Nu Car Rental not taking responsibility for worn tires

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Nov 10, 2020
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I rented a car from Nu Car Rental (though Hotwire) back in February 2020 in San Francisco. When I picked the car up, I denied insurance because my credit card was supposed to cover any damages. I did a walk-around inspection, but it was dark and I did not see how poor the tires were. I drove the car under 50 miles and ended up getting a flat tire on the Golden Gate Bridge. There was no spare tire in the back, so I called Nu Car for roadside assistance. They said that I am on my own because I turned down insurance with them. From there, I called Mastercard for roadside assistance. They were no help. While trying to get roadside assitance, the Golden Gate Bridge tow company (free of charge because it is funded by taxpayers) dropped the vehicle down the road about a mile into a parking lot to get me off the bridge. While in the parking lot inspecting the tire, I noticed the tires are so worn that the metal threads are sticking out. I called Nu Car again to see what they wanted me to do. They said to get a tow back to their shop and they would have a new vehicle waiting for me. They also said that I would be reimbused for the tow if it is their fault. The tow ended up costing $779.16 because it was billed as a 3-hour tow. The tow truck was from the county on the north side of the bridge, then we had to drive an hour to the airport, then he had to bill me for another hour to get back to his territory. When I got back to pick up a replacement vehicle, that vehicle also had completely bald tires and I refused to take that one off the lot until they gave me a third vehicle.

The next day, I sent in the receipt for the tow and it took them a few days to get back to me to say they will not be reimbursing me and it is an insurance issue. It is definitely negligence on their part and should not be an insurance issue. I did, however try to go through my insurance company (State Farm) and through Mastercard travel insurance to recoup my money. Both companies denied my claim because it was not an accident and it was just a wear and tear issue that should be handled by Nu Car. I also tried to get support through Hotwire and they said there was nothing they could do because I didn't call them at the time I had a flat tire. I also tried to get help through the BBB and that went nowhere.

I have video and picture proof of how bad the tire (both front tires) condition was. I will add that this was not a puncture or anything. The tire was just so worn that it popped. Nu Car does a video walkaround (with a poor camera) at checkout. They claim their video is inconclusive.

Please help!
 

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VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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The key to your case is their statement that you would be reimbursed for the tow "if it is their fault". If you do not have this in writing, a challenge will be more difficult. Nonetheless, I do agree that this is NOT a wear-and-tear issue. Rather, they rented you a vehicle with tires that should never have been on the road.

You can request their email contacts from our Research Team using this link: Request Form

Once you received those, start at the lowest level, and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level
If an email "bounces", report that specific contact to us using this link: Request a Correction

Alternatively, you can report this to the Attorney General's office for the state of California. I believe you have a valid case, and the tow charge is worth the fight.


I hope you are successful. Please tell us when you have begun writing and also keep us posted on your progress . . .
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
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I have the plus membership now . I have it because I needed an 80 mile tow. But even at 2 dollars a mile for all miles over the free 5 miles, it is still a lot cheaper then 776.16 that the OP was charged. My 80 mile tow cost me 150.00 plus the 10.00 tip I gave the driver.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
What a mess. I'm glad you got off the GG Bridge safely. Booking a vehicle through a cut-rate website from a company you never heard of is never a good idea ... but I don't think it should cost you $800 to find that out. I doubt if NuCar will make good without being forced, they've probably been following this business plan for quite some time. I agree with VoR, you need to go through the motions of asking via our formula. Then, the Attorney General is exactly the way to force these people to reimburse you for the tow and stop cheating their future customers.
 
Last edited:
Nov 10, 2020
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Yes, a total mess indeed. Unfortunately, sometimes with Hotwire, you don't get to select the company you rent from or else I would have never chosen Nu Car.

I have already been down the email route, so I will be contacting the Attorney General's office. As I am looking at the Attorney General's site on the business complaint form, it says they cannot give legal advice or anything. I'm a bit confused what they could do. If I submit a business complaint, could they force Nu Car to pay me, or do I need to get a lawyer and go to small claims court? Which wouldn't really be worth it.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
25,517
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
Yes, a total mess indeed. Unfortunately, sometimes with Hotwire, you don't get to select the company you rent from or else I would have never chosen Nu Car.

I have already been down the email route, so I will be contacting the Attorney General's office. As I am looking at the Attorney General's site on the business complaint form, it says they cannot give legal advice or anything. I'm a bit confused what they could do. If I submit a business complaint, could they force Nu Car to pay me, or do I need to get a lawyer and go to small claims court? Which wouldn't really be worth it.
Did you do their blind booking for a low price? You can always choose the rental you want unless you opt to try and save a few dollars on their Hot Rates. Never book these blind reservations- you are stuck with these kind of little known car rental companies and if can end up costing you more than if you had chosen the car rental company yourself.

We did one of those years ago in St Maarten and I thought we were going to be robbed when they took us from the cruise ship pier to the rental
place a half hour away. The car doors barely closed and one of the windows didn’t roll all the way up. We couldn’t park the car and walk around as we drove around because anyone could have gotten into it.
 
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Nov 10, 2020
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Well I filed a complaint with the California Attorney General's Office. Received a response yesterday saying that they can only help with big suits, not single people.

So basically, it would have to go to small claims...which wouldn't be worth the ~$800 if I have to fly out there, get another hotel, and car rental.

Unfortunately, this scam company will probably get away with it.
 
Nov 10, 2020
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A nice update:

After receiving my response from the CA attorney general's office in November, I figured this was over and done with no luck.

Yesterday, I received another letter from the AG's office stating that Nu Car is going to send me the ~$800.

They would not admit fault but are saying they are just going to "settle."

Either way, hopefully they learn their lesson and stop trying to take advantage of their customers.

Thank you VoR61 for the suggestion to report it to the AG's office!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
25,517
27,954
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Thank you for updating us. That's great news and may help another consumer in the future.

Going forward, if you rent a car, use the information in this post - and use your phone flashlight to thoroughly check the car if it is dark.