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Old Dec 1, 05, 7:59 am   #1
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Ever caused a minor "ding" "scrap" or "dent" on a RENTAL CAR?

I recently rented a car and had a very minor accident. There was a small dent in the bumper. When I returned the car I decided to not say anything about the minor accident and see if the person from the car rental agency mentioned it. Nothing was said at the time. Though every night before I go to bed I think about the accident and wonder if the car rental agency has noticed the minor dent and plan to charge me for the damage.

Has anyone had a similar experience? Were you contacted after checking in the car? Or did a charge for the repair of the dent just show up on your credit card bill? Or did you get away with the problem? What happens when you get in a small car accident with a rented car and it was not discussed or noticed at check in?
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Old Dec 1, 05, 8:07 am   #2
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Oops. I knocked a side mirror off a Europcar rental about 10 years ago. I reported it when I turned the car in. No way they were going to miss it. Why not call and report it? Better late than never. I don't think that will change the cost, but eliminates or reduces legal ramifications. Calling certainly gives you the opportunity to discuss it with someone rather than having a heart attack when your credit card bill arrives.
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Old Dec 1, 05, 8:15 am   #3
 
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It depends. In the UK, my rentals are scrutised very closely when they're returned. If there's so much as a stone-chip, they usually point it out and threaten to bill me for it.

In the US, though, I've noticed that normal 'wear-and-tear' -- meaning parking lot dings, small scrapes on the bumpers, etc -- are normally not recorded. When you return a car, they're generally looking for something hanging off. If you weren't charged when you returned it, I suspect you're probably in the clear.

I rented a car with Hertz a few weeks ago. I spotted some scratch damage on the right side of the car, but the rest seemed clean. Still, I had just arrived on a long flight from Europe and didn't scrutinise it too closely.

The next morning, I noticed scratches on the LEFT side that were much larger than those on the right. While I'm absolutely certain I didn't hit anything, I can't rule out the possibility that someone hit my parked vehicle. Still, since I wasn't genuinely sure whether the damage happened during my rental or previously, I decided to return it without saying anything. Sure enough, the rental return agent didn't bat an eye.

YMMV.
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Old Dec 1, 05, 8:39 am   #4
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Don't worry about it. You won't be charged for a small dent in the bumper. A gash on a different panel or broken mirrors are a different story.

Just look at rental cars when you first get it. Unless the car is brand-new, there are always small scratches and dents. They'll not charge each renter for those things, and they won't fix them after each such "incident" either.
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Old Dec 1, 05, 8:55 am   #5
 
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I bumped a pole while backing out of the driveway in a rental car on the way to the airport a couple of years ago. It was a white car and the pole was black - some of the paint came off. I decided to stop at a Dollar General store and see if I could figure out a way to touch up the small scratches. I spent $1 on a bottle of Wite-Out and never heard about the problem from the rental agency.
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Old Dec 1, 05, 9:53 am   #6
 
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Yep. It was a deep to the metal scratch on the drivers side door with a sharp key, done totally by accident. The lady scrutinising the car on return didn't say anything so I assume it wasn't a problem. Perhaps I should have pointed it out
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Old Dec 1, 05, 10:07 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkkwan
Don't worry about it. You won't be charged for a small dent in the bumper.

It depends in which country you rented the car. I rent all the time in the US, and havge never had a single problem being charged for very minor dents.

Colombia and other foreign countries are very different. Before you take the car out in Colombia, bith you and the rental agent do a full inspection of the vehicle and denote EVERY ding, no matter how minor - even small dents in the bumper.

On one of my rentals (in Colombia) the agent met me at the airport as I was departing to pick up the car (standard practice). I absolutely did not damage the car in anyway, nor did he say anything upon picking up the car, but a week later the charge on my AMEX was $300 more than it should have been.

I called the agent, he told me he found a scratch, therefore he put through the additional charge. I told him there was no scratch and he was not authorized to charge my card.

AMEX agreed with me and reversed the charge two weeks later.
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Old Dec 1, 05, 10:19 am   #8
 
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didn't cause the ding but been blamed for it

When I traveled to DFW weeks ago, I rented from a very little rental company in the terminal. I don't have a habit of inspecting scraches and dings of a rental car at pick-up. Only did so when I just started traveling. And I am not a person who would stick my eye balls on the car (not even my own car) to find a little ding.

When I returned the car, however, the rental company staff found a little tiny ding on the front bumper. So small, I couldn't even see it at first when he pointed to me. I had to walk so close to the car and stood at certain direction so there is enough light in the garage to reflect that ding.

I replied to the staff flatly, the din wasn't caused by me. I only rented the car for a few hours, I was very sure that I didn't bump into anything and it was very unlikely someone had bumped into that car, either. It caused me a lot of time to talk with that very serious rental car staff. He went to check the paperwork of the car. He wanted me to sign some paper which said the car was perfect when I picked it up and it is me who refused to admit the cause of damage. I refused to sign and I was very mad.

I asked to talk to the manager who went to checked the car and couldn't see the din untill very close. I think he knew it well that his staff was clearly over-reacted. But he didn't apologize and said it is only reasonable for rental car company to do so and so. However, he would let me go this time.

Last edited by dodolin; Dec 1, 05 at 10:21 am.
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Old Dec 1, 05, 12:57 pm   #9
 
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I rented a moving van after dark.... didn't notice some damage due to the lack of light, and got charged $200 on return!
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Old Dec 1, 05, 1:04 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallstreet10006
It depends in which country you rented the car. I rent all the time in the US, and havge never had a single problem being charged for very minor dents.
It depends on the rental company, too. I never see more than a cursory once over when I return an Avis. But, the local Enterprise guys eyeball the car before I take it and mark up a sheet with all the dings and scratches. They do the same thing when I return it and compare the two.
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Old Dec 1, 05, 1:07 pm   #11
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had a hub cap stolen in UK - 15 for replacement
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Old Dec 1, 05, 1:18 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaVol
It depends on the rental company, too. I never see more than a cursory once over when I return an Avis. But, the local Enterprise guys eyeball the car before I take it and mark up a sheet with all the dings and scratches. They do the same thing when I return it and compare the two.
That's one reason I don't rent from them anymore. I'm tired of feeling as though I'm personally being inspected every time I bring a car back.
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Old Dec 1, 05, 1:23 pm   #13
 
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I was a passenger in a minibus a group of us had hired from Hertz in the UK. The driver managed to mangle a hub cap a bit and get a small dent in the panel next to the wheel. The driver admitted the damage when returning the minibus. The full 1500 excess was immediately charged to their debit card that they paid with. Subsequently after the damage was assessed they charged 120ish for the damage and refunded the rest of the excess. What we wanted to know is if the Hertz office ever had the damage repaired of if they just pocket the money. The dent was much smaller than several that there were when we picked up the minibus.
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Old Dec 1, 05, 1:42 pm   #14
 
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I hit a deer once with rental car. It was very early in the AM and I did inspect the car for damage. I didn't notice anything at all. I turned in the car and few days later got a call about dent in the hood of the car. I claimed ignorance, made a claim through my CIBC aerogold VISA and all was good!
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Old Dec 1, 05, 1:48 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candaceg
I bumped a pole while backing out of the driveway in a rental car on the way to the airport a couple of years ago. It was a white car and the pole was black - some of the paint came off. I decided to stop at a Dollar General store and see if I could figure out a way to touch up the small scratches. I spent $1 on a bottle of Wite-Out and never heard about the problem from the rental agency.

Thats hilarious... Though I think car rental companies know that customers treat their cars like crap.
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