Help! Estimate of Letter received after thinking all was good :(

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Dec 15, 2018
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#1
Hi. I’ve read up on a lot of threads re: disputing charges to rental car damages when not at fault. In my case, I’m slightly at fault and not sure how to proceed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! TIA!

Sorry in advance for the long post ;)

We were in French Polynesia and our rental car reversed into a ditch (we opted out of ins or damage waivers stupidly as our cc covers secondary. We didn’t know until after the fact that our auto ins does not coverage international rentals). We were able to get it out with lots of help from kind people around. We called the rental company for a tow truck but ultimately did not need one; however, this prompted a note for the rental company to thoroughly check the return.

We check out and the employee thoroughly walks around the car, and gives us the all clear except for one caveat. Sign the return form to note they need to check under the front tire for mechanical damages. So, I wrote “awaiting manager to check under the tire front right tire area. Everything else is ok.” Maybe I shouldn’t have done that? Too late now :(

Fast forward 2 weeks, we get an email with an “estimate of damages” for almost $8000! They also said it’s the 2nd email as we didn’t respond to the first. The invoice is in French so I responded with (1) we never received the first email they claimed to have sent and (2) please send invoice in English. I plan to send the following email based on your recommendations to others on here and would love your advice/feedback prior to doing so. Oh, and I plan to file a claim with our cc company as well.

Dear Sir or Madam.

I am writing in response to the “Estimate of Repair” letter dated 11/28/18, and sent/received by me via email on 12/14/18 (see attached). This is in regard to a car rental with Hertz from 11/20/18 to 11/27/18.

As I stated in my initial email response on 12/14/18 (immediately following your received email): (1) I had not received any email prior to the one sent on 12/14/18 with the invoice (your email stated 2nd attempt); (2) I request that you please resend the letter in English; and (3) I am disputing the amount claimed as when we returned the car, there was no physical damage and it was signed off by your employee after a thorough walk through (as noted in the return paperwork).

I dispute the value demanded and deny any physical or mechanical damage to the car. The car was running smoothly when I dropped it off and got it signed off. Your employee stated you were only going to check for damages under the right front end of the car next to the back of the front right tire for possible mechanical problems but that there was no physical damages noted. I revoke all authority to charge my credit card.

To help me further in handling this matter with you, I respectfully request copies of the following information:.

• Your copies of the original agreement and the receipt given to me when I returned the car.

• Time stamped and dated pictures of the damage you are claiming.

• A picture of the mileage indicator showing the mileage on the car when the damage was noted.

• A copy of the incident report.

• If the car was repaired, a copy of the receipt showing the car was repaired and the cost that was paid for the repair.

• A picture/copy of the license plate number on the car.

• A copy of the fleet utilization log.

• Rental forms for the five rentals preceding mine and all rentals subsequent (with their names and personal information blacked out to protect their privacy). Including vehicle condition reports for the vehicle for all rentals.

Please note that this email is being cc’d to a corporate executive of Hertz. I respectfully request to receive these by Dec. 25, 2018 (10 days from my email request). If I do not hear back from you, I will assume that this claim is closed and no further actions will be taken.

Sincerely,
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,134
14,731
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
What exactly happened to the car? You didn’t tell us enough about what exactly happened when you went into the ditch. How deep was the ditch? How did you get it out? How do you know there was absolutely no damage- did you take it to a mechanic before you took it back to the car rental office?
 
