Case dismissed: “There was no possibility of any damage having occurred”

Peggy Suvak’s car rental started routinely enough. When she picked up the car from an Enterprise location in Indianpolis, an associate walked around the vehicle to check for damage and seemed to have “no concerns.”

“We drove the car directly home and put it in the garage,” she says. “There was no possibility of any damage having occurred.”

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But when her husband used the car the next day, he noticed damage to the right rear door area.


He got out the paperwork to make sure it had been documented and there were scratches noted in the right quarter panel.

He considered the damage to be more than scratches and did not want to be held responsible for the damage.

He immediately called Enterprise to express his concern and drove to their office before his appointment to show them the damage.

The meeting didn’t go well. It escalated into an argument, with an Enterprise employee allegedly “waving the paperwork in his face” and saying, “You signed this, didn’t you?”

Suvak’s husband later spoke with a manager, who assured him he wasn’t responsible for the damage, and promised to write a revised condition report.

Unfortunately, he neglected to say what would be in the new report.

Suvak explains what happened next.

We received a letter from the damage recovery unit acknowledging notification of damage and asking for our insurance information, etc. I am now well versed on what we should have done, but is there any recourse on this dismal situation?

They are dunning me or my insurance company for $1,319, including loss of use.

I asked Enterprise about this situation. Here’s the response I received.

We checked previous records, and there are no indications of any vehicle damage prior to this transaction.

In addition, this customer’s insurance adjuster says that the customer’s story is slightly different – that is, the customer told the adjuster that he/she noticed the damage upfront and specifically pointed it out to the Enterprise employee.

The customer also is claiming that our employee said the damage wasn’t worth noting. However, as you can see from the attached photo, the damage is significant. (See photo, above.)

Obviously, such a scenario is not consistent with the “we had no concerns” statement in the email below, so we are confused. Could the customer please clarify?

We also are confused by the customer’s reference to a “revised condition report.” Is the customer able to provide more details? We are unfamiliar with such a document.

I asked Suvak about the Enterprise response. She asked what evidence Enterprise had that its car wasn’t damaged? How about some time-stamped photos?

Also, by “damage upfront” she and her insurance adjuster meant the morning after the delivery — not at the time the car was picked up.

The Enterprise employee did not tell us the damage wasn’t worth noting because we never mentioned it in the first place. We were not aware of it until the following morning.

The whole statement seems ludicrous, because if we had seen the damage at delivery and pointed it out to Enterprise and been told it wasn’t worth noting, then why would we have found it necessary to again contact Enterprise the following morning and waste our time returning to their office if we had already been told the damage wasn’t worth noting.

Enterprise’s answer remains unchanged. She’s responsible for the damage.

Unfortunately, I have to move this into the “case dismissed” file.

There’s no right side in this one. Enterprise needs to do better than say it has no record of damage prior to the rental. It needs credible evidence. I think it should be photographing its cars every time it rents them.

Also, I strongly disagree with any “loss of use” charge. Unless Enterprise can prove that all of its cars were being rented, and that it lost business as the result of not having this car in service, it should drop the charge. (And even then, I would find the charge problematic.)

At the same time, Suvak’s story had a few holes. If she’d only done the inspection herself and photographed the car pre-rental, then this could have been avoided.

But I’m afraid I’ve taken this one as far as I can.

78 thoughts on “Case dismissed: “There was no possibility of any damage having occurred”

  1. Really nothing to see here.  Another case of he said/she said when all the material evidence is on the side of Enterprise. 

    Enterprise may or may not be the sleaziest rental company out there.  But stories of customers coming to Chris with “they told me not to worry” and “they said they’d write a revised report” and “they said the damage wasn’t worth noting” without any recording, photo, or documentation are no-brainers.

    Plus, the whole “damage upfront” thing is ridiculous.  When you tell your adjuster you noticed and commented to Enterprise “upfront,” that doesn’t mean the morning after you take possession of the car.  Not in any dictionary and certainly not in a legal setting.

    I’m wary of every rental car agency, particularly Enterprise, but this one really shouldn’t get attention, other than a warning to customers to do due diligence when picking up a rental car.

