False claim from Sixt

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Feb 9, 2018
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#1
Hello and what a great and helpful forum.

I am from the States and recently hired a car from Sixt at London Heathrow for a trip to the UK. On picking up the car, I didn't check the car as thoroughly as I should have due to jetlag and in hindsight naivety. They had already marked a 10cm scratch on the hubcap (amongst 3 other small bits of damage).

Upon returning, they claimed that not only was there the same scratch, but also a flat tyre. They said to contact them online. I found this strange as when I hired a car at Heathrow previously with Hertz (and when there was a similar, legitimate claim), I was charged there and then.

One week after (and after them sending me an email saying there was a crack in the tyre but no new damage to the hub), they contacted me with a damage number. This stated that there was a scratch of 10cm to the hubcap and a crack in the tyre attached to the hubcap. At this stage, I took the exact wording from this thread and sent it to their claims email address -

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

I got a formulaic copy and paste response from some lackey stating that I had signed the contract, responsible for any damage blah blah. So I escalated it to the first contact on the executive list. Her UK counterpart responded the next day with this:

Thank you for your e-mail, this has been directed to myself from Vivian Castellat, as they do not deal with UK Damage Claims and would be unable to answer your points raised.

1. I refer to the attached rental agreement which has been signed by yourself, this rental agreement states that “Renters are liable for the 1st £1000 GBP for any claim for injury/damage/loss plus the cost of an Admin Fee. This document also states the damages on the car when you collect it and it states that “I confirm that I will check the vehicle for any damage prior to the commencement of the rental and will report any damage not recorded to the pickup location or service hotline before leaving the branch” This should also answer your questions in point 5 that you have raised. Please note when vehicle go out on rent, time stamped photographs are not taken.
2. Documentation for loss of use is not needed in this claim as we do not charge for any loss of use when replacing a tyre. Therefore we are unable to provide this information.
3. Regardless of the repairer used, to ensure a fair cost for the tyre, we use an average price which can be obtained online, we use 3 big tyre suppliers within the UK to obtain the price and get the average, National Tyres, Black Circle Tyres and Asda Tyres.
4. I have attached the return check sheet to this e-mail, stating the time the vehicle was returned and the mileage done in the vehicle.
5. I have included the images of the flat tyre when the vehicle was returned, these are not time stamped, but show the vehicle and the damage.

As we have the relevant documentation to support our claim, the invoice for the damage to the tyre will follow shortly.

If you are unhappy with the decision that has been made, you can get in contact with ECRCS (European Car Rental Conciliation Service) or the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association) with your complaint and they can deal with the matter on your behalf and they will contact us as these are the regulatory bodies that we comply with.

Kind Regards,

Dan Roberts
Senior Claims Agent



Now, rightly or wrongly it seems they are pursuing the claim on the "flat tyre" (I drove it 200 miles back to Heathrow and it definitely wasn't flat - the photo just shows a minor scuff on the tyre.) The thing that is really bugging me here is they are trying to charge me for the >10cm scratch to the same hubcap, even though it was clearly stated on their copy of the rental contract and mine that this was there beforehand.

I have attached their photo of the supposed damage, as well as the original rental agreement (Sixt's version is consistent with my copy), stating the pre-existing damage to the hubcap.

What should my next step be? Do I have a leg to stand on here?
 

Attachments

Jan 6, 2015
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#2
If the agreement you signed documents the hubcap damage, then you should contest that portion with the email sender (UK counterpart).
That is a given in my opinion.

For the tire, since you have no proof that you did not cause the damage, you must decide whether the amount they have requested is worth your time to fight the charges. Unless it exceeds $150, I would pay and consider it a lesson learned for future rentals.

Finally, be sure to read the article about "protecting yourself" that is linked at the bottom of the article you linked above.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#3
Sixt is quickly becoming a problem car rental company based on the complaints we have here. We have a thread dedicated to how to protect yourself when renting a car that would have helped you. It tells you to take pictures at pick up and drop off and no leaving without getting a signature showing the damage.

However it’s too late for that. We have a thread with instructions on what to do. Here it is, follow it and move to dealing with Corporate :

http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-deal-with-a-car-rental-damage-claim.1514/
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#4
wait....is that tire even flat? they sent you a picture of an inflated tire to document a flat tire claim?

Assuming I am incorrect, there's a lot you can contest regarding tires. Tires have a set lifespan of X miles/Kilometers, as per the manufacturer. This lifespan is decreased if the tires are not rotated properly, if the alignment isn't performed routinely, if the front end of the vehicle isn't serviced correctly. Car rental companies always want you to pay for a brand new tire and installation, when you utilized the tire in a used capacity.

