Problem with Sixt-Frankfurt, scam?

Old Jan 8, 19, 3:22 pm
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Problem with Sixt-Frankfurt, scam?

I rented a vehicle from Sixt in Frankfurt in July, with a return to Berlin-Tegel, with 0 deductible "SuperCover." Returned vehicle without incident. Three and a half months or so later, I get a letter from them stating that there was damage to the vehicle, and furthermore, that the Cover was invalid because I "Left the scene of the accident according to witnesses." I, of course, had no idea what they were talking about. They did send a blurry picture of the car showing some damage, but could not release details on the witnesses, due to "privacy law." I, of course responded, stating that I had no idea of said accident, and furthermore, if I had, I would not, just leave. Basically, my word vs. theirs. I made it clear that I had no intent to pay. I got one further mail offering a bit of a "discount" on the charges if I paid by Date X, which I ignored. I then, about a week ago, got a mail from a law firm in Frankfurt attempting to collect, and if not paid, threatening further action.

My suspicion is this is a scam, since I've seen issues like this pop up in this forum before. My inclination is to not reply any further, since I am an American citizen, living in the U.S. there is no realistic way to enforce collections, but I do want to make sure there aren't any implications beyond perhaps going on Sixt's "No rent list."

1) While I have no immediate plans to rent in Germany again in the near future, I'm sure I will at some point. Would this put me at risk of arrest or denial of entry if there was a judgement against me.
2) If so, is there reciprocity between EU countries on this kind of thing.

The amount is about 2000 EU. I *detest* the idea of paying this, but short of hiring a German Attorney, I'm afraid I might be stuck, if it will create problems in the future.

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 4:00 pm
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Whether the underlying facts are a fraud is beyond anything anyone here can tell you. Whether Sixt would pursue a case is also something that is beyond anything anyone here can tell you.

This is not a question of reciprocity but the simple fact that Sixt may enforce a judgment it obtains in a German court against you in, by way of example, an Alaska state court, because Alaska law expressly permits it. This would not be a question of Sixt suing you in Alaska, but rather Sixt obtaining a default against you in Germany and then filing it in Alaska and proceeding from there.

EUR 2000 + interest + attorneys fees can add up to a large sum of money. Either fight this thing on the merits, reach an agreement with the Frankfurt firm or spend some money on a lawyer in Anchorage to advise as to what may happen if the judgment hits you in Alaska.

Last edited by Often1; Jan 8, 19 at 7:35 pm
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Old Jan 8, 19, 7:47 pm
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Thank you. I guess the issue is, I'm not sure *how* to fight this on the merits. I'm not going to fly over there for it, perhaps there is a way to do a deposition remotely, but I still imagine a court there will show deference to the local company, and no doubt, the rental agreement gives final call to Sixt. I am now convinced that just ignoring it isn't safe. You are correct of course about Alaska Law, but in a *very* cursory search for case law, I've only found actions against large estates and corporations. The law seems clear, but the (not quite million dollar) question is whether it would be worth it for them to pursue. I'll contact the German law firm and take it from there I guess see if we can find the magic number that makes it worth my while to make it go away.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by AKSteveB View Post
Thank you. I guess the issue is, I'm not sure *how* to fight this on the merits. I'm not going to fly over there for it, perhaps there is a way to do a deposition remotely, but I still imagine a court there will show deference to the local company, and no doubt, the rental agreement gives final call to Sixt. I am now convinced that just ignoring it isn't safe. You are correct of course about Alaska Law, but in a *very* cursory search for case law, I've only found actions against large estates and corporations. The law seems clear, but the (not quite million dollar) question is whether it would be worth it for them to pursue. I'll contact the German law firm and take it from there I guess see if we can find the magic number that makes it worth my while to make it go away.
You'd be better to contact Sixt. The law firm may not be genuine and as they are representing Sixt are unlikely to be helpful.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Vinotraveller View Post
You'd be better to contact Sixt. The law firm may not be genuine and as they are representing Sixt are unlikely to be helpful.
Are you suggesting that the law firm is a "fake" law firm?