    1. Actually, this does NOT read like a he said/she said.  The OP admittedly let the Enterprise agent do the walk around and note damage w/o checking the car herself.  The agent noted scratches on the contract, which the OP didn’t even notice.  Her husband noticed that in the morning.

      There is some confusion about what Enterprise thought the OP told the adjuster, and what the OP says she told the adjuster, but that could easily be miscommunication and I don’t see how that’s crucial one way or the other.

      Seems like the relevant question is whether the scratch damage noted in the contract reflects the photographed damage to the vehicle or not.  I would hardly agree that this is a slam dunk where “all the material evidence is on the side of Enterprise.

      1. That’s not necessarily accurate.  The article states: “When she picked up the car from an Enterprise location in Indianpolis,
        an associate walked around the vehicle to check for damage and seemed to
        have “no concerns.””

        It does not say that she didn’t check the car herself.  By reading the article I can’t make an assumption that she just stood there while the agent walked around inspecting the vehicle.

        1. The article also states: If she’d only done the inspection herself and photographed the car pre-rental, then this could have been avoided.

          So unless Chris misunderstood, or she’s lying, then she did not inspect the vehicle herself.

      2. The only material evidence IS the contract — noting the “scratches” — and the actual physical condition of the car.  Everything else is vague references (“associated ‘seemed to have no concerns'”) or unsubstantiated, non sequitur statements by unnamed representatives (“a manager, who assured him he wasn’t responsible for the damage”).

        1. Exactly, and unless you can conclude from the photo that the door in question was damaged in (at least) two separate incidents, one of which caused only scratches, then I’m not sure how you can say with any confidence that “all the material evidence is on the side of Enterprise.”

          1. Because they ONLY listed scratches, which she did NOT contest at the time she picked it up.  Any further damage is correctly assumed to have occured afterwards, while in he possession.

          2. Or … there is a scratch somewhere between the rear of the door and the tail light (the definition of the rear qtr panel). Since the picture isn’t high enough of a resolution to see paint defects, you can’t say if there is or isn’t a scratch on that large surface.

            I see a single pixel of a different color just above the wheel even with the door handle. Is that another scratch or an artifact of the picture being too low res? I can’t be sure and neither can you.

          3. I’ve rented from Enterprise many times at several off-airport locations, and they’ve never noted small paint scratches that you wouldn’t see in a photo like this (for example, key scratches near the key hole).

            Their rental agreement includes a diagram of the car including the tail light and bumpers, so an associate can pinpoint damage to those locations if appropriate.

            Is it *possible* that the OP is lying and that she damaged the car in exactly the same region as the pre-existing scratches?  Sure.

            Is it possible that the Enterprise agent hastily or sloppily noted a dented area as scratches?  Seems like the more plausible scenario to me.  Especially if you’ve seen what I’ve seen (at more than one location) in terms of staff turnover, understaffing, and lines of impatient customers while phones are ringing off the hook with no one to answer them.

  2. Something about this story doesn’t sound quite right. It seems like the renter is not quite telling the whole story. She said her husband noticed the damage and immediately brought it to the attention of the location it was rented from. Yet, when Enterprise provides a photo of the damage, she wants time stamp photos. She isn’t claiming the dent suddenly appeared or changed, just ranting about the lack of a time stamp. Enterprise claims she told the insurance adjuster that the damage was noted at the time of rental and was told it “wasn’t worth noting.” She states that she meant the next day. However, she picked the car up and her husband brought it back the next day. She doesn’t address the statement made by Enterprise that she was told by their employee told her the damage wasn’t worth noting at all; her story doesn’t state this at all. Her story seems to be her husband was told the dent was there.

    The fact that she had “no concerns” when the car was picked up and the damage wasn’t noted leads me to believe that it did indeed occur while in her possession. I wonder if they have children? Maybe they caused the dent and didn’t say anything in order to not get in trouble. Maybe she actually caused the dent, saw there were scratches noted in that area and thought she could get away with not paying for the damage? If it doens’t make sense, it’s usually not true. In this case, I don’t think the customer’s story quite makes sense, so I am inclined to think that she caused the damage, whether she knows how it occured or not.

