Enterprise wants to charge me $2000.00 for a clutch that I did not burn out- Help?!?!

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Aug 30, 2017
My good friend and I planned a 10 day trip to Iceland over the course of the past 2 years- we rented a car, standard because a stick shift is what I have driven for the last 12 years, a Kia picanto with 52000 miles on it- after about 60 km I commented to my friend that the clutch felt a little sticky and that shifting into reverse was difficult-but other than that it was fine- I just assumed that it was the type of car- very different from my Volvo stick and my chevy stick- we drove it for about 350 km- in three days- when I noticed the smell of a burning clutch- and that the gears wouldn't shift up- I pulled over to the side of the road turned the car off and back on and the clutch was completely blown- we didn't do any mountain driving- and I did not ride the clutch- I never stalled- I called enterprise at 9 15pm and then entered the nightmare zone. Me and my girlfriend stranded on the side of the road in iceland- cold and the guy at enterprise couldn't get a tow truck- finally after 3 hours a tow truck driver comes up says it's the clutch- and leaves us on the side of the road to go get another car to drive us to our hotel- our hotel won't answer the phone and is 2 hours away- so we have nowhere to stay- we finally get a hotel somewhere that cost 400 usd a night- and get in at 1 in the morning. The next day I wake up and call enterprise at 7 which is the time I was told a car would be on its way- I also was told we would have the car by 1030 when we needed to check out of the hotel- I couldn't get anyone on the phone for a literal hour and then was told that my card would be charged for the cost of the clutch and the tow- in total around 2000 dollars on Friday after there mechanic confirms it- I don't understand this area of business I DID NOT BURN OUT THAT CLUTCH- how could they prove that I did -- they rent them because they are cheaper than an automatic but yet the individuals renting the vehicles haven't driven a stick shift in a million years- I just want to know how to handle the situation- they are bringing a new car to me today- which cost me another "night" at the hotel- because they are so late getting the car to me (the guy on the phone literally apologized by saying that the night shift guy didn't do his job which is why the car is so late) and then on Friday I'm supposed to get notified of what "there mechanic" says- and whether or not I'm getting charged 2000 or not- I've already cried my eyes out- I'm just overwhelmed and exhausted at the cost of this
Feb 9, 2016
Really this issue is going to boil down to service records. how old was that clutch? How many miles did you drive it and how many miles were on the clutch before you got to it?

In the end you may be responsible for a pro rated amount of repairing the clutch, but that is going to be trivial.

First things first - the rental company must prove that they not only serviced the car/clutch correctly over the life of the car/clutch, but they also have service records reflecting the mileage, just before you picked the car up, showing that the clutch was in perfect shape.

Let them charge your card and leave the charge on there till you get home, you need a car after all.

Let them know that you need the detailed write up, including broken out charges, of the mechanics findings, in terms of the clutch.

BE NICE. BE ACCOMODATING (after all, you need a vehicle)

Let the rental company know that you are happy to consider the situation, but that you are going to need detailed service records for the vehicle and the clutch that demonstrate that no one other than you could have caused the issue. if they come back at you with their 'you signed the contract agreeing to pay for damage caused during your rental period" Tell them "yes, i did. All i am asking is that you prove to me that I actually caused the damage, and that the damage isn't a matter of normal wear and tear on a renal vehicle"

In the end you can always dispute the charge.

We have a process to follow as far as handling these claims - but why not enjoy Iceland while you are there and deal with this once you get back?
Likes: Mlnels02
Feb 9, 2016
Here is the link to review on how to dispute car rental damage claims in case you do want to take this up while you are there


Remember, be nice, appear to be accommodating. present yourself as if you want to solve the issue and get to the bottom of this, but you need their help.

Your credit card probably has insurance you can take advantage of, check that out.
Nov 14, 2016
Ugh. I hate these cases because the damage happened while in possession of the renter.

1. The clutch failure is quite likely due to wear and tear. While 55k isn't a ton of miles to get on a clutch, on a rental that's an eternity. Thus I would be demanding clear pictures of the clutch and would take them to a Kia mechanic in the USA. Hopefully, they will state that the failure was due to wear and tear.

2. The second issue is the price. A clutch does not cost $2,000. The number should be about half that. So if it comes back close to that price, I'd laugh them out of the ballpark.

Now sas80 has already pointed to some good documentation and processes so there's no use restating that stuff. So my advice is to relax. There's no need to get emotional. In fact, that will work against you. Just enjoy the rest of your trip, come back to the US and then deal with it by following some of the steps sas has recommended. There's nothing you can do right now and there's nothing you really need to do right now. In the meanwhile, don't accept - or deny - any liability. Don't sign anything. And just remember that this will get resolved but you'll have to go through the process to get it resolved.
Sep 19, 2015
Kahhss I respectfully disagree on laughing at them about the price. Iceland is in the top 5 for most expensive costs of living -- most things have to be imported, taxes etc --- I suppose it depends on how extensive the repair is and how far the towing was -- but one has to price the repair costs by local standards not our costs. The labor costs for a mechanic are high and then there is tax of almost 25 percent included...

There are some posts on traveler forums discussing the high costs of repair in Iceland. That does not mean that the charge is not inflated a bit but saying it should be half is likely off.

I would suspect that this clutch had been worn down by previous renters.