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Dec 30, 2020
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I rented a car in Italy from Sixt in Sept/Oct of 2018. At the pick-up location I was denied my request to perform a walk-around with the lot attendant on duty, but was told to report back to her "only any dents noted". There were none, so we left. When I returned the car (to a different location within Italy), I again requested a walk-around from the attendant, and again I was denied. The attendant asked: "were you involved in any accident" - I responded "no", to which she assured me there would be no issue closing out the rental.
Sixt contacted me weeks later via e-mail requesting information about damages (which I initially thought was some sort of scam). They provided pictures of two surface scratches on the car - but the pictures had no time stamp - and the car was not in the location that I left it. After months of back-and-forth via e-mail with Sixt Italy (one of which they, in fact, admitted in writing that "The customer is always invited to take part in this (check-in/check-out) process"), in addition to conversations with Sixt US (which confirmed that the denial of my request for a walk-around with both attendants was not in compliance with company policy), I thought the matter had been resolved.
Then a few weeks ago I received a letter from what appears to be a debt collection agency here in the US - requesting even more money in reference to the claim. I don't see how this is anything less than illegal extortion (as if there's a "legal" type - LOL!). I have run into numerous dead ends trying to find legal representation and I have until 8 January to respond to the debt collection agency...
I have more damning details that I'm happy to share, but for the sake of brevity I've omitted them to focus on the more salient points. I also have a number of questions re/ the response I'm preparing for the US debt collection agency and any continued litigation (ie: statute of limitations, counter suit, the jurisdiction clause in the Sixt Terms and Conditions guide, my Loss Damage Waiver "in excess of 1,000 euro", and next steps: litigation or collection, etc) any help would be much appreciated!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Did you take pictures of the car at pick up and drop off?

We have a thread on how to fight these type of claims:

 
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Jun 24, 2019
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What deadline do you have from the debt collection agency? A deadline to respond to a letter? Or a deadline to answer a complaint in Court?
 
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Dec 30, 2020
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Unfortunately, I did not take any photos (I rent dozens of cars each year as I travel quite a bit for work - never had a single issue (status helps I'm sure), but lesson learned... amazing that rental companies don't encourage individuals to take time stamped photos - gotta believe that would save all parties involved a lot of resources...) - I'll poke around again on the thread link - thanks...

The deadline from the debt agency seems to be for a response to their letter within 30 days (not a court deadline - which raised, to me, questions re/ the Sixt "Jurisdiction" clause which stipulates: “Place of jurisdiction is, if the renter is a merchant or a legal entity, Bolzano. In the case of private persons who are consumers as specified by the Consumer Protection Law, the court of jurisdiction shall be that of their place of residence.” - which to me indicates any legal complaint would need to be filed/reviewed in my home state of CA - which I think has a good chance of benefiting me...)
 
Jun 24, 2019
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A few observations:

First, follow Neil's suggestions in post no. 2. In many cases folks report success in getting the rental car company to drop these claims. Note that you deal with Sixt on this, and not with the collection agency.

Second, the collection agency is, most likely, on a contingent fee basis. They only make money if you pay. They are really not interested in your story that you do not owe anything, or whether you walked around the car, etc. The collectors have heard every story possible including the day you call; they are only interested in separating you from your money. When I've had to deal with collection agencies, I just keep sending the same polite letter, "we don't owe X any money. Please stop writing."

Third, you will find it very difficult to find an attorney to handle a case where the dispute is over about $1,000.

Fourth, monitor your credit report for any adverse reporting by the collection agency. If the collection agency does make an adverse report, there are ways to deal with it, but do not worry at this time about things that have not happened.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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When you write to Sixt, please avoid any suggestion of extortion or the like.
Polite and patient ... your job is to make the reader at Sixt understand your problem immediately and want to help you. This could drag on for a very long time, so just follow our guidance and don't give up. You might want to review some of the threads on this forum for more intel.
 
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Dwayne Coward

Administrator
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Director
Apr 13, 2016
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Unfortunately, I did not take any photos (I rent dozens of cars each year as I travel quite a bit for work - never had a single issue (status helps I'm sure), but lesson learned... amazing that rental companies don't encourage individuals to take time stamped photos - gotta believe that would save all parties involved a lot of resources...) - I'll poke around again on the thread link - thanks...