    1. Rebecca, are you reading the same article I am?

      Where in the article does the OP claim she was told “it wasn’t worth noting?”  I think you’re getting confused by the OP’s hypothetical statement, where she’s pointing out that it would have been ludicrous for her to proceed as she and her husband did if that were the case.

      Are you relying strictly on Enterprise’s third or fourth hand account of what they understood the adjuster told them that the OP told the insurance company?  

      The story makes a lot more sense if you read the OP’s first hand account and consider that there may have been something lost in translation between the OP speaking to an insurance agent who passed along notes to an adjuster who communicated verbally with an Enterprise employee (who may not be the same Enterprise employee who wrote to Chris).

      BTW, I also don’t see where the OP rants about a timestamp.  Chris writes that she would like evidence that the vehicle wasn’t damaged before pick up.  One way Enterprise could provide such evidence is a photo from the pick up date showing no damage.

      1. Or … they provide the contract she signed that shows no damage in the area.

        Fact is that she can’t prove that it pre-existed the rental. Only that it was there the next morning after they had driven off the lot.

  3. This is one where I think the customer is trying to get away from responsibility for causing the actual damage.  She said in her story, “He (husband) got out the paperwork to make sure it had been documented and there were scratches noted in the right quarter panel.”  Now she doesn’t say if that was the front or rear quarter panel but since it was in regards to the damage, I would assume it was the rear.  With the damage shown in the photo, I don’t see how that wouldn’t have been noticed especially with them noting “scratches”.

    I do agree with Chris’ statement that Enterprise should not be able to charge the loss of use without evidence there were no cars anywhere in the local Enterprise system, not just that one location.  From recent experience with Enterprise, I know that if one location is short cars, they can, and will, bring cars from other locations.  So even if that one location was out of cars, they still had sources to fill other requests.

  4. I am having trouble putting a timeline to this and sorting the pertinent details. It seems like the OP is saying the the Enterprise employee told them there were no concerns at pickup, yet the paperwork said there were scratches on the right quarter panel? (Front or rear?) They do not indicate they inspected the vehicle at pickup…but if you signed paperwork indicating some sort of damage…why not take a look?
    I have to side with Enterprise on this one and a lesson learned for the OP and all. All it takes is for the OP to walk around the car. If there was no dent, they have no dispute, if there was a dent, it would have been noted.
    I am picky about damage reports and have made additional marks on the pickup paperwork…even for normal wear and tear.

    1. the paperwork said there were scratches on the right quarter panel

      Right, so where are those scratches?  If there are none to be seen in Enterprise’s photo, doesn’t that imply that “those scratches” could be “that dent”?

      The OP is saying the the Enterprise employee told them there were no concerns at pickup

      No.  To quote the article: “an associate walked around the vehicle to check for damage and seemed to have “no concerns.””  In other words, she interpreted the employee’s silence that way.  Her husband noticed the next morning that the contract had scratches documented.

      1. Not sure where the scratches are, OP did not indicate which right quarter panel had the documentation, front or rear. Since (1) this dent is the rear, (2) the photo does not show the front, (3) the OP did not clarify which panel and (4) the dispute is going on I would have to guess the exisiting noted damage was to the front right quarter panel. (I agree, if the existing damage was noted as a “rear” panel, I would argue that those “scratches” could imply that “dent” and fight the dispute based on that.)

        Re: the “no concerns” statement. I see the OP put quotes around “no concerns” which led me to believe it was an actual spoken quote by the agent when presenting the existing damage form to sign.

        1. The implication of “He considered the damage to be more than scratches” is very clearly that we’re talking about the same quarter.  Any other reading, especially in the absence of Enterprise contesting this, seems deliberately obtuse to me.

          The OP didn’t put quotes around “no concerns”.  I think Chris makes it pretty clear (with indentation and color) where he’s directly quoting each party.

          1. While I respect your opinion, (of which I DID acknowledge) it is certainly devalued when you have to resort to calling someone else’s opinion “obtuse”.

