EASIRENT charges me over $2K for a clutch falsely claiming "driver abuse" :(

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Mar 1, 2018
11
1
3
53
#1
Dear Folks at Elliott: I am at my wit’s end in a dispute with EASIRENT (don’t be fooled by the name) car rental, on multiple charges to my Citi Mastercard AAdvantage account, which total $2,256.32. These were charges (not counting the charge to rent the car itself, which CARTRAWLER, the company I made the internet booking with refunded in full when I explained my dispute) from EASIRENT in Edinburgh, Scotland on November 3, 2017. I had the car for about an hour (10:42 am pick up to 12:10 pm distress call to EASIRENT after the breakdown), and drove it 50 miles (Edinburgh to just outside of Melrose, substantiated by odometer reading on pick up and after breakdown and google maps) in that hour with no issues when it broke down in the middle of a roundabout, surrounded by commercial traffic. The clutch dropped suddenly to the floor and would not raise or engage. There was no advanced warning – no smells, sounds etc to suggest a problem – placing me, and my three passengers at incredible risk. Not only did EASIRENT refuse to make any effort to provide us a replacement rental car, three days later they billed the first in a series of charges that they told me (in the one and only email they sent to me, despite my repeated attempts to reach them), was due to the clutch failure. They subsequently billed me additional amounts, without ever contacting me, and without explaining to me any basis for the charges. Only when I disputed the charges with CITI did they raise for the first time (almost eight weeks after the rental) a false claim that the charges were due to “driver abuse.” At that time, they also presented a receipt for the clutch repair from Portman Motors (oddly a repair shop in Glasgow, although the breakdown was far closer to Edinburgh, where the car was rented) dated almost a month after they charged me. Although EASIRENT claimed to CITI (they have still refused all of my efforts to contact them directly) that the repair company “diagnosed” “driver abuse,” no such diagnosis appeared on the receipt they presented from Portman. I immediately attempted to contact Portman Motors (through their on line form, their Facebook page, and direct email). Though they initially responded to my generic inquiry promptly, when they found out what I was contacting them about, they too refused to get back to me. I looked at the UK car manufacturer’s website, Peugeot, for information on repairs to the make and model of the rental car. Describing clutch failure as one of the “10 most common repairs” due to normal wear and tear, the price Peugeot quoted for clutch replacement in the UK for the car I rented was about half what I was charged. http://www.peugeot.co.uk/servicing/10-most-common-repairs/

I have done my homework. I have tried repeatedly to contact both EASIRENT and PORTMAN Motors. I have extensively documented what happened through phone records, mileage and related documents from the rental company, statements from all three witnesses in the car, and researching the costs of a clutch replacement for the exact make and model of the car I drove in the UK from the UK car manufacturer. Out of an abundance of caution, I also make a claim through my CITI rental car insurance coverage (which they promptly denied, with the determination by their underwriter that the charges were due to “mechanical failure”). Yet, when I disputed the actual charges through CITI, they claimed (variably), that I didn’t submit and “final rental agreement” (I submitted the only one there was – there was no “check out” agreement, because EASIRENT never provided me with one and then refused to engage at all with me) and/or that they must accept EASIRENT’s undocumented, counter-factual, and frankly bogus response of “driver abuse.” Of course, no one who is de-frauding you is going to admit the fraud, and therefore, as I explained to CITI, what was the use of fraud coverage if they accepted the merchant’s response at face value? CITI had no response, and after exhaustively going through the process with them, and providing extensive documentation, my dispute with CITI is at what I am told is their last possible review. Although I have emails from CITI as recently as today saying my dispute was still open, they have now charged me over $40 in interest this month due solely to the disputed charges. In addition, my credit score on Transunion has dropped two points, 827 to 825 since December (with the sole redlined report being from CITI)-a similar drop was recorded by Equifax. I have amassed over 70 pages of supporting documentation establishing all of this, which I am happy to provide. I have not attached the pdf with all of the documents here on the public forum because some of those do have PIP….

Two other things are worth noting.