Dec 15, 2018
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#3
What exactly happened to the car? You didn’t tell us enough about what exactly happened when you went into the ditch. How deep was the ditch? How did you get it out? How do you know there was absolutely no damage- did you take it to a mechanic before you took it back to the car rental office?
Hi Neil.
Sorry, I was just overwhelmed with it all. There’s a bunch of deep ditches around that area and apparently it happens to lots of people. We rolled back while driving a manual and it was in neutral. It wasn’t going fast at all. But, you’re right, I cannot say there was no mechanical damage but there was no noise and no problem driving it after all the people helped to lift the car out of the ditch.
I can’t read the estimate but when I used google translate, some of what it shows is “laying/tearing”; straightening & welding”; prep & painting; painting package; painting; rocker 6; p-ch absorber; tailgate fastening; front bumper; fixing lot; windshield glue kit; inner spar 6; window wedge; mudguard avd; emblem shutter; triangle avd ass; and tailgate at.
Not knowing much about cars, it still sounds to me like most, if not all of this, does not have anything to do with the front right tire and that area of the car going into the ditch.
Does this clarify? Are you able to give me feedback and should I revise that email I planned to send them? If so, how? Thank you!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,134
14,731
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
Without insurance, you are responsible for the damage. Was this a major car rental company or a local company?

I never understand why people don’t check insurance coverage before renting a car. Often insurance isn’t valid internationally and that leaves you on the hook for all damages.

You can write and ask for pictures of the damage but honestly- you might need a lawyer.
 

Barry Graham

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Jan 7, 2015
1,030
894
113
#6
Does the credit card you used include car rental insurance that might cover this (although there could be a deductible)?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#7
As you told the company that the car went into a ditch, you cannot claim that you deny damaging the car, as to see the undercarriage the car needs to be put on a lift.

I think asking for invoice in English will get you nowhere. The rental was in French Polynesia where the official language is not surprisingly French. The repair shop staff are likely not fluent in English.

If you post a copy as an attachment I can probably translate it for you if legible.
 
Dec 15, 2018
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#8
Without insurance, you are responsible for the damage. Was this a major car rental company or a local company?

I never understand why people don’t check insurance coverage before renting a car. Often insurance isn’t valid internationally and that leaves you on the hook for all damages.

You can write and ask for pictures of the damage but honestly- you might need a lawyer.
It was Hertz. My cc has secondary coverage so I’m filing a claim through them.
Should I not write the follow up email to them? I just don’t understand why they’re talking about paint and windshield and tailgate if it all occurred in the front right corner only and that’s the area they marked on the exit paperwork.
 
Dec 15, 2018
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#9
Does the credit card you used include car rental insurance that might cover this (although there could be a deductible)?
Hi Barry. Yes, it covers as “secondary”. As mentioned above, I plan to file a claim through them. I just didn’t know if there’s anything else I can do to help reduce the charges or if I should just file the claim and let the cc insurance deal with it. What do you think?
 
Dec 15, 2018
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#10
Without insurance, you are responsible for the damage. Was this a major car rental company or a local company?

I never understand why people don’t check insurance coverage before renting a car. Often insurance isn’t valid internationally and that leaves you on the hook for all damages.

You can write and ask for pictures of the damage but honestly- you might need a lawyer.
Oh. And yeah, in retrospect, I should’ve got coverage but I thought I was covered since my cc covered the rental.
 
Dec 15, 2018
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#11
As you told the company that the car went into a ditch, you cannot claim that you deny damaging the car, as to see the undercarriage the car needs to be put on a lift.

I think asking for invoice in English will get you nowhere. The rental was in French Polynesia where the official language is not surprisingly French. The repair shop staff are likely not fluent in English.

If you post a copy as an attachment I can probably translate it for you if legible.
Hi Christina. Yeah, I know :( I thought to say we didn’t go in the ditch (since there was no proof and the guys got it out and the tow company wasn’t needed), but decided it was best to be honest so that kharma doesn’t come back to me.
Is there a way to private message you the invoice? Thank you!
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
Hi Christina. Yeah, I know :( I thought to say we didn’t go in the ditch (since there was no proof and the guys got it out and the tow company wasn’t needed), but decided it was best to be honest so that kharma doesn’t come back to me.
Is there a way to private message you the invoice? Thank you!
Look for a message from me — envelope icon.

Send a claim to CC insurance — get that started, so you do not miss any deadlines!
 

