Alamo claims $1963 for damage that did not happen while I had the car.

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Jun 13, 2016
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#1
Hello,
We rented an car from Alamo for exactly one night. We returned it the next morning completely free of any damage. Nothing was noted, and the attendant said nothing to us.

We later got a short letter stating we had a claim from the "Damage Recovery Unit" that solicited our insurance and credit card information. It did not even list a number for the the bill or what damage had occurred. The email contact even seemed a little shady, so we guessed (hoped) it was a scam--perhaps the Alamo database got hacked or something. I still think it is a scam, but an Alamo-approved scam. Today we received a similar letter, but this time there was a bill from a repair shop and loss of use totaling $1962.81. A lot of money by any standard! Then, pictures of scratches on a minivan of the same kind we rented. The pictures were not clear, and most of them you weren't even really sure what you were looking at. The car was also not in the covered parking lot that we dropped it off in.

I'm just sick--I don't know what these pictures are of! Did subsequent damage occur after it was out of our possession; is it even the same car we rented? Even the repair bill is vague and confusing and very long. All we know for absolute certain is there was zero damage when we returned it.

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer to help us get this fraudulent claim dropped.

Best,
Elias
 
Nov 3, 2015
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#2
This, alas, appears to be SOP for many rental car companies now... so much so that there is a standard approach here that seems to work very well. See: http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-deal-with-a-car-rental-damage-claim.1514/

As you work through the company contacts, start at the lower rungs and write to one at a time, giving each person a week to answer before going on to the next rung.

If you get to the top of the list before they drop the claim, post back here again with the responses you got, and we'll work on new plans.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,218
14,814
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#3
Elias, this is becoming so frequent we have a thread telling you how to deal with this.

Follow all the instructions in this thread and ask for all the documents listed. Almost every reader that has followed this have had claims dropped.

In the future, take pictures of every car you rent when you pick up and drop off. We have a thread in the car rental forum that tell you what to do to protect yourself from a bogus claim. Follow it every time you rent.

http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-deal-with-a-car-rental-damage-claim.1514/
 
Jun 13, 2016
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#4
Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I will start the process today. One specific question I do have: Do I start with the (somewhat weird) email address listed in the claim from the "Damage Recovery Unit", or should I send it to the customer service/care email address this site lists for Alamo? Or copy them all? Thank you again for helping me sort through this. I wouldn't have known where to start without your assistance.
 
Likes: AAGK
Jun 13, 2016
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#5
Elias, this is becoming so frequent we have a thread telling you how to deal with this.

Follow all the instructions in this thread and ask for all the documents listed. Almost every reader that has followed this have had claims dropped.

In the future, take pictures of every car you rent when you pick up and drop off. We have a thread in the car rental forum that tell you what to do to protect yourself from a bogus claim. Follow it every time you rent.

http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-deal-with-a-car-rental-damage-claim.1514/
One other question I have: what information of mine do I include in my letter? Claim number, reservation number, my phone/address, etc? I obviously don't want to give them any more than is necessary, but want to be effective. Thank you!

And as I mentioned below: You do you suggest I include on the first email. Just the claims dept, just customer service/care email listed on your site for Alamo, both? Thank you so incredibly much for helping me through this process!
 
Nov 3, 2015
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#6
"Somewhat weird" email addresses always get my mental antennae twitching -- I'd do an internet search on that email address and any associated phone number and see what turns up. In fact, I'd probably call Alamo (not the DRU) and ask for the email address of the damage recovery unit -- nothing else -- and don't give identifying information there, just you need the email address. That's one of the very few times I would advise you to talk to them on the phone, and I would stick very carefully to the topic of the correct email address only.

The reason we suggest staying off the phone otherwise is that phone conversations quickly turn into "he said/she said", with no proof of what was actually said or promised. For anything more important than verifying an email address, stick to email -- and retain copies of all emails to and from you. It's important to keep that record of what was said.

No, I wouldn't give them a phone number, and if you've given them one in the past, and they call, I'd tell them that you only want to use email now. Be relentlessly polite about it and very, very firm.

Personally, I would start with the damage recovery unit in my request for all the information you're going to want to gather, and proceed to customer care if you've gone a week with no response to your first email.

Keep the tone of your emails professional, unemotional and polite. Give no more information than you need to get the case resolved -- if there's a damage case number, I'd use that and my name and email only.

