How To Deal With a Car Rental Damage Claim

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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#21
Just a happy ending story: COMPLAIN TO THE BBB!

I rented a car from Budget in Baltimore July 28-Aug 2, 2016. On August 29, I received a letter from Viking Billing claiming that I owed $3,000+ for damages to the car. OK, bad on me for not taking pictures of the car before I drove it away, but I didn't notice any damage either before I took the car or when I returned it (no employee was there to inspect it either time). I had no incident with the car. YES I WILL VIDEO THE ENTIRE CAR EVERY TIME I RENT ONE!!

I read all the posts in this thread as well as consulting with an attorney (we have a legal benefit through my husband's work, so I can talk to one for free). I sent certified letters demanding proof, threatened to file complaints with the attorney general, the FTC, the insurance commissioner--everything mentioned here.

I ALSO filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau of Oklahoma (for Budget) and the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (Viking)...and the BBB complaints actually got them to close the matter--even before my letters reached Viking.

I'd had no hope that the BBB would yield results themselves and only involved them to show Viking that I was prepared to be a huge pain in the butt, but it totally worked. This has been a huge stressor for me for the past 10 days, and I am so relieved to have it gone.
I honestly don't believe your complaint to the BBB was the sole result of the claim being dropped. Using our letter when they cannot provide the info you requested because they cannot prove you damaged the car has resulted in almost every case we have had being dropped.

They may have already decided to drop the claim after you sent the demand letter we advise and simply reported that when you filed the BBB claim.

While this is an older story, this is why most do not trust the BBB. Due to the success we have here just using our advice I believe the result would have been the same if you just wrote to them using our info.

http://business.time.com/2013/03/19/why-the-better-business-bureau-should-give-itself-a-bad-grade/
 
Sep 8, 2016
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#22
Yeah, I wondered about that. On one hand, both letters (from Budget and from Viking) came to me via the BBB and were addressed to BBB reps and not me*--I had complained about both, but only sent The Letter (via certified and priority mail AND copied to email) to Viking.

On the other, I got those letters within 48 hours after I sent the email copy to Viking...so I really don't know. I honestly had nothing more than a vague idea what the BBB actually did, but my husband suggested trying them. My apologies if I've oversold their effectiveness and trustworthiness...all I know is that something in there worked.

*I've since gotten confirmation in writing addressed to me that the claim has been dropped.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,668
11,257
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#24
Yeah, I wondered about that. On one hand, both letters (from Budget and from Viking) came to me via the BBB and were addressed to BBB reps and not me*--I had complained about both, but only sent The Letter (via certified and priority mail AND copied to email) to Viking.

On the other, I got those letters within 48 hours after I sent the email copy to Viking...so I really don't know. I honestly had nothing more than a vague idea what the BBB actually did, but my husband suggested trying them. My apologies if I've oversold their effectiveness and trustworthiness...all I know is that something in there worked.

*I've since gotten confirmation in writing addressed to me that the claim has been dropped.
Whatever the method, the claim was dropped and that's truly all that matters.
 
Dec 2, 2016
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#25
If you have been in email contact is it better to continue to communicate via certified letter or email? i.e. sending demand for info described above.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#26
If you have been in email contact is it better to continue to communicate via certified letter or email? i.e. sending demand for info described above.
Email. And a suggestion to those writing to the rental car companies......do not demand the information. We have seen that professional and polite emails get the desired results rather than those that use an aggressive tone. If the facts are on the renter's side, they speak for themselves rather than threatening or demanding tactics.
 
Likes: jsn55
Sep 8, 2016
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#28
The attorney I consulted (free, through my husband's work) advised me to send both email and certified mail, and she included the word "demand" in her letter
template. I followed her advice, which was otherwise identical to what's offered here. I got results in 10 days (including Labor Day weekend), which is likely unrelated to wording or delivery method. If I were to do it over, I'd probably just follow the advice here because a) they deal with this all the time and b) what I did cost both time and money and likely didn't help that much.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#29
The attorney I consulted (free, through my husband's work) advised me to send both email and certified mail, and she included the word "demand" in her letter
template. I followed her advice, which was otherwise identical to what's offered here. I got results in 10 days (including Labor Day weekend), which is likely unrelated to wording or delivery method. If I were to do it over, I'd probably just follow the advice here because a) they deal with this all the time and b) what I did cost both time and money and likely didn't help that much.
Attorneys tend to be more aggressive than the average person. I know our attorney can be that way and he is a pretty gentle person! Whenever he drafts something for me to send, I usually tone the letter down a bit, its just my personal style. However/whatever was the element that got you your results, we are happy your campaign was a success!
 
Likes: SierraRose 49
Aug 28, 2015
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#31
It's a demand nuanced Elliott forum style into a request. The kind request method gets the same result but without having to pay a lawyer. Also, the approach recommended here doesn't reveal escalation, which a lawyer letter always does, so the rental company may be more inclined to let its guard down and send the requested info, rather than direct the inquiry away from customer service and a faster resolution.
 
Likes: Patina

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,668
11,257
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#33
Following up from the issue I posted about in August:

I sent emails to Enterprise customer service and DRU, as well as a certified letter to the DRU address. I never heard anything more. Should I follow up with the exec contacts listed, or is no news good news?
Do nothing but if you have further information you should post your own thread in the car rental forum. This post is an informational post only and notvisually answered.
 
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