First, the car had a manual transmission. I am 52 years old. I have driven manual transmission vehicles since I was 13 years old, when I drove tractors with front end loaders and manure spreaders on back on our farm, as taught by my grandfather (who at the time would actually smack my hand with leather gloves if, when I was learning, I did not operate the tractor clutch correctly, and that is a lesson you don’t forget). I prefer standard/manual transmission cars (and have stated to multiple individuals over the years that I think everyone should have to learn to drive on a manual transmission car). I learned to drive a car on my mother’s standard/manual transmission 1972 Mercedes 240D and got my permit when I was 15 1/2. I have been licensed and owned a car continuously since I was 16 years old. All cars I have ever owned have been standard/manual transmission vehicles, starting with a VW Bug, owned from 1981-1988, and then a Ford Escort from 1988-2001, and my current car, a Toyota Rav 4 which I purchased new in 2001 and still own today, 17 years later. I have never had any clutch or transmission work done on any car I have ever owned. My last two cars, the RAV4 and the Escort, were all serviced at Mt. Pleasant Auto in Washington DC, and neither have ever had any clutch/transmission work done. I have rented and driven standard/manual cars throughout Europe including in Ireland, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal as well as in Kenya. I am typically the only driver as many of my friends do not drive standard/manual transmission vehicles. I have never had an issue with the clutch in any of those rentals, which have occurred over the last twenty years.

Second, when I first rented the car from EASIRENT, I had a less than pleasant exchange with the representative at the rental counter, Alexandra. I provided my voucher and rental car coverage. She advised me that CITI’s LDW/CDW was insufficient, and that I was required by “local law” to purchase additional coverage from EASIRENT, which as I recall was about 10 GBP per day. I showed her my rental material from CARTRAWLER, which did not indicate that any such insurance was required. She became immediately combative and threatening, and told me that if I failed to purchase the additional insurance which was a requirement of “local law,” I could “go to jail,” and it would be a “matter between me and the police.” I asked for documentation of that requirement and she was unable to provide me any. I told her I would not pay any additional amount, and despite her claim of its illegality without the additional EASIRENT insurance, she rented me the car anyway. A travelling companion, James Thomas Flesher, who rented a car from EASIRENT an hour after I did, and was also checked in by Alexandra, had the identical experience. It was also notable as two young women who were in line immediately before me, and were waited on by another representative, a young man, were not strong-armed to purchase additional insurance (I would hear their entire exchange), and had the same base rate as I did (as we happened to discuss it in the rental car shuttle that picked us all up). In addition, when the car first broke down and I called EASIRENT (on speaker phone, overheard by the three passengers in my car), rather than ask about our safety, or what had happened, the immediate response was to chastise me for not purchasing their insurance, and explain how much more difficult this was going to be because I hadn’t.

The unethical practice of trying to extort additional undisclosed insurance monies seems part of a “bait and switch” business model by which EASIRENT advertises low prices, and then preys upon weary overseas travelers, particularly older travelers, who they can threaten at the counter with additional fees, and even jail-time. Mr. Flesher has written an email of his own extremely frustrating experience with Alexandra at EASIRENT that consumed nearly an hour at the counter. The car Mr. Flesher rented (like the car I rented) also had maintenance and quality issues. Complaint forums on the internet contain many other with instances of customers reporting EASIRENT’s unethical sales practices, as well as undocumented charges for maintenance repair that have been challenged through credit care dispute processes where credit card companies stood behind renters such as myself. Although I have no way to prove it, I really have to wonder, in light of all of this, whether or not EASIRENT, and Alexandra, who was clearly angry that I did not capitulate to her hard sell, knew that the car rented to me was not in great shape.

Please, please, please, I have done everything I can think of. I need your help!!
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
3,239
3,134
113
#2
This whole experience sounds awful. I’m particularly amazed that the Citi insurance carrier turn down your claim due to it being a Maintenance Issue and then Citi turned around and denied your dispute by accepting the Rental Agency’s Claim Of Driver Abuse.... you can’t have it both ways!
Now, the next thing to do is to rewrite your description of events stating just the facts, bullet points are best. You have so many extra details that hide the basic facts of your case. My eyes glazed over before I could finally get to the end this horrible situation.
Have you been dealing with the Rental Agency in writing by email or attempting to?
 