If you can toss in that you've previously rented from Alamo and had a good experience in your note to Customer Care (if it gets that far), that little compliment can help you "unlock" the sympathy of the person reading the note, as I'll bet most of what they get are of the "Dear Sir, You Cur!" sorts of missives. And you want the person reading the email to want to help you.

Don't threaten or go for the sympathy vote for extraneous stuff, like your lumbago is killing you and your mother in law is coming for an extended visit. Keep it simple and focused, keep it pleasant, keep it really professional, and keep it short. Make them want to resolve this in your favor because they're going to want to keep such a polite, professional customer. Even if you privately think they're a bunch of incompetent moneygrubbers. :rolleyes:
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#7
Ha ha, my boss and I refer to his soon to be ex-son-in-law as "D!ckhead" when we talk about him behind his back, but to D!ckheads face he calls him by name :)

Feel free to come here and call them moneygrubbers all you want. However, to their face, you assume the position of being in the romantic-infatuation stage....it's all about love, love, love and how 'they must have made an innocent mistake..."
 
Jun 13, 2016
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#8
"Somewhat weird" email addresses always get my mental antennae twitching -- I'd do an internet search on that email address and any associated phone number and see what turns up. In fact, I'd probably call Alamo (not the DRU) and ask for the email address of the damage recovery unit -- nothing else -- and don't give identifying information there, just you need the email address. That's one of the very few times I would advise you to talk to them on the phone, and I would stick very carefully to the topic of the correct email address only.

The reason we suggest staying off the phone otherwise is that phone conversations quickly turn into "he said/she said", with no proof of what was actually said or promised. For anything more important than verifying an email address, stick to email -- and retain copies of all emails to and from you. It's important to keep that record of what was said.

No, I wouldn't give them a phone number, and if you've given them one in the past, and they call, I'd tell them that you only want to use email now. Be relentlessly polite about it and very, very firm.

Personally, I would start with the damage recovery unit in my request for all the information you're going to want to gather, and proceed to customer care if you've gone a week with no response to your first email.

Keep the tone of your emails professional, unemotional and polite. Give no more information than you need to get the case resolved -- if there's a damage case number, I'd use that and my name and email only.

If you can toss in that you've previously rented from Alamo and had a good experience in your note to Customer Care (if it gets that far), that little compliment can help you "unlock" the sympathy of the person reading the note, as I'll bet most of what they get are of the "Dear Sir, You Cur!" sorts of missives. And you want the person reading the email to want to help you.

Don't threaten or go for the sympathy vote for extraneous stuff, like your lumbago is killing you and your mother in law is coming for an extended visit. Keep it simple and focused, keep it pleasant, keep it really professional, and keep it short. Make them want to resolve this in your favor because they're going to want to keep such a polite, professional customer. Even if you privately think they're a bunch of incompetent moneygrubbers. :rolleyes:
Thank you! When I searched for the email address, I got a bunch of referrals to this helpful site and other complaint sites, haha! Figures! I did call Alamo, they would not give me the email address of the "DRU", but the phone number they gave matched, so I sent my merry email along to them after all. I immediately got an auto-reply saying they received it and it will be passed along to the necessary parties. I know this is the first step of many, and I've got all the patience in the world, but I am just afraid they will fabricate the things I asked for, especially after they took the time to send those pictures of who-knows-what and a repair bill (but not receipt!). I can't believe this is the way they run their business. Shameful!

Many thanks for helping me...I will keep this thread updated!
 
Likes: AMA
Feb 9, 2016
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#9
Thank you! When I searched for the email address, I got a bunch of referrals to this helpful site and other complaint sites, haha! Figures! I did call Alamo, they would not give me the email address of the "DRU", but the phone number they gave matched, so I sent my merry email along to them after all. I immediately got an auto-reply saying they received it and it will be passed along to the necessary parties. I know this is the first step of many, and I've got all the patience in the world, but I am just afraid they will fabricate the things I asked for, especially after they took the time to send those pictures of who-knows-what and a repair bill (but not receipt!). I can't believe this is the way they run their business. Shameful!

Many thanks for helping me...I will keep this thread updated!
They'll give up before they fabricate that much information. If they do provide you with that much fabricated evidence, when you sue them, it all has to stand up in court - and it wont.

When my car rental damage issue occurred, I was sent pictures too. I got pictures of the damage to the car and separate pictures of the license plate. The license plate matched what I was driving but they had provided no visual way to tie in the damage on the car to the license plate. The kicker to that was that the damage to the car was on the front bumper....so why not include a pic of the damage AND the license plate in one? Why not you ask? because the damage they sent in the pictures wasn't actually ON the car I was driving!