The initial cost of one tire/installation can be divided by the number of miles/kilometers to get the cost of use per mile/kilometers.
How many miles had the tire been driven before you got the car?
Was maintenance performed in a timely manner to ensure the tire would last it's lifespan?

My fist response to the 'flat tire' claim would be "hmmmm, the tire wasn't flat when I returned the vehicle. I know this for a fact because I drove the vehicle to the lot. What happened while it was in your care?"

(less likely) The other response would be "I'm absolutely happy to entertain the flat tire damage. Please send me the purchase date and amount of the tire. the number of miles the vehicle had on it when the tire was installed and all of the service logs for the vehicle in question, so I may ascertain the true market value of this tire at the time I drove it"
 
Feb 9, 2018
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#5
Thank you for the replies, really helpful as ever.

VoR61, I will contest the hubcap damage. However I don't want to accept the tire damage claim. As you can see, it's not flat! Just minorly scuffed. At the very least you could easily plug that, but I'm betting it will be the cost of a new tire.

Neil Maley, thank you for confirming my suspicion that Sixt is becoming a problem car company. In all future circumstances I will refer to your thread. I have followed the instructions on that thread to a T, would it be best to escalate the same message to a senior person (in your opinion)?

sas80, a good point. I drove it around 200 miles back to the depot and it simply wasn't flat. I wouldn't have got there if it was. I had no incidents where a scratch would have been likely. So I agree with your suggestions, thanks. The tire is clearly not flat!
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jan 6, 2015
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#6
This may be helpful, re: Flat Tires: Car Rentals: What About Flat Tires?

Also, it seems as though they are saying only that there is a "crack in the tire", which happened to us once after hitting a curb sideways. We had the tire replaced.

I have no doubt that you did not cause the damage, JoeBloggs2000, but a replacement is a good idea ...
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,665
12,004
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
I think you should go up the executive chain. They are sending you a picture of an inflated tire - it isn't flat. And you are correct - you couldn't have driven it back if it was flat.
You have nothing to lose by going up the executive chain and contesting.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#8
I'm posting this strictly as clarification of what I saw in the picture and in the communications. The following represent what I think will be your challenges:
  • They sent "an email saying there was a crack in the tyre but no new damage to the hub"
  • Once escalated, a UK executive emailed you saying "I have included the images of the flat tyre when the vehicle was returned"
  • When I cleaned up the image (better detail), I see clearly not a crack but what I will call a "gouge " in the tire and a missing section next to it in the rim (see my picture below), as though someone (not you) hit a curb or similar structure at some point and a piece of the rubber "peeled back". This is exactly what happened to us.
So the damage is, mainly from the picture you posted, more than just "scuffed". The sidewall is damaged, and may indeed justify replacement.

All that said, I wish you every success in your appeal ... Crack in Tire.jpg
 
Nov 20, 2015
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#9
The damage to the tire in the photo cannot be repaired and the tire would need to be replaced. Plugging can be used as a temporary measure for punctures in the tread area, but never on a tear or crack in the sidewall or near the rim. Maintenance issues, such as alignment and inflation pressure, did not lead to the damage in the photo. It's obvious that the tire isn't flat, but it is unsafe.

I agree with what VoR61 said above. Fight the charge over the scratch. Were I in your shoes, I would likely just pay for the tire, even if I didn't think I caused the damage.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#10
I'mM with @VoR61

It's PAINFULLY clear that the damage to the tire occurred at the same time the damage to the room occurred yet they are saying that the car went out with damage to the rim, but no damage to the tire, and that you, subsequently, damaged the tire they are showing you in the picture.

It's all so absurd
 
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#11
I will say also that I'm a fan of asking for a picture of the odometer for damage claims. Otherwise, they can record any number in the incident report (and I'm not saying that they will or that they have in this case).

Before we drive away and also before we turn in our vehicles now, I take an odometer picture as evidence ...
 
Likes: Neil Maley

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,665
12,004
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
I will say also that I'm a fan of asking for a picture of the odometer for damage claims. Otherwise, they can record any number in the incident report (and I'm not saying that they will or that they have in this case).

Before we drive away and also before we turn in our vehicles now, I take an odometer picture as evidence ...
I agree!
 
Likes: VoR61
Feb 9, 2018
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#13
Hi all,

Just wanted to update you on what has happened. After providing two lots of evidence that said the hubcap scratch was already there they removed £75 worth of charges from the invoice. This has left me with 135 pounds for the tire, plus of course a 40 pound admin fee.

I've taken this right to the top with Sixt management and am hopeful that now they've shown some leeway, the whole thing may be scrapped.

I'm still disgusted with Sixt after they said no damage originally, and will not be using them again. I will of course heed the advice and not be so naive next time, and will take thorough photos when renting cars in the future.

Thanks for all the help.

Joe Bloggs.