Mar 1, 2018
11
1
3
53
#3
Yes.. All of my communications with the rental agency have been in writing. I get a robo response saying that my email will be returned in 14 business days. Never get any response. The one time I directly called customer service to explain that and ask for a response, they indicated they could only talk to me by email. And yes, I know the explanation is long. (and actually longer when I bullet point every individual "fact" and attach proof, which I have)... For purposes of getting help here, just trying to anticipate questions. As for CITI, about 15 minutes after I posted to Elliott I got a call from "Arlene" giving yet another reason that CITI was denying my dispute, ironically, now that it has been pending too long (though I immediately disputed, waited over two months to be provided anything form EASIRENT, and have responded to every request for information form CITI with a day or two tops if not minutes.
 
Jan 6, 2015
2,002
1,962
113
#4
I found but could not validate an email address for EASIRENT:

Paul Hanley, Managing Director
paul.hanley@easirent.com

You can present your case to him for consideration. If you do, as JVillegirl541 stated include just a summary of the claim and indicate your driving experience. Dot not accuse them of anything or threaten them with anything. Simply explain what happened.

If your email goes much beyond 7-10 bullet points or wanders off into other subjects (e.g, how your were treated) you may lose the recipient's attention ..
 
Mar 1, 2018
11
1
3
53
#6
Thanks for all of you thoughts. Here is what I have drafted. Any suggestions?

Dear Mr. Hanley:

I understand you are the Managing Director at EASIRENT. I am hopeful that you will be able to help me with the reversal of a total $2,256.32 that EARIRENT charged me for a failed clutch in a 308D Peugeot I rented from on November 3, 2017. CARTRAWLER, the company I made the internet booking with, has already refunded the charges for the actual rental period itself. It seems that EASIRENT may not have all of the information about how the breakdown occurred, so I am providing it to you and hoping you can help me resolve this matter.

I picked up my car from EASIRENT in Edinburgh, Scotland on November 3, 2017. The rental car agreement is # xxxxxx. I had the car for about an hour (10:42 am pick up to 12:10 pm distress call to EASIRENT after the breakdown), and drove it 50 miles (Edinburgh to just outside of Melrose, substantiated by odometer reading on pick up and after breakdown and google maps) in that hour with no issues when it broke down in the middle of a roundabout, surrounded by commercial traffic.

The clutch dropped suddenly to the floor and would not raise or engage. There was no advanced warning – no smells, sounds etc to suggest a problem. EASIRENT was unable to provide me with a replacement car for the remainder of the rental period – one week.

Three days later, EASIRENT billed me over $1700, plus an administrative fee, due to a clutch failure. I was subsequently billed additional charges which (without going into the specifics) total as above.

The crux of the matter is, there was no “driver abuse,” the breakdown appears to be a mechanical failure due to normal wear and tear. I am 52 years old. I have been licensed and owned a manual transmission car continuously since I was 16 years old. I have rented and driven standard/manual cars throughout Europe including in Ireland, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal as well as in Kenya.I have never had an issue with the clutch in any of those rentals, which have occurred over the last twenty years, and didn’t have any problem driving or shifting the car I rented from EASIRENT until the actual clutch failure.

The three passengers in my car have all written letters explaining how the breakdown occurred. I have tried to provide this material directly to EASIRENT, but have just gotten a robo response indicating I would receive a response from customer service and never have.

EASIRENT did provide a receipt to my credit card company from Portman Motors post-dating the charges for a clutch repair, but that receipt says nothing about the cause of the clutch failure (and I am sure once e mechanic had a complete picture of what occurred they would not diagnose any driver error). I looked on the Peugeot UK website, and it describes cutch failure as one of the “10 most common repairs” due to normal wear and tear, and provides a quote for clutch replacement in the UK for the car I rented of about half what I was charged. http://www.peugeot.co.uk/servicing/10-most-common-repairs/

I am happy to provide you any documents you need that establish what I have outlined here. I look forward to your response.

YVT,
Mary Xxxxx
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Jan 6, 2015
2,002
1,962
113
#9
Thank you. Most of my "changes" would be about my style vs. yours. Your letter is quite a change from your original post and can be easily parsed. So i say send it ..
 
Sep 19, 2015
2,193
3,487
113
48
#10
I would take out the section on the Peugeot repair charges -- those charges are only available for "retail" customers, which I think excludes commercial rental agencies. I think the emphasis should be on the fact the you did not damage the car in the one hour of driving -- by talking about the repair charges it is almost admitting guilt and saying that you are overcharged. Instead emphasize your experience with manual transmission cars and that you do not abuse the clutch..
 