            They could have simply stated right REAR quarter panel rather than create ambiguity in where the damage was noted. By NOT typing 4 letters (REAR), the question remains. It may have been an oversight, but still a question worth asking.

          2. I apologize.

            The OP could have been more precise (and she absolutely should have been more careful during the pickup process).  I’m just passionately appalled by all the posters that seem so anxious to poke [what I see as] nonexistent holes in her story.  But you’re right, my bad in terms of how I characterized your opinion.

  5. Another rental car story, another case dismissed…
    Funny that the damage wasn’t the exact amount of the client’s deductible as it usually is in these scams. Last week, I had the worthless high school drop out working the Avis desk at ATL ask me what my deductible was. I told her “You don’t need to know that.”

    She tried to argue with me that it was “required information” I pretended not to understand her with the “grill” thing she was wearing in her mouth. She got louder (because apparently that’s going to make me understand her and the best way to treat an elite level customer) and the manager came out.

    He asked what the problem was. I told him I couldn’t understand his employee with her “grill” in her mouth and that I also couldn’t understand why she needed to know my insurance deductible. I said, “This sounds like a scam.”

    He quickly apologized and said there would be “retraining.” 
    Hah. Retraining. How about FIRING?

    1. In Cleveland last year I had a similar idiot check the boxes agreeing to the most expensive insurance while I was telling her no I was not interested. I always read anything before I sign, so when I checked the decline box, initialed my new check mark, crossed hers out and wrote “decline” in huge letters with a signature, she was not too pleased. She even tried to convince me it was Ohio law and I could not decline. I wonder how many people don’t read and end up getting charged for something they didn’t want and don’t need? And I guarantee she gets some sort of incentive bonus for signing people up and is just plain committing fraud. “You know what I’m sayin?”

      1. I belong to all the car rental clubs. No status anymore in any, but membership is free (or easily waived if you look hard enough for codes). I set up a profile saying I decline insurance and have never had an agent try to “sell” me on it. I even asked while trying to pick up at one notorious for the hard sell if they were going to try and sell me on insurance. He responded that since my profile says “decline”, they are instructed not to ask. I also use a kiosk whenever possible, the kiosks seem to be smarter and more efficient than the rental agents.

      2. Would love to know what location since I live in Cleveland and have rented from a few Enterprise locations before. they’ve never pressured me to get the insurance. (though they did ask about my deduct last time)

        I am wondering what others want to know as well, ie what part of the car were the scratches noted on. if the rear right quarter, then one can assume the guy easily wrote scratches as a mistake instead of a dent. perhaps the lighting showed what looked like a scratch but looking at another angle shows a dent.

    2. Interesting.
      I went to the Atlanta Airport this spring.  I’ve been to a lot of airports, but of course this is the biggest.  However, I found that the facilities at Atlanta’s airport are more “third worldish” than one would expect.  Both my wife and I got sick from the food.  First time since 1992 I have had to beeline to a bathroom in an airport.  Three people tried to scam us in Atlanta.  I plan to avoid Atlanta as much as I can in the future, there’s nothing good I have to say about it.

    3. You GO, Raven!  This is, unfortunately, what we all need to do.  They push, we push right back.  They push harder, we push harder back.  They show their true colors by shouting (as a useless low-IQ loser at Hertz once did to me–a man shouting at a woman at the top of his lungs, mind you!), we go find a grown-up to talk to instead.  You wrongly charge our credit cards, we dispute it and also contact Chris, and the whole travelling world finds out about it.  And on and on, as far as you have to go before these idiots finally GET IT and back off… 

    4. Although I totally agree with you about these scams, could you please not resort to such lows as assuming someone is a high-school dropout based on their occupation?  Many people think I must be one and that my coworkers are similarly barely-educated simply because we wear a uniform with a nametag and stand behind a counter. Little do you know that I have my bachelors degree.  I also have friends who speak very poorly, “ghetto” if you will, and yet they have their degrees (not from my school, thank goodness!). 

      I am well-spoken and well-mannered.  just because you feel my job is lowly does not make me uneducated.

      1. I didn’t pass judgement on her as a “high school dropout” based on her education. I passed it on her manners and the fact that she was wearing a “grill” at her job.