The deadline from the debt agency seems to be for a response to their letter within 30 days (not a court deadline - which raised, to me, questions re/ the Sixt "Jurisdiction" clause which stipulates: “Place of jurisdiction is, if the renter is a merchant or a legal entity, Bolzano. In the case of private persons who are consumers as specified by the Consumer Protection Law, the court of jurisdiction shall be that of their place of residence.” - which to me indicates any legal complaint would need to be filed/reviewed in my home state of CA - which I think has a good chance of benefiting me...)
The 30 days has to do with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

You should follow the following guidance to dispute the debt and request verification within those 30 days.

 
Dec 30, 2020
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Thanks all for the comments and feedback. I'll definitely respond to the collection agency within the 30 day period (due: 8 Jan)… Should I also continue to engage with Sixt Italy directly...? That's something I hadn't previously considered, and given the months of back-and-forth disputing the claim with Sixt Italy during 2019, I've assumed that Sixt Italy has written this debt off their books and turned the debt over to the agency...

Anyone have any suggestions re/ my initial response to the debt collection agency...?

Thanks for the continued help...
 
Dec 30, 2020
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So I've drafted the form letter to the debt collection agency and it's ready to go (I have until 8 Jan for their initially stated 30 day notice). I didn't add any details beyond what was spelled out in the template...

Any suggestions on an approach to reengage Sixt IT - after they've now seemingly turned this over to a debt collection agency? It's been about 18 months since our last exchange, and I'm not sure what more to do beyond re-stating my prior objections...

Again - any and all insight is appreciated :)...
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Read the link in post #2.
Neil, I don’t disagree that OP should write to SIXT as suggested in Post 2. However, OP should also take advantage of the window provided by the FDCPA and write to the collection agency. My suggestion above was a brief letter denying that OP owes anything to SIXT.
 
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Dec 30, 2020
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Thanks for the redirect to post #2 Neil - I didn't catch the hyperlink to appealing up the chain the first time. I'll post my "initial" appeal up the Sixt food chain soon, but below is my first response to the debt collection agency... any comment is welcome... (one quick note: while I do request "any and all" relevant information below - they did, in their initial contact, provide a PDF containing much of the e-mail correspondence between me and Sixt IT claims)...

Global Debt Solutions
2295 Corporate Blvd NW, Suite 120, Boca Raton, FL 33431
Re: xxxxx

Dear Global Debt Solutions,

I am responding to your contact about collecting a debt. You contacted me by e-mail, on 10 Dec. 2020 and identified the debt as having something to do with “Sixt GmbH” in the amount of “$1,417.64”.

I do not have any responsibility for the debt you’re trying to collect.

If you have good reason to believe that I am responsible for this debt, mail me any and all the documentation that you believe substantiates that claim. Stop all other communication with me and with this address, and record that I dispute having any obligation for this debt. If you stop your collection of this debt, and forward or return it to another company, please indicate to them that it is disputed. If you report it to a credit bureau (or have already done so), also report that the debt is disputed.

Thank you for your cooperation. Sincerely,

H David

Edited by moderator to remove reference number.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Dec 30, 2020
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And below is my next attempt to re-engage Sixt IT re/ the matter... I'm very interested in any comment/guidance - particularly where I should start this next round... the previously provided reference material indicates the Sixt IT claims department - but that they've now engaged the debt collection agency 18 months after our last contact, I'm not sure that's the best place... but I defer....


Sixt-IT,

I am reaching out again in an attempt to resolve a damage claim that I was not at fault for. As I’ve previously stated the vehicle was not involved in ANY incident while in my possession that would have resulted in the described damage. I am requesting that this matter, and the attempts at restitution, be dropped. Additionally (and humbly), I’d like to recommend that Sixt implement more consistent processes at pick-up and drop-off to avoid frustration for future customers.

I picked up my rental at the Rome Ciampino Airport on the 23 of September 2018. At the pick-up location I was denied my request to perform a walk-around with the lot attendant on duty, but was told to report back to her "only any dents noted". There were none, so we left. When I returned the car in Milan, I again requested a walk-around from the attendant, and again I was denied. The attendant asked: "were you involved in any accident" - I responded "no", to which she assured me there would be no issue closing out the rental.

