Fraudulent damage claim by Dollar - now they've sent me to collections

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Apr 6, 2018
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#1
I'm at a complete loss of what to do and hoping someone can help! I rented a car from Dollar in Portland, Oregon on November 15, 2017, and returned it on November 20, 2017. The rental return was completely uneventful...the representative checked the fuel tank, walked around the vehicle, gave the thumbs up that everything looked good, gave me a receipt and I walked to my gate for my flight. A few weeks later I received a letter falsely claiming that I damaged the rocker panel on the passenger side of the vehicle and owed $1000+ for damages and loss use (I declined their coverage because I have coverage under my auto policy). They sent me one photo of the side of a red car which had a glare and made seeing any damage and/or verifying it was the vehicle I rented impossible. After researching online of how to handle, I sent them a letter stating that I was disputing their claim, didn't cause any damage to the car, wasn't made aware of any damage upon return and asked for a list of documents to substantiate their claim (e.g., time stamped photos, damage estimates, documentation of loss use, etc).

One month later, I received a letter from Dollar. They didn't send any of the documentation I requested and merely restated that I was contractually obligated to pay for the damage. I followed up with another letter restating that I didn't cause this damage and asked again for the requested documentation to substantiate their claim that I was responsible. Two weeks later, I received a letter from Merchants Credit Association stating that my account had been listed for collection and had 30 days to dispute the debt. I of course sent Merchants a letter disputing the debt, but have not heard from them. And although I refuse to pay a $500 deductible for damage I absolutely didn't cause, as soon as I received the letter from Merchants, I contacted my insurance company and filed a claim to see what they could do to investigate and invalidate Dollar's false damage claim. The adjuster I'm working with has been great, but he's now telling me that Dollar won't return any of his many calls requesting documentation of the damage. I also reached out the the Insurance Commissioner's office in Oregon (which is advice I've read on many of these threads) who advised me that they can't help in this matter and to contact the Oregon Department of Justice.

What can I do at this point?? I'm fearful that this will affect my credit and am considering just paying my deductible, but on principle that just feels wrong and insulting. Any help or advice would be so appreciated!
 
Apr 6, 2018
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#3
Thanks, Neil! I was originally corresponding with the Dollar Claims department at their HQ in Washington with no success. Wish I had read the above chain in December when I first received the fraudulent claim letter. Today I sent an email to the first executive on the ladder appealing for his assistance. I'll give that a week before I reach out to the next.
 
Oct 30, 2015
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#5
Unfortunately stuff like this is happening more and more often. My battle was with Hertz but the stonewalling, the refusal of the company to respond to requests for documentation, damage reports, Police reports, etc. , the sending you to a collection agency, it's all the same playbook. What they are doing is stringing you along, hoping that you will finally get tired of it all and just hand over the money. No, you don't owe them, but..it's what rental car companies do these days. What you need to do NOW is document and track every bit of correspondence with everyone: your insurance company, your credit card company, Dollar, the collection agency, all of it. Write down WHO you talked to, get their phone number and extension, document everything that was discussed. You might want to contact your state Attorney General...that's what I did and it cracked the case for me. Keep fighting.
I sure hope you kept your original contract with Dollar. That helps a lot.
In the future, ALWAYS ALWAYS...take your time picking up and dropping off your rental car. Read the contract before you sign it. Take time stamped photos of the car...Photograph EVERYTHING--tires, spare tire, interior, exterior (all panels), etc. Keep your gas receipts. Take a photo of the dashboard showing the mileage and the fuel level. Do this BOTH when you pick up the car and most importantly, when you return it. And tell the company you have done so.
Get the name of the person who hands off the car to you and who you drop the car off with. Do not EVER drop off the car without someone there to take it.
There is a lot of good information on this forum on renting a car and protecting yourself from extortion and fraud.
Because that's what Dollar is doing: defrauding you, and extorting money from you. Keep fighting. It's going to take a while. Keep your credit card company involved.
When you write to anyone in connection with this case, be courteous, firm and fair. Keep copies of your letters.

And finally, I know this is going to sound like I have no spine, but sometimes, I just give in and pay their outrageous insurance that my credit card company already claims it covers. (because they don't, really. The Credit card company will weasel out of paying it. Too.)
I know. It's like giving up your lunch money to the school yard bully. But...having spent a year fighting Hertz, with spending many, many, MANY hours on my cell phone trying to get it all sorted out (Hertz charged my card $4500 for damage that never occurred), dealing with people who had no intentions whatsoever of letting you talk to 'my supervisor' or having your dispute 'elevated"...(they just send you to the schmuck sitting in the next cubicle) , accumulating almost 30 pages of documentation, and losing both sleep and my sanity fighting them, while I did, eventually win, still.I should have just knuckled under and paid the effing insurance.
 
Apr 6, 2018
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#6
I just spoke with the collection agency because I received a letter from them stating that they've received my dispute and my account has been updated as "disputed", and I wanted to understand what next steps were needed. They say that, because there is no resolution to settle the claim, they won't be taking further action but that Dollar could continue their pursuit of this claim. However, Dollar refuses to correspond with me or my insurance company because they state that the matter is now out of their hands and has been turned to collection. This is absolutely crazy making!!! What should I do in this case? Do I now just wait and see what Dollar does next, or should I contact the Oregon Attorney General?