        I’ve worked the counter and nametag job and have respect for the folks who work those. I don’t respect those who are scam artists and dressed like thugs from a rap video, though.

      2. I agree with you 100% about this.  I also think it is pretty immature to “pretended not to understand her with the “grill” thing she was wearing in her mouth”.  The only thing I can think of is Raven is making fun of a teenager for wearing braces?  I’m not sure what else a “grill thing” is.

        1. It’s not braces, they are decorative mouthpieces that cover the teeth and make them appear “gold.” The rappers wear them and it’s damn near impossible to understand anyone wearing one. It’s definitely not appropriate attire for anyone in customer relations.

          Google is a powerful tool. Check into it.

        1. Unmotivated? No, I don’t think so. But you may feel differently if you actually knew me.
          And yes, Avenue Q explained perfectly well the notion of “What can you do with a BA in English?”…and that the answer is: teach, or work behind a counter with a uniform and a nametag.

  6. In my experience, Enterprise franchises have a poor track record, so I think its possible that there was pre-existing damage. However, Suvak’s personal insurance adjuster didn’t do them any favors by stating there was “damage upfront.”

    Sadly, I don’t think there is anything else to do in this case. Suvak should file the insurance claim and file this one under lesson learned.

    One final comment on the so called “date stamp” Virtually every photo has EXIF (exchangeable interface) data attached to the photo that includes date/time data assuming that the camera’s clock is set correctly. While it is true that this data may be edited or modified, a date stamp can easily be modified or edited.

    In this case, how does a time stamp photo help? Unless she has time stamped photos showing the damage was pre-existing at the time of pick-up, nothing else helps.

  7. So why didn’t the renter notice this damage at the time of rental and insist it be put on the report?   If an employee told me it wasn’t worth noting, I’d tell them to go fly a kit.  Besides which, *I* mark the damage on the damage report when I rent a car, and I put down everything.  I also take pictures, before and after.  Whether there are bad stories about enterprise or not (I rented from them once and it was very nice actually) there are certain responsibilities when you rent a car, one needs to be mindful of this.

  8. “and promised to write a revised condition report.”

    They shouldn’t have left the location without this report.

    Yes, the car companies need to do better documenting, including photographs, themselves.

    And yes, the ‘loss of use’ charge needs to go. But that’s not something to be fought at the individual level, but by the insurers: they are the ones with the power to actually make such a change happen.

  9. Would be interesting to know which of the major car companies seem to have more of these types of claims against renters. Who is at the top of claims against renters and who is at the bottom. Might provide as to whether there is a scam going on by car rental agencies.

  10. This is the latest in a series of problems with damage to rental vehicles…and it seems a parody to the old legal admonishment is necessary; Renter Beware !

    All renter should take date & time stamped photo when giving the rental car a thorough inspection prior to accepting the car. I’ve read these stories about all the major “names” in the rental field, so there should be no exceptions. It’s a fought world out there.

    1. Careful with the credit cards

      Most credit cards offer SECONDARY protection. That is, you have to file with your auto insurance first. As far as I know (and this may have changed), Diners Club is the only CC that offers PRIMARY protection, but not all vehicles and rental types are covered (most exclude trucks, certain SUVs, and has restrictions on length of rental)

      1. I know it’s secondary protection; hence my statement they would cover the deductible (which would not be necessary if it were primary.)

        But yes, the length-of-rental restrictions kind of suck, and it won’t cover a U-Haul or pickup.  I didn’t see any restrictions on the Visa website about SUV’s of any kind.

        1. Usually in the terms and agreements it will list vehicles that aren’t covered. With my MC coverage it specifically excludes: 
          pickup trucks of any kind (Rangers, F-150s) which are available through Budget
          crossover SUVs (ie Chevy Avalanche), or high end SUVs (Escalade, Land Cruisers). Some specialty cars are also excluded (ie Hertz Prestige Collection)

          In general, passenger SUVs (ie Ford Escapes, Grand Cherokees) are covered.

  11. Why would the rental associate note any damage to the vehicle?  It is their entire purpose for being to get the renters to take a vehicle with un-noted damage so that an outrageous claim can be made at return.  This seems to be the only way rental companies are making any money these days.