Sixt IT contacted me weeks later via e-mail requesting information about damages (which I initially thought was some sort of scam). Sixt IT provided pictures of two surface scratches on the car - but the pictures had no time stamp - and the car was not parked in the location that I left it. After months of back-and-forth via e-mail with Sixt Italy (one of which Sixt IT, in fact, stated in writing that "The customer is always invited to take part in this (check-in/check-out) process" – 9 April 2019). I was not provided contact information for Sixt IT, so I reached out to Sixt US for help and guidance. Sixt US confirmed that the denial of my request for a walk-around with both attendants was not in compliance with company policy and they requested that I copy them in my response to Sixt IT. I thought the matter had been resolved (this was April 2019). Additionally, days prior to the rental in question, I had rented a car from Sixt Ireland – and was afforded a walk-around with employees at the pick-up and drop-off – further illustrating the absence of consistent processes across Sixt.

I again regret whatever damage has occurred to the subject vehicle, but absolutely none of the damage noted occurred while the vehicle was in my possession. This unfortunate situation is not a result of ANY action on my part and I hope Sixt is able to resolve this matter without further expenditure on my part on the following grounds:

1. The vehicle was not involved in ANY incident while in my possession that could have caused or resulted in the described damage

2. I was denied my request to physically inspect the vehicle WITH a Sixt employee at BOTH the pick-up and drop-off locations. Which is not in accordance with common Sixt policy and procedure. I have rented numerous vehicles from Sixt (including previous rentals in Italy), and this is the first time I have been denied the opportunity to conduct a physical inspection with a Sixt employee. (in fact, just days prior to this rental, I rented a car from Sixt Ireland - and participated in physical inspections at the pick-up and drop-off locations with Sixt employees)

3. Sixt IT is unable to provide any date/time-stamped photos taken immediately upon the return of the vehicle. And the pictures that were sent to me showed the car in parking spot that was different than the spot I left it – and were time tagged hours after I returned the car.

And finally, I’d like to recommend that Sixt adopt a more uniform pick-up and return process and afford customers the opportunity to review a vehicle with customers and encourage each customer, along with a Sixt representative, to take photos or video of the car prior to leaving the lot. Such measures will significantly reduce the number of these issues. Thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to your response.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
3,996
6,093
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the United States
My feedback will be in three parts. First, avoid using the word "scam" even though you are likely NOT referring to Sixt. It could be confusing. Second, I do not think it is appropriate to include requests about how they run their business. And third, while your narrative is polite, it could be better by shortening and summarizing.
Here is an example:

"I am writing to you today because my efforts to resolve an issue with your claims department have been unsuccessful. Here are the details:​
  • On September 23rd I rented a vehicle at he Rome Ciampino Airport
  • I requested a walk-around with the lot attendant on duty, but was denied and told to report back to her "only any dents noted" (there were none)
  • When I returned the car in Milan, I again requested a walk-around from the attendant, and again I was denied
  • The attendant asked: "were you involved in any accident" - I responded "no", to which she assured me there would be no issue closing out the rental
  • Sixt IT contacted me weeks later via e-mail requesting information about damages
  • They provided pictures of two surface scratches - but the pictures were not time stamped, and the car was not parked in the location where I left it
I would very much appreciate this matter being dropped, as there was no damage made to the vehicle while it was in my possession​
Thank you for your time and consideration"​

They should be able to read your email in 3-5 minutes without encountering accusations, threats, or emotional pleas
for assistance. Offer only what they "need to know" in order to understand your experience and process your request.


You can escalate this using the email addresses in this link: Sixt Contacts
be sure to start at the lowest level and that you give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
863
1,807
93
VoR61's letter is much clearer. I think you can be even briefer since the pickup info isn't really necessary:

"I am writing to you today because my efforts to resolve an issue with your claims department have been unsuccessful. Here are the details:​
  • On October ??, I returned a car in Milan with no damage.
  • At the time of return, I asked your agent if she would like to jointly inspect the car's condition, but she declined.
  • You have provided pictures of two surface scratches, but they are not time stamped and were taken at a different location from the return. I assume this damage occurred after the return while the car was in Sixt's possession.
As the car was returned with no damage and you have produced no evidence to the contrary, I would very much appreciate this matter being dropped.​
Thank you for your time and consideration"​