Barry Graham

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Jan 7, 2015
1,030
894
113
#14
Hi Barry. Yes, it covers as “secondary”. As mentioned above, I plan to file a claim through them. I just didn’t know if there’s anything else I can do to help reduce the charges or if I should just file the claim and let the cc insurance deal with it. What do you think?
Yes absolutely, as Neil and Christina said do it ASAP. That's one of the perks and benefits of using such a card. That was the whole reason you declined the coverage in the first place! Provided the damage is covered, you will either pay nothing or the deductible, depending on the terms of your coverage. Either way it will be a lot less money than what they currently want you to pay and a lot less hassle.
 
Dec 15, 2018
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#17
File the claim first and see what your cc company says first.
Ok. Thanks again so much! Sucks that it popped up, esp around the holidays :( I thought I was in the clear since I was honest and I didn’t hear from them. So glad I found this forum and all of you to help me process through it all. Thank you!
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#18
Ok. Thanks again so much! Sucks that it popped up, esp around the holidays :( I thought I was in the clear since I was honest and I didn’t hear from them. So glad I found this forum and all of you to help me process through it all. Thank you!
Being clear and honest has nothing to do with damages.
Being clear and honest is being ethical on your part.

Unless you have proof that the damage quite is fraudulent on the car rental company, it is what it is.

The CC is secondary, but since the primary does not apply, the CC claim is primary.

General comment not directed at the OP. Be careful with international rentals. There are also significant exclusions as to CC coverage. I don't know about French Polynesia, but I do know that CC coverage for certain countries (ie Italy, Ireland, etc) is limited to non-existent.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Dec 15, 2018
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#19
Being clear and honest has nothing to do with damages.
Being clear and honest is being ethical on your part.

Unless you have proof that the damage quite is fraudulent on the car rental company, it is what it is.

The CC is secondary, but since the primary does not apply, the CC claim is primary.

General comment not directed at the OP. Be careful with international rentals. There are also significant exclusions as to CC coverage. I don't know about French Polynesia, but I do know that CC coverage for certain countries (ie Italy, Ireland, etc) is limited to non-existent.
Thanks Chris!

I called the CC claims Dept and they said it’s covered so I filed the claim yesterday (return of car was about 2 1/2 weeks ago). But, yes, after this experience, I would highly advise anyone traveling international to check all coverages prior to going.

Just an afterthought - I bought travel insurance. Would anyone know of hand if that would cover too? I’m going to look at the fine print after this message ;)

As for if they’re being fraudulent, I don’t know. Google translate showed that what was on the invoice just didn’t seem to match the car going into the ditch (i.e. windshield, paint, tailgate). Hopefully my claim is approved and they (cc co) will be able to hash that out.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#20
Thanks Chris!

I called the CC claims Dept and they said it’s covered so I filed the claim yesterday (return of car was about 2 1/2 weeks ago). But, yes, after this experience, I would highly advise anyone traveling international to check all coverages prior to going.

Just an afterthought - I bought travel insurance. Would anyone know of hand if that would cover too? I’m going to look at the fine print after this message ;)

As for if they’re being fraudulent, I don’t know. Google translate showed that what was on the invoice just didn’t seem to match the car going into the ditch (i.e. windshield, paint, tailgate). Hopefully my claim is approved and they (cc co) will be able to hash that out.
Glad the CC will cover it.

It depends on what travel insurance you bought. As you said, you will need to read the terms of the insurance you purchased.

Just one final warning... you may still not be in the clear. The rental car agency may try and bill you for "diminished value" and "loss of use" which the CC may not cover. Not saying it definitely will happen, but be prepared. If so, then you may still have to write the executives.

Also, make sure you understand what "secondary coverage" means when renting a car in the US. Secondary coverage means that you will have to file a claim with your own car insurance first, before the CC coverage kicks in. There are a few credit cards that offer "primary" coverage. There is a lot of fine print, and I think this is an eye opening experience for you and you will be much better informed in the future.