Mar 1, 2018
11
1
3
53
#11
I would take out the section on the Peugeot repair charges -- those charges are only available for "retail" customers, which I think excludes commercial rental agencies. I think the emphasis should be on the fact the you did not damage the car in the one hour of driving -- by talking about the repair charges it is almost admitting guilt and saying that you are overcharged. Instead emphasize your experience with manual transmission cars and that you do not abuse the clutch..
Thanks Christina - am sort of on the fence about that... I reason to get it in is as much for the "normal wear and tear" part as for the actual cost (though that isn't irrelevant)... I'll give it some thought.
 
Sep 19, 2015
2,193
3,487
113
48
#13
How old was the rental car? I do not think the clutch failure was from normal wear and tear — that usually happens on older cars. What likely happened is that previous renter(s) was/were casual driver(s) or not experienced with a manual and that there likely was clutch abuse —- but not by you. And again the repair cost for wear and tear for the retail client is not relevant to this situation.
 
Mar 1, 2018
11
1
3
53
#14
How old was the rental car? I do not think the clutch failure was from normal wear and tear — that usually happens on older cars. What likely happened is that previous renter(s) was/were casual driver(s) or not experienced with a manual and that there likely was clutch abuse —- but not by you. And again the repair cost for wear and tear for the retail client is not relevant to this situation.
I think the issue is, normal wear and tear by drivers who don't use a clutch well.. The car had about 30,000 miles on it. At the end of the day, I'm not sure it matters. If they refund it, it will be because they recognize I could not possibly have done the 'damage" suggested and been able to driver it where I did in the time I did, with no other signs of a problem. If they don't, it will be because they just want to charge someone for it.
 
Mar 1, 2018
11
1
3
53
#15
No response yet from EASIRENT's Paul Hanley yet (though I did not get a bounce back).. From CITI (related to my dispute of the charges) this remarkable response to my CFPB complaint. CITI: "I spoke with the customer to reinforce we are unable to assist with the dispute. I explained we have no means to prove the condition of the car prior to her accepting it for rental and she agreed to the condition of the car when she signed the agreement. I explained the merchant indicated the clutch failure was due to driver abuse and we have no means to prove this is inaccurate as she indicated by signing the rental agreement that the car was in good condition when she accepted the rental agreement. I explained the charge cannot be considered fraudulent as she provided her credit card for the billing of the rental. I reinforced we are past timeframes to continue the dispute. I sent a letter to confirm our conversation and explained a $40.61 credit has been applied to her account for the interest billed on her 2/18 statement. I provided the verbiage related to credit bureau reporting and explained because she disagrees with the resolution we have previously requested a note be added to her credit profile. I explained should she wish to have the note removed to contact our office. I explained we are not able to determine what effect this may have on her credit rating as other factors and actions by other creditors which we do not control."

CITI's response is in essence: 1) every renter has to be a mechanic, and a clairvoyant one at that, when they look over the car. Certifying a car to be in good condition when you sign the overview means that is has no obvious or apparent damage. That is the industry standard. It cannot mean every renter has to be a mechanic, and lift the hood up and check for and find any mechanical issue. It is the car rental company, and not the renter, who warranties that the rental car is in good mechanical order. 2) that CITI must accept a merchant's response to a fraud complaint at face value, but of course, when is someone committing fraud ever going to admit to it. EASIRENT did not make the driver abuse claim until after I challenged the charge with CITI and I submitted substantial documentation to CITI (after the untimely and conclusory claim of driver abuse was made) establishing why that was not the case. If all CITI is required to do under the terms of the contract is to accept the merchant's representation at face value then their fraud protection is wholly illusory.
 
Jan 6, 2015
2,002
1,962
113
#16
It is too soon, I think, to expect a response from Paul Hanley. And when trying to prove a negative ("I did not harm the clutch"), it is an uphill battle unless one has irrefutable proof, which you cannot provide. You have only your experience driving with manual transmissions and your integrity to offer them. That and the likelihood of the damage you describe occurring within 1 hour of rental.

So, CITI seems top be saying just that: you cannot prove substantially that you did not.

Give Paul Hanley until the end of this week to respond ...
 