    It is the renter’s responsibility to note the damage on the proper form at rental time.  It doesn’t mater how minor the damage is or how strongly the “associate” resists, get the form and mark it.  If they won’t give you the paperwork needed, demand a different car.   And repeat until you get a vehicle with no damage or they provide the form.  And if they give you too much hassle, choose a different company.

    All of the car rental companies really want you to buy their insurance.  In most cases it is pure profit to them because, unless there is damage which prevents the vehicle from being driven or violates the local safety laws, they don’t repair damage.  Even when you get stuck with the charge and you or your insurance company pays, they still don’t fix the damage.  If they did, why are so many people reporting pre-existing damage on the cars that the rental companies charge them for?  The practices of the rental  companies border on insurance fraud.  

  12. Well, I agree it is a he said/she said. But that said, it still seems that Enterprise is taking advantage of a customer and/or the customer’s insurance company. Yes, I try to get everything documented, usually, staff is of the opinion “we do not really need to do that”. but usually agree to document rather quickly when I insist. That said, I rent much less than I once did when traveling. Now, if there is any kind of mass transit and/or I can reasonably depend on taxis, I go that route. Yes, transit is sometimes a hassle and some taxi drivers are less than polite, but it sure beats dealing with attempted scams at the rental companies.

  13. To be perfectly honest, I don’t understand why Enterprise is still in business.  If every customer took every valid complaint against them to the BBB and their state’s consumer-protection office (whatever it may be called, it varies), I have a hard time imagining that Enterprise would be able to survive.
    At a minimum, they CERTAINLY wouldn’t be able to continue to rip people off like this.  Loss of use?  Who are you kidding?  How stupid do you really think people are, Enterprise?

    1. For every complaint, there are hundreds of satisfied customers. I’ve never had a problem with Enterprise and I have rented quite a few times from them and my company uses them exclusively. When I rent it is usually through my inurance because of an accident, or using their weekend specials. Many scratches are never noted nor have I ever been charged. I have noted stuff on a lower bumper once even after driving away and never got billed. i have found everyone I have dealt with at my local branch to be very courteous and helpful.

      That said, it only takes a few bad apples.

  14. Stupid question:
    There were scratches noted on the contract in the vicinity of where the disputed damage occurred.  (This isn’t under dispute as far as I can tell, or is it?)

    If Enterprise claims that the dent in their photo is too severe to be  considered a scratch, then where are the supposed scratches that were noted by the checkout Enterprise agent him/herself at checkout?  Did they magically disappear??  (They certainly aren’t evident in the photo).

    1. I see large scratches about half-way between the dent and the handle.  Looks like something hit the car and slid a bit forward, rather than the car hitting something.  Pretty darn noticeable.  OP shouldn’t have signed Enterprise’s damage report unless she agreed with it. 

      1. “large scratches” (plural)?  really?  

        So your presumption is that the car was in 2 separate incidents that caused damage to two different spots that are a few inches apart?

        I guess the picture speaks for itself…

        1. My response to you must have gone directly to you, rather than the community at large.  So here goes again . . .

          My computer monitor shows 2 large scratches, 1/2 way between the handle and the wheel, in a line with one another.  I posited that something (car, fender, whatever) hit the car to create the dent and slid forward, creating the scratches, as opposed to a driver of this car causing the damage.  I figure same incident and should have been as noticeable to the Enterprise employee and the renter as they are to me in the picture.  I have no idea where you’re coming up with 2 separate incidents in my post or in anyone else’s post. 

          I’m taking the renter’s word that neither she nor her husband damaged the car or allowed damge to occur to it.  Therefore, believing her, I figure the damage was already there.  For whatever reason in the world, Enterprise only noted the scratches.  And for whatever reason in the world, Ms. Suvak not only did not examine the car herself, but she did not read what she had signed.  She’s stuck with the consequences of her two inactions.

          1. The posters who posit that the OP caused or might have caused the damage would have to believe that there were 2 separate incidents a few inches apart, it seems to me.

            I mistakenly thought you were in that group (sorry).