Anyways, the fact that they haven't sent you clear pictures of the entire car showing the damage is probably proof enough for small claims that they cant prove the damage is real/attachable to the vehicle you were driving. They would also need a date/timestamp on the pics to prove it was right after your rental period. They don't have those either.

The only leg they have to stand on is that you agreed to cover all damage that they could find on the vehicle after you rented the car. This means, from the day they purchased the car to the day you return the car, anything they find after your rental period is your responsibility.

However, the will need to prove that any images they produce can be directly linked to the period after you returned the vehicle and before they re rented the vehicle.
 
Jun 13, 2016
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#10
They'll give up before they fabricate that much information. If they do provide you with that much fabricated evidence, when you sue them, it all has to stand up in court - and it wont.

When my car rental damage issue occurred, I was sent pictures too. I got pictures of the damage to the car and separate pictures of the license plate. The license plate matched what I was driving but they had provided no visual way to tie in the damage on the car to the license plate. The kicker to that was that the damage to the car was on the front bumper....so why not include a pic of the damage AND the license plate in one? Why not you ask? because the damage they sent in the pictures wasn't actually ON the car I was driving!

Anyways, the fact that they haven't sent you clear pictures of the entire car showing the damage is probably proof enough for small claims that they cant prove the damage is real/attachable to the vehicle you were driving. They would also need a date/timestamp on the pics to prove it was right after your rental period. They don't have those either.

The only leg they have to stand on is that you agreed to cover all damage that they could find on the vehicle after you rented the car. This means, from the day they purchased the car to the day you return the car, anything they find after your rental period is your responsibility.

However, the will need to prove that any images they produce can be directly linked to the period after you returned the vehicle and before they re rented the vehicle.
I surely hope your saga had a happy ending for you! Thanks for the moral support and info--let's hope we can stay out of court, but I refuse to pay almost $2000 because their business model requires falsifying damage claims to meet their bottom line!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,218
14,814
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#11
It is impossible for them to fabricate all of that information we tell you to ask for. In almost every case, using that letter has resulted in claims being dropped,

They may send a few things and not all. You insist on getting everything you asked for.

Several times consumers have found errors when they ask for this info. You want to check the mileage and license plate number toke sure it is the car you rented and you want to make sure that any prior rentals didn't have the damage marked and you want to make sure that there were no rentals after yours if the car had to be fixed. If there were rentals after your before the car was fixed, how do they know the damage was from you?

Let us know the response when you receive it.
 
Jun 13, 2016
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#12
It is impossible for them to fabricate all of that information we tell you to ask for. In almost every case, using that letter has resulted in claims being dropped,

They may send a few things and not all. You insist on getting everything you asked for.

Several times consumers have found errors when they ask for this info. You want to check the mileage and license plate number toke sure it is the car you rented and you want to make sure that any prior rentals didn't have the damage marked and you want to make sure that there were no rentals after yours if the car had to be fixed. If there were rentals after your before the car was fixed, how do they know the damage was from you?

Let us know the response when you receive it.
I received a response from them. They did not give me everything I asked for, but did give me our rental agreement, the same estimate from the repair shop, more photos of the vehicle, including some with the license plate and mileage (again, these were taken in a location different from where we left the car at the airport). There was also a screenshot of what appears to be their payment to the repair shop on 6/6/2016. The estimate from the repair shop was dated 5/23, so that seems like a long gap to me. We returned the car on 5/22 (I'm only imagining they were able to pick whatever date they wanted on the estimate sheet). I did not get any fleet utilization, other agreements. They sent this to me with a new email to send any feedback (claimfeedback@ehi.com).

So my question is what my next step is. Do I email the new contact supplied and ask for all of the items. Do I copy care@alamo.com/customerservice on this? Do I include the old DRU1@ehi.com at all? It appears some scraping damage must have occurred, I just know it wasn't us and I'm so afraid I won't be able to prove it! Thank you for your help.
 
Aug 29, 2015
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#13
I received a response from them. They did not give me everything I asked for, but did give me our rental agreement, the same estimate from the repair shop, more photos of the vehicle, including some with the license plate and mileage (again, these were taken in a location different from where we left the car at the airport). There was also a screenshot of what appears to be their payment to the repair shop on 6/6/2016. The estimate from the repair shop was dated 5/23, so that seems like a long gap to me. We returned the car on 5/22 (I'm only imagining they were able to pick whatever date they wanted on the estimate sheet). I did not get any fleet utilization, other agreements. They sent this to me with a new email to send any feedback (claimfeedback@ehi.com).

