Rental car overheated and they are trying to charge me for it

 
Old May 14, 14, 3:31 pm
  #1  
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Rental car overheated and they are trying to charge me for it

I rented a car last month from Economy Rent A Car in Costa Rica.

A day before the end of the agreement the car overheated and stalled out. The radiator was bone dry. We had a gas station fill the radiator and continued on our way. An hour later it overheated and stalled again and we were stranded on the side of the road.

Economy sent out a tow truck and gave us a ride to our hotel. They told us they would give us a ride to the airport the next day, but then refused the next day. So we had to pay $40 for a cab.

Not only are they still charging me the full rental rate, despite getting the car back a day early, they sent me an email with documents they think my insurance may need.

I already have a dispute for the rental amount with my credit card company, as Economy has been unresponsive in my request for a refund.

I speculate that they are trying to charge the insurance associated with my United Mileage Plus Explorer card, as I have not seen any charges to the card aside from the initial rental. They are claiming they needed to replace the pistons and do a bunch of other mechanical work and somehow feel I am responsible for this. The invoice has no mention of the radiator, though it was leaking badly.

Am I, or my credit card, responsible for mechanical issues on a rental car? How do I proceed with this?

Thanks.
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Old May 15, 14, 12:19 pm
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I would tell them no way in hell.

Unless you got into a accident and the car was totaled or similar, I would tell them to bite it and fight it back. If they need to replace the pistons it's because they didn't service the car correctly and therefore the engine was damaged from normal driving. You're not expected to service the vehicle.

Being from Costa Rica myself, I would fight it back with your credit card company if they even dare to do charge you anything.

This is really bad advice, but if they send you to collections here in Costa Rica, it doesn't really matter, if you have no assets in the country or anything similar, they can't do anything (Same with credit card debts). Worst case scenario? You probably won't be able to rent from Dollar.
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Old May 15, 14, 2:00 pm
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Thank you Redwood. You have a very beautiful country and I loved my time there.

I agree wholeheartedly with what you said and appreciate your advice.

They have officially now filed an insurance claim with Visa. I am not sure how this affects me, but I did email Visa the pictures of the car showing there is no damage, as well as my account of what happened.

Economy Rent A Car went as far as to add erroneous details to documents I had already signed. They added an "estimate for repairs" for 1,500,000 colones after the fact on the document dated 4/22.

What's worse, is they appear to have forged an imprint of my credit card with the final cost of repairs. This imprint for the actual cost of repairs (1,112,557) is dated 4/22 and supposedly has my signature. The actual invoice from the repair facility is dated 4/28, for 1,112,557 colones.

They towed the car on 4/22 around 11:00pm. It was far too late for anyone to give any estimate, let alone do any repairs. I returned to the United States the very next day. So it is impossible that I could have signed an estimate for repairs, or a credit card imprint for the final amount of repairs on 4/22. The obviously did all this after the fact, fraudulently.

So far my credit card has not been charged for anything except for the initial rental, which I've disputed with Chase due to my poor experience and their lack reparation. This insurance claim appears to be an attempt at a money grab from Visa, but I am not going to let them get away with it.
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Old May 15, 14, 3:19 pm
  #4  
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Just deal with each item as it comes. If there is an attempt to debit your card, dispute that. If nothing comes, forget it.
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Old May 15, 14, 4:47 pm
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Originally Posted by jfwr9 View Post
Thank you Redwood. You have a very beautiful country and I loved my time there.

I agree wholeheartedly with what you said and appreciate your advice.

They have officially now filed an insurance claim with Visa. I am not sure how this affects me, but I did email Visa the pictures of the car showing there is no damage, as well as my account of what happened.

Economy Rent A Car went as far as to add erroneous details to documents I had already signed. They added an "estimate for repairs" for 1,500,000 colones after the fact on the document dated 4/22.

What's worse, is they appear to have forged an imprint of my credit card with the final cost of repairs. This imprint for the actual cost of repairs (1,112,557) is dated 4/22 and supposedly has my signature. The actual invoice from the repair facility is dated 4/28, for 1,112,557 colones.