How else would the law firm have become involved in the matter. I would definitely do a web search and make sure that the firm and the individual exist and then call that individual lawyer. That is who Sixt has briefed to resolve or litigate this matter.
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Old Jan 10, 19, 3:21 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Are you suggesting that the law firm is a "fake" law firm?

How else would the law firm have become involved in the matter. I would definitely do a web search and make sure that the firm and the individual exist and then call that individual lawyer. That is who Sixt has briefed to resolve or litigate this matter.
They may well just be a debt recovery firm dressed up to look like a law firm. That is not uncommon in Europe.
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Old Jan 15, 19, 6:20 am
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Normally in the EU on returning a rental the vehicle is inspected by their staff and a receipt (written or electronic) given to the customer. You didn't receive either of these? That's unusual, I would request a report of when the damage was discovered and the alleged accident occurred, including a copy of any police report.
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Old Jan 15, 19, 6:22 am
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Be careful you donít get banned from entering or renting in the eu

consider www.elliott.org
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Old Jan 15, 19, 6:27 am
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Whenever you rent a car, make sure you take photographs at the time of rental and when returning and get a receipt clearly stating that no damage was found on the car. But in this case that is moot. I would ask for clear photographs of the damage, the police report with details of the accident and the witness statement and the details of the police interview. All this would be provided to you anyway if you went to court. Find out if your credit card provides insurance and turn this over to them to deal with. They have a lot more clout than you do.
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Old Jan 15, 19, 6:33 am
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You're not going to get banned from the EU because of this.

I too am curious what the return form says. Sixt will always email you the closing receipt or print it for you at return after inspection. That's where I would start.
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Old Jan 15, 19, 6:34 am
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Escalate up the Sixt Management Ladder

I would escalate up the Suxt Management ladder, in writing. Demand details (politely), and keep records. In many cases I have worked my way up management ladders, mostly via email, sometimes via postal mail, and this has always worked. Sixt is a big enough company that I would think there is someone there that you will communicate eventually with that will resolve this for you, and or provide information that is satisfactory to you. Good luck.
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Old Jan 15, 19, 6:40 am
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Originally Posted by Vinotraveller View Post
They may well just be a debt recovery firm dressed up to look like a law firm. That is not uncommon in Europe.
Yes, scam collect companies do exist.

It could also be that Sixt employee's damaged the car and now try rubbing it off on the most remote foreigner they could find. Alaska sounds pretty good for that.
Originally Posted by FruitbatOnTour View Post
Normally in the EU on returning a rental the vehicle is inspected by their staff and a receipt (written or electronic) given to the customer..
Not my recent experience in the EU. I had to wait for 4 months for a confirmation in my home country and 2 months in Norway ... ok technically not the EU but both rentals in MUC also had no inspection but the receipt came right away.
Originally Posted by Marathon Man View Post
Be careful you donít get banned from entering or renting in the eu..
For what? Not having an accident? Disputing charges?

OP you need to dispute all charges via registered mail. Call the accusation a lie and the demand fraud. Demand an apology. Send it to SIxt headquarters. You may need a pape rtrail.
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Old Jan 15, 19, 7:01 am
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Originally Posted by weero View Post
Not my recent experience in the EU. I had to wait for 4 months for a confirmation in my home country and 2 months in Norway ... ok technically not the EU but both rentals in MUC also had no inspection but the receipt came right away.
I don't understand this. With Sixt I always get a return printout, on the spot, and a day or so later, the email confirmation.
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Old Jan 15, 19, 7:15 am
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Contact the Politie

I would contact the Politie in the region they say the accident happened . If someone left the scene the Politie would be involved . InwouI request the Politie Report From the law firm. This would be required for your auto or travel insurance

But if Politie is not involved then it is a scam and would contact Sixt direct via corporate channels. This sounds very weird .I live in the Netherlands. Even if you get a ticket via camera they send you the ticket from the Politie or police with photos and dates .

Rob
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Old Jan 15, 19, 7:29 am
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Originally Posted by arvi123 View Post
Find out if your credit card provides insurance and turn this over to them to deal with. They have a lot more clout than you do.
Mine does but you have to report it within 30 or 45 days for coverage to apply. Dealing with something from 3.5 months ago is probably not going to fly. Makes it seem even more fishy that it took so long to come after you, in my mind.
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