500 euros for “third party” damage? Surely you jest, Sixt

After William Mann had a fender-bender in his Sixt rental car in Ireland, he didn’t think things could get any worse. But they did.

His story is an example of why you should always read the entire rental agreement, both before and at the time of your rental.

While Mann’s credit card company will cover the damage of 2,786 euros ($2,930) to the rental car, Sixt is charging him 500 euros ($525) for “third party damage.” Mann insists that the terms provided at the time of the online booking said that this coverage was included for no charge (and listed no deductible).

Mann contacted Sixt on his own, though he could have found a list of company contacts on our website.

Sixt’s position is that it is not bound by those terms because they were just “rental information,” and, instead, the rental is governed by the terms on the back of the rental agreement provided at the time he picked up the car. “I don’t know whether or not I signed that rental agreement,” Mann explained. “The copy provided to me by the company was unsigned.”

Mann says that the terms on the back of the rental agreement state:

The insurance included is Third Party insurance only, which covers against damage or injury to a third party. The Insurance Policy carries an excess of $525 for damage to Third Party.

Sixt charged Mann’s credit card $525 (along with the charge for damage to the rental car, which he is not disputing).

“If I had known that I could have been liable for $525 for damage to third parties, I would never have booked with Sixt in the first place,” said Mann. “It appears that most, if not all others, do not charge a deductible for third party coverage. What is troubling is that Sixt changed a material term after my booking without notifying me of this change.”

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Sixt’s website has a link with more information regarding Third Party Insurance, which Mann claims discloses nothing about a renter deductible related to Third Party insurance. As the website states:

Protection coverage for the vehicle includes Third Party Liability with a maximum cover of 200,000.00 euros for material damages.

Mann’s position is that Sixt changed the terms and conditions from the time he booked online to when he picked up the car without informing him. Sixt claims that Mann should have read the terms and conditions on the back of the rental agreement when he picked up the car.

Mann reached out to our advocates, who contacted Sixt on his behalf. Sixt claims that Mann should have been aware of the $525 deductible on Third Party insurance, saying the terms and conditions on the website are a short extract of “relevant information” that would apply to most rentals.

This is a great example of “always read the fine print” because terms and conditions might change at any time. You can learn about car rental fees and get answers to other questions about rentals on our website.

At least Mann is liable only for the $525 deductible and not the entire cost of repairs. Unfortunately for him, I would call this Irish stew of contract terms and disagreements a Case Dismissed.

Mark Pokedoff

Four-time Emmy-award-winning television sports production specialist and frequent traveler. Longtime freelance writer and travel blog enthusiast. Proud papa of four amazing kids who have been upgraded to first class more than all their friends combined. Read more of Mark's articles here.

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