They towed the car on 4/22 around 11:00pm. It was far too late for anyone to give any estimate, let alone do any repairs. I returned to the United States the very next day. So it is impossible that I could have signed an estimate for repairs, or a credit card imprint for the final amount of repairs on 4/22. The obviously did all this after the fact, fraudulently.

So far my credit card has not been charged for anything except for the initial rental, which I've disputed with Chase due to my poor experience and their lack reparation. This insurance claim appears to be an attempt at a money grab from Visa, but I am not going to let them get away with it.
Wow that's low. 1,500,000 colones is a heck of a big amount for a repair, definitely fishy.

If I were you, I would call them and tell them that you were not there on the 28th and that you can get a record from "Migracion" (Immigration) saying you left the country before that actually happened.

Tell them you will return to country to file a claim with "Ministerio del Consumidor" for their alledged fraud and you will provide all necessary paperwork to fight it. (This usually scares them, Ministerio del Consumidor doesn't take things lightly).

Worse thing is that most repair shops here are easily bribed, so the repair could have been $100, but they can ask the guy to put 1,500,000 on the bill.

Last edited by Redwood839; May 15, 14 at 4:59 pm
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Old May 16, 14, 7:25 am
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Thanks Redwood.

I woke up this morning to a $2,000+ charge on my credit card from Economy. I have already began the dispute process, but needless to say it is stressful.

I will take your advice about threatening a claim with Ministerio del Consumidor about their fraud.
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Old May 16, 14, 2:38 pm
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Some shady stuff going on here!
This is nothing to new Costa Rica. My sister went there last summer with a bunch of friends and some car rental place tried scamming her too. They called her up halfway through the rental saying they need the car for service and to bring cash with them to pay for half their rental. They were told me meet people in the middle of San Jose (mind you they were in Tamarindo). Luckily they were staying in a house owned by an American who lived there full time now and he helped them out and made sure they didn't meet anyone anywhere.
When they finally dropped the car off they tried making her pay a ton of money for "damages" even though there were none.

Shady ....ing country!
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Old Aug 5, 14, 11:54 am
  #8  
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Quick update:

Chase denied my claim and decided this was a "legitimate charge" by Economy Rent a Car.

I paid for this rental (and the ~$2000 in "internal damage") with my Chase United MileagePlus Visa, which has primary rental car insurance. I filed a Loss Damage Waiver Claim with Visa to recover the ~$2k and received a check covering the full amount within a few days of having the claim approved.

Economy Rent a Car makes you sign something that makes you responsible for anything that happens to their cars, including mechanical failure. It is unbelievable.

Two morals here:

Know and use your card benefits appropriately. If I had used another card, I'd be out $~2k.

and

DO NOT RENT FROM ECONOMY RENT A CAR in Costa Rica
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Old Aug 16, 14, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by jfwr9 View Post
Quick update:

Chase denied my claim and decided this was a "legitimate charge" by Economy Rent a Car.

I paid for this rental (and the ~$2000 in "internal damage") with my Chase United MileagePlus Visa, which has primary rental car insurance. I filed a Loss Damage Waiver Claim with Visa to recover the ~$2k and received a check covering the full amount within a few days of having the claim approved.

Economy Rent a Car makes you sign something that makes you responsible for anything that happens to their cars, including mechanical failure. It is unbelievable.

Two morals here:

Know and use your card benefits appropriately. If I had used another card, I'd be out $~2k.

and

DO NOT RENT FROM ECONOMY RENT A CAR in Costa Rica
Hopefully you also got the miles for the additional $2000 of spending on that credit card, considering you got a check rather than a statement credit. You deserve it.
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Old Aug 26, 14, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by nd2010 View Post
Hopefully you also got the miles for the additional $2000 of spending on that credit card, considering you got a check rather than a statement credit. You deserve it.
I did!
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Old Aug 26, 14, 6:24 pm
  #11  
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Water under the bridge, but for future situations such as this, do not go the CC dispute route. It is a loser and can really throw a wrench in a consumer's relationship with the CC issuer on future matters.

OP had CC coverage for this. All you do is turn it over to them and let them deal with it. As OP found, it got dealt with.
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Old Aug 27, 14, 10:33 am
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Sounds like this company's scam department is--unlike its cars--a well-oiled machine.
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