So my question is what my next step is. Do I email the new contact supplied and ask for all of the items. Do I copy care@alamo.com/customerservice on this? Do I include the old DRU1@ehi.com at all? It appears some scraping damage must have occurred, I just know it wasn't us and I'm so afraid I won't be able to prove it! Thank you for your help.

I would follow the listed process, requesting all documents. I would also state that you returned the vehicle on the 22nd in the same condition as it was rented to you, without the damage, and that the damage they are claiming was not noted by the attendant checking in the car on 5/22.

You require the fleet utilization log, and the previously requested items, and until you receive those items, you refuse any further discussion. I would also request all the camera footage of the cameras in the garage of the location where you returned the car. It would not surprise me at all to learn that an employee scraped the car and you got the blame. Maybe there is a camera showing it.
 
Feb 9, 2016
2,449
2,800
113
#14
It is impossible for them to fabricate all of that information we tell you to ask for. In almost every case, using that letter has resulted in claims being dropped,

They may send a few things and not all. You insist on getting everything you asked for.

Several times consumers have found errors when they ask for this info. You want to check the mileage and license plate number toke sure it is the car you rented and you want to make sure that any prior rentals didn't have the damage marked and you want to make sure that there were no rentals after yours if the car had to be fixed. If there were rentals after your before the car was fixed, how do they know the damage was from you?

Let us know the response when you receive it.
See @Neils response above.

Email them back. Thank them profusely for providing you what they did and mention that they left out a few items. List those items and ask when those will be provided.

You especially need to know what the car 'did' during the time you dropped it off and it was fixed. Did someone rent it? If no one rented it, where was the car sitting? they need to be able to provide you proof of what the vehicle 'did' during that time frame.

Yea, stand firm, you need the fleet log utilization.


They have bar codes on vehicles these days and we have scan guns. Tracking vehicle movement, more specifically, tracking an asset, is something that a company like this does. Insist on knowing that information.
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,218
14,814
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#17
Billing MULTI RENTERS for same damage! How clever ;)
Well we don't know that's a fact, it's a possibility. But you want to make sure that there was not damage marked in a rental before yours that they can be trying to link to you and you want to make sure the car wasn't rented again after you because that would indicate you possibly didn't cause the damage.
 
Jun 13, 2016
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#19
See @Neils response above.

Email them back. Thank them profusely for providing you what they did and mention that they left out a few items. List those items and ask when those will be provided.

You especially need to know what the car 'did' during the time you dropped it off and it was fixed. Did someone rent it? If no one rented it, where was the car sitting? they need to be able to provide you proof of what the vehicle 'did' during that time frame.

Yea, stand firm, you need the fleet log utilization.


They have bar codes on vehicles these days and we have scan guns. Tracking vehicle movement, more specifically, tracking an asset, is something that a company like this does. Insist on knowing that information.
I've got a quick question (I'm sending them my feedback email right now requesting ALL the records previously requested). I'm noticing a discrepancy on the picture of the odometer and the miles on our paperwork. The car started at 223 per our rental agreement, (we drove about 92 miles from our estimate), the return paperwork says 100 miles, but then the picture of the odometer while the vehicle is presumably at the repair shop says 372, so there are 50 miles in question that happened outside of our agreement. Do I make them aware of this in my letter, or am I risking giving them information that I shouldn't?
 
Likes: AAGK
Jun 13, 2016
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#20
I would follow the listed process, requesting all documents. I would also state that you returned the vehicle on the 22nd in the same condition as it was rented to you, without the damage, and that the damage they are claiming was not noted by the attendant checking in the car on 5/22.

You require the fleet utilization log, and the previously requested items, and until you receive those items, you refuse any further discussion. I would also request all the camera footage of the cameras in the garage of the location where you returned the car. It would not surprise me at all to learn that an employee scraped the car and you got the blame. Maybe there is a camera showing it.
By listed process, you mean email the email address that they gave to send feedback regarding the claim, right? I received the info from someone specific at the "Damage Recovery Unit", but the address they told to send feedback to is claimfeedback@ehi.com. Just want to make sure I'm sending to the correct/best person and not to any deadends! Thank you all so much!