False damage claim by Enterprise

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Oct 14, 2016
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#1
HI all. Note that this case began just yesterday with a phonecall, so I don't know the amount they plan to demand or certain other details. But I do have a question not answered in the FAQ:

Briefly, Enterprise is claiming damage to a car I rented, and I'm certain that no damage occurred on my watch. When renting, as usual, I declined Enterprise's LDW and used a credit card that automatically provides coverage. I've spoken with the card issuer and they were pleasant enough, but I didn't photograph the car before or after, so I'm dreading a fight. (I've rented cars since the 1970s and never had a company allege damage, so taking photos never crossed my mind til now. This was my first-ever rental from Enterprise.)

The unusual aspect of the case is this: I don't own a car myself (just a motorbike), so I have no personal auto insurance. I know card issuer insurance is 'secondary' coverage, but the credit card's agent couldn't say what that might mean for this case. Can you shed any light?

I've yet to receive any documentation from Enterprise, as the initial contact was just yesterday by phone -- but their DRU agent said both passenger-side doors had big scratches (I'm guessing from a sideswipe). I'm absolutely sure this couldn't have happened while I had the car -- we even unloaded the car from that side, in bright daylight, with 3 people watching, so one of us would've noticed.

The agent asked only a few neutral-sounding questions, like where the car was parked during the trip (hotel) and whether I'd used valet parking (no), then just collected vitals and said I'd be getting mail.

Adding to the strangeness of the claim is that the phonecall came 3 weeks after the rental. I can't believe the car would've sat there unexamined for that long.

Sorry for the ramble. Any help appreciated.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#2
Typically the credit cards have you pay your vehicle deductible and then they cover any damage claim over that amount. Do you have insurance on your motorbike? That deductible amount might apply to the situation.

For now, stop talking on the phone and start writing.

Review this section
http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-deal-with-a-car-rental-damage-claim.1514/

Compose your letter and send.

If anyone from Enterprise calls, let them know that, "I did not damage the rental car and due to the nature of this situation I am going to insist that all communication be handled in writing, here is my email address, please send me an email with the information you intend to convey today.
 
Likes: jsn55
Feb 9, 2016
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#3
here's one I just wrote for someone else

Dear xyzpfwr,

I did not cause the damage in question. I do not know when this damage occurred to the vehicle but it did not occur as a result of my negligence, or during my rental period. Therefore, I request that you close this case against me immediately.

In an effort to assist you in determining when this damage occurred, I will need all of the following documentation:

List item A
list item B
(all can be found here) http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-deal-with-a-car-rental-damage-claim.1514/

The items being requested above are the same items that would be a part of the standard discovery process, should this matter move into litigation, therefore, I see no reason why they should not be produced in a timely matter.

In a combined effort to resolve this matter, please reply with all documentation within 10 business days. If documentation is not received within 10 business days, I will consider this claim vacated and will close my file on this matter.

Thank you again for your time, attention and cooperation in this matter
sincerely
you
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#4
Use our tips, then read all the complaints in the car rental forum and see how many successful endings we have had with those consumers that do what the thread tells them.

Be persistent, use the letter SAS gave you and I think you'll see a happy ending, even if it takes a few weeks.
 
Oct 14, 2016
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#5
Hi Neil and Sas, thanks for the replies. I have in fact read that link and was already preparing my letter (& will definitely reuse Sas's text). But: is it appropriate to write them *before* I actually have their demand? My only contact so far have been their phonecall to me (with no damage amount or other specifics given) and today an equally vague email saying they're 'investigating' and will contact me within 2 weeks.

Sas - Yes, my bike is insured (with a $100 deductible), but I'm fairly certain that coverage applies only to the bike, so that was my main question at this stage.
 
Nov 3, 2015
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#6
Mark, I would hold off on sending them anything until you've gotten some paperwork in hand. Give them the two weeks to get you the information... who knows, maybe in the interim they'll find out that you had nothing to do with the scratches they think they saw.... that it was on a different car, that it happened after you returned the car, etc.
 
Oct 14, 2016
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#7
Thanks, that does make sense. Seems important to strike a balance -- to come off as neither apathetic nor fuming & sputtering. Thanks for all you guys do here.
 
Likes: jsn55
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#8
The hardest part is often putting on your poker face and keeping it there when something like this is going on. Hang in there... relentlessly polite and organized seems to scare 'em off. :D
 
Oct 14, 2016
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#9
Mm, no argument there. I was remarkably cool & calm during the phone call even while seething inside. And without thinking about it I 'thanked' the agent at the end, by name, and she seemed almost embarrassed. What an awful job to have.
 
Nov 3, 2015
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#10
Mm, no argument there. I was remarkably cool & calm during the phone call even while seething inside. And without thinking about it I 'thanked' the agent at the end, by name, and she seemed almost embarrassed. What an awful job to have.
Thanking them by name! Wonderful! You've got all the right instincts to keep 'em off-guard and considering cooperating!

I had a horrible mess going with the IRS mistake a few years ago... got passed around in phone hell a few times, and finally got a live human being in the right department. I thanked him immediately and told him he was my lucky number 3, could he help me fix this? Turned out it wasn't actually in his part of the department, but he was so impressed that I wasn't yelling and cussing at him that he went ahead and fixed it anyhow.


But yeah, I think I'd sooner have to rearrange grains of sand on a beach with tweezers than call people up and tell them they've got huge bills coming.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#12
Thanking them by name! Wonderful! You've got all the right instincts to keep 'em off-guard and considering cooperating!

I had a horrible mess going with the IRS mistake a few years ago... got passed around in phone hell a few times, and finally got a live human being in the right department. I thanked him immediately and told him he was my lucky number 3, could he help me fix this? Turned out it wasn't actually in his part of the department, but he was so impressed that I wasn't yelling and cussing at him that he went ahead and fixed it anyhow.


But yeah, I think I'd sooner have to rearrange grains of sand on a beach with tweezers than call people up and tell them they've got huge bills coming.
"Being nice" is such a help when requesting assistance, but your IRS story is a particularly good example. I think that most people get flustered (they're already angry but trying to hide it) when having a conversation like this. After being on a phone tree for 15 minutes punching buttons and listening to commercials, it's hard not to snap at the person who finally answers you. I think it's helpful to review the facts and have them in front of you when you call. Try to remember that the person you're talking to has a life and job like everyone else ... keep them 'humanized' in your mind.
 
Oct 10, 2016
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#13
Typically the credit cards have you pay your vehicle deductible and then they cover any damage claim over that amount. Do you have insurance on your motorbike? That deductible amount might apply to the situation.

For now, stop talking on the phone and start writing.

Review this section
http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-deal-with-a-car-rental-damage-claim.1514/

Compose your letter and send.

If anyone from Enterprise calls, let them know that, "I did not damage the rental car and due to the nature of this situation I am going to insist that all communication be handled in writing, here is my email address, please send me an email with the information you intend to convey today.
That is why I always take pictures of all sides of the vehicle before I leave the renal lot.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#14
That is why I always take pictures of all sides of the vehicle before I leave the renal lot.
That's great that you know to do that. also be sure to take pictures of the roof, front and back and the fender that runs along the underside of the vehicle. the front underside fender is where they tried to get me.