How to best proceed with a rental car damage claim?

Old Nov 4, 19, 11:25 am
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How to best proceed with a rental car damage claim?

I rented a car in Iceland from Avis and cracked the bumper. At turn in, I told the rep about the crack and he said the cost would be ~1,500USD. Since I was in a hurry to get to my plane, I signed a form accepting responsibility and paid for the damage on the spot. That said, I thought the charge was quite out of line with the extent of the damage and told the rep that. The rep said that it might be possible it would end up being less than the estimate, and in that case I would be refunded the difference.

When I got to my next destination I called AMEX (I have the gold Delta Skymiles card, which I've had for about a decade now) and they suggested disputing the charge so that AMEX can have leverage to get AVIS to cooperate with them. The rep said that it is often the case that rental car companies will not bother cooperating with AMEX if they have already been paid in full for the damage, so it is standard policy to dispute the charge until they have what they need from the rental company.

However, when I picked up the car they told me that I would have to pay a deposit on it to the tune of around 500USD. I never saw that charge posted at all. I also have not see the charge for the cost of the car be posted yet.

How should I proceed? Should I dispute the damage charge? If they post the deposit charge should I then also dispute that? Obviously I would not dispute the charge for the rental of the car itself.

Does anyone have experience with this?
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Old Nov 4, 19, 11:45 am
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Welcome to Flyertalk.

Originally Posted by Linan View Post
.... when I picked up the car they told me that I would have to pay a deposit on it to the tune of around 500USD. I never saw that charge posted at all. I also have not see the charge for the cost of the car be posted yet.
This is normal. The "deposit" would have been a "hold" on a portion of your credit line. If it had been a domestic USA transaction you would have seen it as a pending transaction, but American Express dos not display foreign transactions until they are finalized.

How many days now since you returned the car?
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Old Nov 4, 19, 12:07 pm
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Cool, thank you very much for explaining how the "deposit" works!

I returned the car on Saturday. I called Amex on Sunday, and they could not dispute the charge yet because it was still pending. I checked my account just now and it has now been posted.

I am a bit worried that somehow if I dispute the charge as Amex suggests, this will antagonize Avis and they will actually be less likely to follow through. But I am very naive in all these matters so I realize this is probably pretty silly and I should probably just do what the Amex rep suggested.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 12:49 pm
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There is no urgency to dispute a charge that just posted today. I would begin by submitting the CDW claim, and wait a few days for others to reply about the dispute.

The terms of the CDW benefit are here:

https://www.americanexpress.com/cont...ev%2003-18.pdf

Begin claim here:

https://onlineclaims.americanexpress.com/claims/home.do
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Old Nov 4, 19, 12:56 pm
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Thanks for your input! I should have mentioned that I already did file a claim online on Sunday (early EST) with Amex, after speaking to them on the phone. I would never have thought to dispute the claim but the agent seemed to think it was the best option, almost made it seem like standard procedure. That said, it would be ideal if Avis just fulfills their obligations to Amex and supplies them with the necessary documents without having to file a dispute! So maybe I will wait for a bit and just see if it gets resolved as it should.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 5:41 pm
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I had my own issues with a vehicle return in Iceland and I can tell you it worked out fine although it was quite distressing initially (and EXPENSIVE for something that I truly believe was a shakedown of pre-existing or non-existing damage). You will pay for the damage at the point of return. You’ll then open a claim with AMEX and have to request some documents from the rental car agency. If Avis is anything like the rental car company I used, they will send all the information to you in Icelandic. AMEX will send the paperwork out to be translated. About 2 or 3 weeks later it will come back and you’ll get reimbursed by AMEX. I hope you took lots of pictures. With any luck all of this will be completed before your AMEX bill is due.

You can always dispute the charge, in fact I did do this after the rental car agency had not replied for my multiple requests for information, but ironically while I was on the phone disputing the charge I received an e-mail back from the agency with the requested documents. Once I was reimbursed I cancelled the dispute.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 6:00 pm
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If you dispute the claim from Avis (whether justified or not), be prepared to never be able to rent from Avis or Budget ever again since they'll put you on the do not rent list.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 7:50 pm
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This is the serious potential consequence of disputing CC charges with any rental company. It should involve a lot of money, be clearcut and not resolveable by any other means.
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Old Nov 5, 19, 4:46 am
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Originally Posted by jags86 View Post
I had my own issues with a vehicle return in Iceland and I can tell you it worked out fine although it was quite distressing initially (and EXPENSIVE for something that I truly believe was a shakedown of pre-existing or non-existing damage). You will pay for the damage at the point of return. You’ll then open a claim with AMEX and have to request some documents from the rental car agency. If Avis is anything like the rental car company I used, they will send all the information to you in Icelandic. AMEX will send the paperwork out to be translated. About 2 or 3 weeks later it will come back and you’ll get reimbursed by AMEX. I hope you took lots of pictures. With any luck all of this will be completed before your AMEX bill is due.

You can always dispute the charge, in fact I did do this after the rental car agency had not replied for my multiple requests for information, but ironically while I was on the phone disputing the charge I received an e-mail back from the agency with the requested documents. Once I was reimbursed I cancelled the dispute.
Thank you SO much for sharing your experience! This, along with the next comments from other posters, cements my intuition that it seemed a bit knee-jerk to file a dispute right away. I hope Avis will just behave a bit better than the company you used did and that I will not have to escalate the matter as a dispute to get them to respond. I am glad your process sounds like the one I went though at the point of return. However, I am hoping that since Avis is a large company they will send the documenation in English.

Unfortunately, I did NOT take "a lot" of pictures. Why do you think this is important to have on hand? Now I am nervous!

Also, I just got an email from AMEX about the claim, saying they would handle contacting Avis. I am curious as to why you chose to contact them yourself? Did you do so after AMEX tried and failed? Or was it taking too much time? Or was the process just different for you (maybe a slightly different card has slightly different procedures with this)?

Thank you again so much for your input! It's very helpful!
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Old Nov 5, 19, 5:42 am
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Here is a thread from 2015 which may be helpful:

Avis Europe rental CDW claim -Amex Platinum
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Old Nov 5, 19, 6:23 am
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Renting a car in Iceland requires massive due diligence by the renter. Check out the TripAdvisor boards for scare stories, but it is important to thoroughly document the condition of the car, inside and out, including the tires, before you leave the lot. Do it again when you drop off, unless they are viewing the car when you return it.

Pictures, video, either will do. But problems with pre-existing damage and tiny scratches are not uncommon there.
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