Budget Not Dropping False Damage Claim

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Oct 14, 2019
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#1
Hey everyone,
I have followed the advice on this forum (https://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-deal-with-a-car-rental-damage-claim.1514/) so far and most recently have reached out to complain to customer service while I await a response from an email I drafted based off the recommendations on the post.

The situation is as follows. I flew to Toronto from Chicago and rented the cheapest car possible and (stupidly) did not get insurance because I am covered under my credit card. When I get there, they say I will be getting a 2019 Mustang convertible (which they tried to give to the person in front of me but they walked away). It's parked in a dark parking garage, but I do not note any damage, drive it for 2 days without incident and go to drop it off again. The guy immediately says there's damage to the passenger side bumper (VERY small gap between bumper and car). Luckily my husband points out that the driver side of the bumper looks exactly the same and has a identical gap. However, the guy will not acknowledge the symmetry at all. I take photos and videos to cover my butt and then I go to the checkout desk. I show the pictures and video to the lady and she says, "I don't know why they sent you here, that looks fine, you can leave." So I leave.

Two weeks later I get an email saying I owe them $1,000 for damage, however they are saying only the passenger side is damaged. I send back the photos and videos I took, showing that this is clearly some sort of design flaw and I will be fighting the claim. I get a response that says "Good day, After reviewing your concerns, any pre-existing damage should be reported before leaving the parking lot of Budget. Base on the terms and conditions of the rental contract the renter is responsible for any damage done to the rental during the rental period. Please note that any direct or indirect damage will be the renter’s responsibility and sent to the renter. Unfortunately I cannot remove the charges and you are being held responsible for the damages. By declining our optional coverages, holds you liable for the damages sustained and we cannot cease our process once there is a loss involved." This is when I come across the post about how to deal with this and replied with the suggested email.

Basically, I will 100% not be paying this even if they do not drop the claim, as I know I did not cause any damage. Has anyone had a similar situation? They are clearly being shady as they refuse to acknowledge that it looks exactly the same on both sides. Has anyone encountered them saying they will not drop it and then changing their mind? If I haven't heard back about my complaint to customer service, I will be emailing the people on the list starting on Thursday 10/17. Fingers crossed!
 

Attachments

Oct 14, 2019
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#3
I’ll be writing to the executives on Thursday. I’m possibly jumping the gun with this post but I honestly can’t stop thinking about this and just wanted some peace of mind.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
19,012
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
I’ll be writing to the executives on Thursday. I’m possibly jumping the gun with this post but I honestly can’t stop thinking about this and just wanted some peace of mind.
The executIves are the ones that get the cases dropped. It is very rare to see anything dropped without executives overriding these false claims. And it works almost every time.
As Patina said- write exactly as we tell you starting with the first executive shown and waiting a week in between each email.
 
Likes: VoR61
Oct 14, 2019
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#6
Yes I was planning on writing them one at a time. Do I send the same email that I sent the claims representative asking for proof, etc? Or an email summarizing the situation?
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
2,292
2,693
113
Maui Hawaii
#7
The pictures you have posted look like typical minor manufacturing misalignments. There are no scuff marks on the rubber which would be apparent after a minor collision causing the so-called "damage". If this were my car I would either ignore it or use a black magic marker to fill in the gap.

You are being scammed. In the US Budget/Avis seems to do this more often than other rental agencies. In Europe, there are many such claims from a variety of agencies.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
19,012
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#8
When you write to the first executive you can tell them the information you requested wasn’t sent. Don’t add the pictures because it may push the email to spam. State you have pictures and will send them upon request.
 
Likes: VoR61

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,518
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#9
You can use the same email but begin the next email with: "Dear whatever-their-name-is, I sent the email below to so-and-so and did not receive a response. I am hoping you can assist me in resolving this issue."
 
Likes: VoR61
Oct 14, 2019
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#11
This is what I was going to send to the first executive on the list on Thursday.. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

Dear xx,
I sent the email below to Damage Recovery Agent Jennifer Soondarsingh but have not received a response and I am hoping you can assist me in resolving this issue. While traveling to Canada from Chicago, I booked an "intermediate" car (confirmation #xx) at Toronto Pearson Airport and declined insurance as I was using my credit card for coverage. I showed up expecting a Hyundai Elantra or similar, yet the woman behind the counter told me I would be getting a Mustang convertible, so I picked up the car, checked for damage and went on my way. I rented the car from 9/21/19-9/23/19 and drove it without incident.
Upon returning, the Budget agent stated there was damage to the passenger side front bumper, as there appeared to be a very slight gap between the bumper and the car. I quickly pointed out that this looked exactly the same as the driver side and reassured them that no incident occurred while this car was in my possession. I took photos and videos of the car showing the symmetry between the gaps and will gladly send them on your request. I was given my check-out paperwork and there were no notes of damage and no added charges. I was sent to the front desk, where I spoke to a woman and showed her the photos and videos, to which she replied, "Why did they send you here? You don't need to show us that." So I left.
Then, two weeks later, I receive a call saying I am responsible for $1,017.59 in damages (claim #xx) to the passenger bumper, with no mention of the driver bumper at all, despite the fact that they appear exactly the same. I responded to Jennifer Soondarsingh with photos and video evidence showing that the bumper is identical on both sides and confirmed that this is not damage that occurred during my reservation. I have requested the following information from her but have yet to get a response. I want to better understand what has happened to the car, so it would help to see all of the evidence that you collected during your investigation of the claim. I am requesting the following information:

1. A copy of the original agreement when the car was checked out.

2. A copy of the incident report.

3. Copies of all of the photos that were taken of the car immediately prior to my rental time. These should be time and date stamped. I hope one of the photos would include the license plate and one will show more of a whole-car view, as well as zoomed in photos of the front bumper.

