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Damage claim AFTER car was inspected! (Newark Airport)

Damage claim AFTER car was inspected! (Newark Airport)

Old May 13, 14, 8:12 am
  #1  
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Damage claim AFTER car was inspected! (Newark Airport)

I just had an issue with a return of a 1-way car to Newark Airport (EWR).

Car was returned, a walk-around inspection was conducted by a National employee, all was good, nothing said about any damage, and a receipt was issued and I left.

A week later I received a letter from the Damage Recovery Unit claiming the car was damaged and wanting my insurance info, etc. Only listed a claim number, no description of the alleged damage.

I called the DRU, who informed me that there were allegedly "scratches on the roof." The report was made about an hour after I returned the car. It also indicated that this was not discussed with the driver (me), but then also said that driver was aware of the damage.

Owing to this contradiction the DRU rep said this file will be closed and no further action will be taken.

Sadly, this is my SECOND experience with National attempting to get money through apparently fraudulent "damage" claims in the past few months. The previous one was at Richmond airport (RIC), where the noticed a tiny crack in the taillight cover, invisible unless you looked at it with a bright light at just the right angle (probably had been there for months). That one was also closed out with no action.

Interestingly, both events involved 1-way rentals.

Is this becoming more common, or have I just been unlucky?

Other than these 2 incidents, I have had nothing but wonderful experiences with National at many places throughout the US, so I'm not condemning the company, but am wondering if this is a troublesome trend or just my bad luck. Any other similar FT experiences?
Maxwell Smart is offline  
Old May 13, 14, 8:29 am
  #2  
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Believe it or not, it's not a grand scheme to suck money out of you, the consumer. And it sounds like in your case no harm came to you or your wallet.

Fact is rental cars get damaged all the time in small and big ways. Someone needs to pay for it. So, the natural person to go to first is the last renter on the vehicle. I've had this happen with Hertz too. Last year, an HLE gave me a vehicle that had a spare tire mounted on it (and they documented doing so). Notwithstanding the documentation I got a call from Hertz's DRU two months later asking me about the tire and wanting to bill me for the cost of a new one! I had it all documented so all was well, but this is hardly unique to National, but rather common industry practice.

This is why it is so important to do a full walkaround of the car before you leave the lot, and insist that any damage you note (no matter how small) is entered in their system before you leave. Same thing at return time. Many of us take cell phone videos or pictures of the cars before and after for this exact reason.

Does it take more time? Absolutely. But at least to me and the others of us who do this, the extra 5 minutes can save a lot of headache and hassle later on.
dwbf11 is offline  
Old May 13, 14, 9:32 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by dwbf11 View Post
Believe it or not, it's not a grand scheme to suck money out of you, the consumer. And it sounds like in your case no harm came to you or your wallet.
Agreed, no harm to me or my wallet, but I feel I have to disagree to some extent about the 'grand scheme'-- I do feel that companies sometimes try to engage in methods of extracting "free money" out of their customers- in my cases, I think even if they got money out of me or my insurance there is absolutely no way that either the "roof scratches" or taillight crack would ever have been fixed, the money would just be pocketed. (but that's just my opinion).

Fact is rental cars get damaged all the time in small and big ways. Someone needs to pay for it.
True, but only if it's damage that actually needs to be fixed and was caused by the renter. Minor cosmetic items (real or alleged) that happen through normal usage/wear should not be cast as "damage" to be borne by the renter.

So, the natural person to go to first is the last renter on the vehicle. I've had this happen with Hertz too. Last year, an HLE gave me a vehicle that had a spare tire mounted on it (and they documented doing so). Notwithstanding the documentation I got a call from Hertz's DRU two months later asking me about the tire and wanting to bill me for the cost of a new one! I had it all documented so all was well, but this is hardly unique to National, but rather common industry practice.
Do you consider your experience above a common industry practice- i.e., attempting to bill you for something that's either an obvious mistake or blatant fraud? I would not.

This is why it is so important to do a full walkaround of the car before you leave the lot, and insist that any damage you note (no matter how small) is entered in their system before you leave. Same thing at return time. Many of us take cell phone videos or pictures of the cars before and after for this exact reason.

Does it take more time? Absolutely. But at least to me and the others of us who do this, the extra 5 minutes can save a lot of headache and hassle later on.
True, but how far do you take it? When I pick up a car, while I expect it to be in excellent condition, I don't expect it to be in pristine showroom condition; nor should National expect that I return it in pristine showroom condition. I mean, should I document a dried bug on the car because there's a chance that National will claim that the bug resulted in a fleck of paint coming off the car due to corrosion? How about tiny scratches near the bottom edge of the car that happen from normal road use?

I agree with you that actual damage needs to be addressed and paid for by someone, my problem is with National (or any other company) trying to extract money from the customer for normal usage wear (real or otherwise) as "damage" when they will not be doing any actual repair, cosmetic or otherwise.
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Old May 13, 14, 10:51 am
  #4  
 
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Interesting.

My last one-way was looked over at the destination with a fine-tooth comb.

Almost literally - they pulled out some sort of thin metal measuring device and measured the gap between the rear quarter panel and the bumper (or some part thereof) and said it was over spec and would have to be written up as damage.

Now, I looked at it upwards and downwards and crossways and maybe, just maybe, one would consider it damaged... but had LDW so didn't too care much. Just signed off on it and left.

I suspect the renting location was trying to pass it off onto someplace else because they practically begged me to take the particular vehicle off the lot. It was counter service only. They had it started and waiting when I arrived at the lot, walked me to it, opened the doors, helped load the bags, were real friendly, etc.
timstravel is offline  

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