National Car Rental False Damage Claim

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Nov 14, 2019
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#1
My stepdaughter from Germany returned a car to Orange County Airport. The agent checked out the car, said everything was fine, but then two days later they sent a request for payment for a broken tail light. The picture they sent did not have a time stamp, but it was evident the picture was taken at least twelve hours after the car was returned (or longer) and the car was muddy. When my stepdaughter turned the car in, the car was clean. We have tried unsuccessfully to obtain a picture from the night the car was turned in, but National claims their cameras were down that night. If there was proof that my stepdaughter and her husband damaged the car, they would pay for those damages immediately. However, there is no proof. National has not been helpful in the least. In fact, another letter my stepdaughter received in the mail also included a letter for someone from Canada. I'm wondering if it's the foreigners that get hit with these charges since the thought is that they won't fight them. My stepdaughter has finally paid for the damages that they did not cause; they received some very threatening letters. National owes them the money back.
 
Sep 20, 2015
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#3
This unfortunately is a common thing (scam!) the rental car companies pull (and it's not just in the US, we've seen it from overseas too). They discover damage, go down the list of the renters until one pays or pushes back. For all we know, they send letters to all of the previous renters and if they get more than one person paying, even better. Fraud, yes. Legal, questionable.

They sometimes include pictures, but never a time or date stamp since that would say when it happened. The letters often sound threatening, especially when the rental car company turns over to a collection agency.

Definitely protest to National as Neil suggests, be polite and business like, follow the process exactly and hopefully they will refund her money. I'm just hoping they don't ignore her emails because they already have her money.
 
Nov 14, 2019
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#4
Thank you. Had this happened to me, I would NEVER have paid it. However, they are Germans who travel to the states frequently. They always rent from National. It's a surprise that they have been treated so poorly. It was their decision to get this taken care of. This is the first time they have returned a rental car to Orange County Airport (aka John Wayne Airport and Santa Ana Airport). Not sure, but perhaps that is where the issue is. All I know is that National needs to refund their money.
 
Nov 14, 2019
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#5