How to deal with returning a car with damage and loss of use

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Dec 31, 2014
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My car was in the shop and Geico was paying for a rental car - so it was Enterprise. I live in DC and wouldn't you know, when I was parallel parked someone put a walnut sized dent into the bumper - curses!

I pointed this out to the person when I returned this car. He was all bullish on having to charge my whole insurance deductible, which was $500. I said I wasn't going to do that and he said I was going to have to and I said where did it state that was the policy ... . His whole demeanor seemed to be rather overbearing.

There was another location nearby, so I went there. Totally different story - the man was entirely reasonable, said they might even pop it out and not replace the bumper. He was going to charge a reasonable amount to my credit card (I forget how much) and Enterprise would be in touch if it cost more.

I did get a letter requesting a small amount more and then a charge for loss of use. I sent in the amount extra, explaining that I wasn't going to pay the loss of use unless they could show me that the car wouldn't have been sitting on the lot that day. This was perhaps a year ago and I never heard anything back about that. Are they still trying on that ridiculous loss of use wheeze?
 

Grant Ritchie

Dependable adequacy :-)
Oct 1, 2014
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Hi Antonia,

I'm one of a Chris' assistants.

Oh, yeah. They're always trying the "Loss of use" money grab. I'm surprised you dodged that particular bullet. Way to stand up for yourself!

Grant :)
 
Dec 26, 2014
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In the Enterprise subtopic here, I posted about my Enterprise replacement rental. I had to pay a $500 deductible for my own car because it was a hit-and-run while parked. (Property damage uninsured motorist coverage is not available in most states.) The Enterprise person who brought me the car knew I would be vulnerable to his sales pitch for their coverage - the non-basic level with no deductible - in case something happened to the rental vehicle. Did you get this coverage pitched to you?

I'm not saying you were wrong to not take it. Most people (I hope) won't need it. And maybe your own car's deductible was being paid for through an at-fault other driver that could be located. In that case, Enterprise might not have taken advantage of a situation of needing to pay a deductible on your own car.
 
Dec 31, 2014
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Good question - no, I didn't take it. This was an instance, though where it almost certainly would have been better to take it, you're right.

As I expected, the cost of the repair to the bumper was far less than my $500 deductible. I think it might have been $250. There was no way I was going to let Enterprise charge $500 up front, before the repair. That's what they were going to do - charge the amount of my deductible to my credit cared. As the person who did the damage hadn't left a note I didn't think they'd ever find the other driver so I was pretty sure I was on my own. I just paid it out of pocket in the end and didn't make a claim.
 
Dec 31, 2014
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Yes - good point, especially when there's something like this hanging! I'm glad to say mine is fine - I get free updates as a perk on one of my credit cards.
 
Jan 27, 2015
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When renting at Enterprise one time, the representative informed me that if the car needs to be in the shop for repair, that I would have to pay the value of the rental days for which the car was unavailable, and that my personal insurance would not cover that. (Of course he was trying to get me to buy their insurance.) I had never heard of such a thing. Is that really true? In reading your above posts, it looks like Enterprise has tried to pull this with others. 1) is it just Enterprise that pulls this stuff, or is that standard in the rental industry? 2) is it generally true that personal insurance doesn't cover it? 3) Is there any way out of this?
 
Jan 6, 2015
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When renting at Enterprise one time, the representative informed me that if the car needs to be in the shop for repair, that I would have to pay the value of the rental days for which the car was unavailable, and that my personal insurance would not cover that. (Of course he was trying to get me to buy their insurance.) I had never heard of such a thing. Is that really true? In reading your above posts, it looks like Enterprise has tried to pull this with others. 1) is it just Enterprise that pulls this stuff, or is that standard in the rental industry? 2) is it generally true that personal insurance doesn't cover it? 3) Is there any way out of this?
Your insurance may or may not cover Loss of Use - check with them. But credit cards used for the rental often WILL cover it (and whatever else your primary does not cover).

What is interesting I discovered is that the CC providers are really strict in the documentation they require from the agencies. When I said that they may simply refuse, our CC provider laughed and said that they would not dare resist because they could lose a lot of business. Not ever a threat, but the agencies know it and comply (or so I'm told).
 
Likes: Grant Ritchie
Oct 10, 2014
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1) Yes. Hertz sent me a damage claim including a loss of use. Check your rental agreement. It probably mentions it. There was a lawsuit in Colorado or somewhere about this.
2) Yes. Nationwide quoted me a loss of use coverage, which I turned down. A frequent renter may buy it.
3) Just tell them you are not going to pay. They'll usually drop it or reduce the amount. Also, credit card company can pay it. I don't know how strict they are about substantiating documents (i.e. a fleet utilization log).
 
Likes: Grant Ritchie
Jan 6, 2015
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1) Yes. Hertz sent me a damage claim including a loss of use. Check your rental agreement. It probably mentions it. There was a lawsuit in Colorado or somewhere about this.
2) Yes. Nationwide quoted me a loss of use coverage, which I turned down. A frequent renter may buy it.
3) Just tell them you are not going to pay. They'll usually drop it or reduce the amount. Also, credit card company can pay it. I don't know how strict they are about substantiating documents (i.e. a fleet utilization log).
See my post above, Ken. Our CC provider demands (and gets) fleet utilization logs before they pay anything, whereas you and I would probably not.
 
Likes: Grant Ritchie
Oct 10, 2014
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I see. I saw my VISA travel benefits states so, but didn't know that they are strict about this. My damage claim didn't include a fleet utilization log (but it did a loss of use). As far as I searched in the Internet, it's not usually provided, at least to a renter.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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I see. I saw my VISA travel benefits states so, but didn't know that they are strict about this. My damage claim didn't include a fleet utilization log (but it did a loss of use). As far as I searched in the Internet, it's not usually provided, at least to a renter.
Right. For you and I they have no need to. But for the CC providers ...
 
Jan 8, 2015
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In the contract and when they are asking you to sign, they do specifically mention the loss of use fees. (at enterprise anyway) As mentioned, they would most likely not be able to provide proof of the actual lost time. Though last year when we had a flood locally and the rental agencies were all completely out of vehicles, they probably still would have continued to rent out a vehicle with minor damage like bumper scrapes or dents. then they would have gotten them repaired later, if at all.
 
Oct 10, 2014
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Exactly. That is my point, which I included in my rebuttal to Hertz. If the damage is purely cosmetic and the vehicle is otherwise functional, a rental car agency can keep lending it and elect to repair the damage later, minimizing loss of use. They should be able to manage their fleets efficiently. At least, that's what I would do if I'm running a rental car business.