4. Copies of the inspection slips from the previous renters. I would like to see the five previous renters’ inspection slips as well as photos showing the bumper before/after previous reservations.

5. Copies of inspections and/or incident reports for when the previous renters returned the car.

6. Any other information that you collected during your investigation.

7. A copy of your damage matrix.


I am looking forward to getting this matter resolved and I truly appreciate your time and consideration. Thank you.


Kind Regards,
xx
 
Likes: Patina

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#14
I actually think your email is very well written and, while it may be a bit long, it is very easy follow, explains the situation succinctly and, above all, very polite.
 
Mar 18, 2019
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#15
Thanks Neil. Is it too long? I read in another thread that it should be bullet points, should I try to sum that all up instead?
I think you did a pretty good job summarizing, but it does feel a little long still... In the interest of tightening it up, I'd suggest a few small tweaks...

I might recommend you remove this part as the car switch isn't really relevant to the damage claim problem. Also, your rental confirmation number will confirm the dates and you state in your second paragraph that you rented without incident.
I showed up expecting a Hyundai Elantra or similar, yet the woman behind the counter told me I would be getting a Mustang convertible, so I picked up the car, checked for damage and went on my way. I rented the car from 9/21/19-9/23/19 and drove it without incident.
I'd also consider trying to shorten out the play-by-play when you returned the car. Instead of "I quickly pointed out that this" you could just write "It" to shorten the second paragraph. I also think this is a bit extraneous to the core of the problem:
I was sent to the front desk, where I spoke to a woman and showed her the photos and videos, to which she replied, "Why did they send you here? You don't need to show us that." So I left
Again, just a couple of suggestions to try to make it a bit more session readable without deleting any pertinent details.

-- SR
 
Likes: VoR61
Jan 6, 2015
3,296
3,680
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the United States
#16
My recommendation is shown below. The goal was to detail your experience in as few words as possible so it can be read quickly.

Please assist me in resolving the following issue:​
  • I rented a Mustang convertible (confirmation #xx) at the Toronto Pearson Airport for the period from 9/21/19-9/23/19
  • I checked for damage (none observed) and drove the car without incident. The vehicle was returned in the same condition as it was received.
  • The Budget agent then stated there was damage to the passenger side front bumper, as there appeared to be a very slight gap between the bumper and the car.
  • I pointed out that this looked exactly the same as the driver side and took photos and videos of the car. I can provide them ipon your request.
  • I was given my check-out paperwork and there were no notes of damage and no added charges. At the front desk, I showed the photos and videos, and was told "You don't need to show us that".
  • Two weeks later, I receive a call saying I am responsible for $1,017.59 in damages (claim #xx) to the passenger side bumper, with no mention of the driver side bumper at all.
  • I responded to Jennifer Soondarsingh on XX/XX/XX with photos and video evidence showing that the bumper is identical on both sides and confirmed that this is not damage that occurred during my reservation.
There has been no response so I am escalating this to you in hopes that you can remove this claim.​

As to your additional requests, they do not seem necessary as they do not relate to the alleged damage. You have real-time proof at check-in that the bumpers were identical/undamaged. Adding these requests clouds the issue and may result in silence on and/or rejection on their part.
 
Oct 14, 2019
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#17
As to your additional requests, they do not seem necessary as they do not relate to the alleged damage. You have real-time proof at check-in that the bumpers were identical/undamaged. Adding these requests clouds the issue and may result in silence on and/or rejection on their part.
Thanks for your feedback! I was actually just following the format listed on the first forum I came across and assumed that they added to the chances of getting the claim dropped.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
19,012
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
My recommendation is shown below. The goal was to detail your experience in as few words as possible so it can be read quickly.

Please assist me in resolving the following issue:​
  • I rented a Mustang convertible (confirmation #xx) at the Toronto Pearson Airport for the period from 9/21/19-9/23/19
  • I checked for damage (none observed) and drove the car without incident. The vehicle was returned in the same condition as it was received.
  • The Budget agent then stated there was damage to the passenger side front bumper, as there appeared to be a very slight gap between the bumper and the car.
  • I pointed out that this looked exactly the same as the driver side and took photos and videos of the car. I can provide them ipon your request.
  • I was given my check-out paperwork and there were no notes of damage and no added charges. At the front desk, I showed the photos and videos, and was told "You don't need to show us that".
  • Two weeks later, I receive a call saying I am responsible for $1,017.59 in damages (claim #xx) to the passenger side bumper, with no mention of the driver side bumper at all.
  • I responded to Jennifer Soondarsingh on XX/XX/XX with photos and video evidence showing that the bumper is identical on both sides and confirmed that this is not damage that occurred during my reservation.
There has been no response so I am escalating this to you in hopes that you can remove this claim.​

As to your additional requests, they do not seem necessary as they do not relate to the alleged damage. You have real-time proof at check-in that the bumpers were identical/undamaged. Adding these requests clouds the issue and may result in silence on and/or rejection on their part.
VoR is our expert at sorting out details. Use this, it's perfect.