Mar 1, 2018
11
1
3
53
#17
It is too soon, I think, to expect a response from Paul Hanley. And when trying to prove a negative ("I did not harm the clutch"), it is an uphill battle unless one has irrefutable proof, which you cannot provide. You have only your experience driving with manual transmissions and your integrity to offer them. That and the likelihood of the damage you describe occurring within 1 hour of rental.

So, CITI seems top be saying just that: you cannot prove substantially that you did not.

Give Paul Hanley until the end of this week to respond ...
Thanks. Wasn't expecting Hanley to respond yet - just noting it with the CITI update. I recognize that trying to prove a negative is very difficult, but it isn't clear to me that I have to do/should have to do that? Why doesn't the merchant have to prove the charge was authorized? In any event, even if I had to make some sort of substantial showing that I did not abuse the car, there is more here, at the very least: 1) likelihood of damage occurring in the time and mileage I drove (not just time); 2) EASIRENT did not claim "driver abuse" when they first notified me of the charges, didn't do so until six weeks later, and only in conjunction with my charge dispute; 3) EASIRENT they said repair service (Portman Motors) "diagnosed" driver abuse when that was not on the invoice they provided from Portman Motors (who will not return my inquiries); 3) plus I provided three signed witness statements from the three folks in the car the entire time describing in detail their recollection of the course of events. That's more than my experience driving manual transmissions (which should count for a little, or rather, if I were inexperienced, that should weigh in EASIRENT's favor) and my integrity (not sure anyone's "integrity" in a vacuum counts or should count, it is just their credibility when considered in light of the other facts). So I stand by the statement, CITI is taking the merchant's untimely claim at face value, and how is that consistent with their proffered fraud protection?
 
Sep 19, 2015
2,193
3,487
113
48
#18
Citibank has no way to investigate. This is not a straightforward fraud charge. The fact is that the car broke down during your rental and the rental agreement has the provisions to charge for damage in the contract. The clutch had to be replaced.

A clutch should not fail at 30000 miles — likely previous renters rode the clutch and wore it out.
An experienced driver of manual transmissions like yourself does not have clutches repaired at 30000 miles.

I am not sure what the point is of calling the repair shop. A clutch failing early would be caused by either mechanical/ design error or driver error. The repair shop is saying driver error which is what they term driver abuse. There clearly was abuse —- but NOT by you the OP.

I would think the efforts should be focused on Easirent and trying to get an answer from them.
 
Likes: VoR61
Mar 1, 2018
11
1
3
53
#19
Citibank has no way to investigate. This is not a straightforward fraud charge. The fact is that the car broke down during your rental and the rental agreement has the provisions to charge for damage in the contract. The clutch had to be replaced.

A clutch should not fail at 30000 miles — likely previous renters rode the clutch and wore it out.
An experienced driver of manual transmissions like yourself does not have clutches repaired at 30000 miles.

I am not sure what the point is of calling the repair shop. A clutch failing early would be caused by either mechanical/ design error or driver error. The repair shop is saying driver error which is what they term driver abuse. There clearly was abuse —- but NOT by you the OP.

I would think the efforts should be focused on Easirent and trying to get an answer from them.
Thanks. Point of calling repair shop was that EASIRENT said that repair shop "diagnosed driver abuse," even though that wasn't on their invoice. I was trying to determine, did they, and did they say it was my driver abuse. Once they found out what I was calling about, they didn't respond. That seems odd. It also seems odd that Easirent would use a Glasgow service hours away from where the car broke down, when Edinburgh where I rented the car was much closer. Anyway, I am not a mechanic. Was just trying to get the facts. I have no idea how long a clutch should last. All I know is what the car manufacturer's website said which was that clutch failures are among 10 most common repairs due to normal wear and tear. Under EASIRENT and CITI's model, care renters beware: you, and not the rental company is now warrantying mechanical breakdowns. Just seems wrong.
 
Likes: VoR61

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
767
777
93
45
St Louis
#20
I have been driving manual transmissions for 20+ years. I've never had to replace a transmission and that's in 4 vehicles, although the 4th is less than a year old. I keep my cars on average 10 years but do have relatively low mileage - last car had 80,000 miles for a 10 year old car. The first one though, 89 Mazda 323, I beat that car to hell and back. But still never replaced the transmission.