Patrol damage report for your reference.) When I brought this up with them, they offered to reduce the claim by half. I have rejected the offer to reduce the cost to me because they still not provided any professional appraisal of the diminished value or further documentation to support the claim.

While I understand and acknowledge my financial responsibilities under your terms and conditions, your company's pursuit of money in excess of the physical damages and reasonable fees while refusing to provide documentation is wholly unsubstantiated and predatory in its intent. I am hoping by contacting you, that you might influence them to remove the diminished value fee and accept what has already been paid by my personal insurance and my credit card coverage.

I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Best,
M
 
Mar 27, 2018
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#17
Hi melbob,

Thank you for posting and updating this thread. I am following it closely as I am in a somewhat similar situation with Dollar. Please do let us know if Mr. Muniz responds, and if you are successful in having the diminished value fee waived.

Best of luck in resolving this matter.
 
Likes: melbob

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,426
11,882
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
Hi melbob,

Thank you for posting and updating this thread. I am following it closely as I am in a somewhat similar situation with Dollar. Please do let us know if Mr. Muniz responds, and if you are successful in having the diminished value fee waived.

Best of luck in resolving this matter.
Have you followed our instructions in our thread? It works just about every single time.
 
Feb 22, 2018
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#19
Hi melbob,

Thank you for posting and updating this thread. I am following it closely as I am in a somewhat similar situation with Dollar. Please do let us know if Mr. Muniz responds, and if you are successful in having the diminished value fee waived.

Best of luck in resolving this matter.
Hi VP,

I'm glad this has been helpful for you! I closely followed other threads on this site and posted mine in hopes that others might benefit from it. I do in fact have an update, just this morning...
 
Feb 22, 2018
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#20
Update:

As of this morning, I had not heard back from Mr. Muniz. I decided to respond to the RockPort agent's email (see above) as follows:

A,
I understand and acknowledge the terms and agreement and my financial responsibility. However, you have not provided proof or justification for this diminished value claim. So far you have only demanded an arbitrary number which I contest based on the previous diminution of value caused by the vehicles use as a rental car and the significant prior accident, which required major repairs to the same area of the vehicle as in this claim. Can you provide any documentation or a professional appraisal? The physical damage of the vehicle is paid in full and I am not unwilling to pay for reasonable fees, but as it is being presented, the diminished value demand is so far unjustified and looks like a money grab.
Best,
M

Twenty minutes later, I got this back:

M,
I have gotten it approved to accept what Visa and Geico are paying on this claim.
Thanks!
A

I just sent an email asking for explicit confirmation that this means they will be signing the release and I will have no further financial obligation to them, just to cover my butt.