  15. Also, stop using Enterprise for your car rentals!
    I have always used Avis ever since I had a hard pressure sales tactic employee show me pictures of car wrecks complete with people lying amongst the crumpled vehicles. 

  16. Lesson #1- don’t rent from Enterprise or if your do Renter beware! Inspect the vehicle with a fine toothed comb and take photos of any damages.  They tried to get me in Reno for scratches under the front bumper. 
    Lesson #2- get nit-picky with every scratch and dent- again photos
    Lesson #3- keep you rental agreement a few days after returning the car with all damages noted.

    In my case I got a call from the Enterprise regional manager saying the case was dropped as the damages were from a previous claim.  I replied, if it was a previous claim why weren’t the damages fixed if you charged someone for them.  They should be required to submit evidence the damages were corrected before charging their customer.  Before Peggy is charged they should provide an estimate. 

    Don’t rent from Enterprise.

    1. “Don’t rent from Enterprise.”

      Considering I’ve never had a problem with them over the years, I can’t agree.

      There are plenty of horror stories to go around all of the car rental companies. Just as they are for hotel chains, restaurant chains, etc.

      Customer service is all but dead in favor of the bottom line in this country. Sadly, the only solution it seems is to not rent, stay home, and never eat out anywhere.

        1. Why should I have to pay to make sure I don’t get bent over by a company? Why should I have to pay if I’m due a refund and the company is screwing around?

          “Press 2 if you’re willing to fork over a little more for basic support that all upstanding companies used to provide because they actually cared about you as a customer.”

  17. I would love it if a lawyer would challange these cases and set a porecedent.

    The burden of proff that the car was damaged after the rental is on the rental car company.  their word isnt good enought they should have visual evidence that the car is in good condition.  Given digital technology its low cost to take pictures of the car which can easily be done when the car is in its turn around time getting cleaned up et all.

    In the legal system the burden of proof is the car rental company.

    1. And exhibit 1 is the rental contract they signed with no damage noted in the area.

      This is a large in-ding / crease. No one is going to call it a scratch. Its also on the door not only on the quarter panel.

      The picture is too low res to make any assesments. I see on pixel that’s a different color on the QTR Panel above the wheel. Could that be the scratch on the contract or an artifact because the picture is low res. Who knows?

      I do know that the contract doesn’t state that there a dent in the door and they obviously looked in the area and did not note a significant dent.

      Sorry I don’t buy the “There was no possibility of any damage having occurred” statement. You drove the car. Your parked the car. Your husband drove it again. During any of those actions, something could have hit the vehicle.

      You own it pay for it.

    2. That’s why they have you sign out the car as HAVING NO DAMAGE or with damages noted.  This was a case where it was noted there were only scratches on the car, and THEN the renter tried to bring the car back and say there was damage.  AFTER signing an agreement they assumed resposibility — if it was too hard for her to walk around the car and double check she shouldn’t have signed the agreement.  The agreement is, after all, the legal documentation, and all Enterprise needs to show in court.

    3. You sound like a real expert. I’m sure all of you clamoring for photos would not mind paying the extra cost for a company that did it. You wouldn’t, and you know it.

      By the way genius, the car does not get cleaned where it gets parked for customer pick ups.

      Gee, I’m surprised Chris just didn’t say, “In the legal system the burden of proof is the car rental company.” and have Enterprise magically drop the claim.

  18. After reading Chris’s column for over a year and seeing so many stories like this, the last time I rented a car, I photographed a small ding in the bumper because the agent said they don’t care about minor damage to the bumpers. I wanted to make sure I documented that the ding was already there when we picked up the car. Fortunately, I didn’t have any trouble when we returned the car, but I was able to relax on my vacation knowing that I had taken the photo.

  19. I’m sorry – she drove away with that level of damage?  Did she not bother to walk around the car?!?!?  That’s not a scratch on the underside of a panel.

  20. Enterprise has some of the best customer service, but the cars for the past couple of years have not had the best tires.  Two times the tires were very worn.  Once they were bald and we rented during the winter and could not use the car once we got to our destination as they were like ice skates and the roads were snowy/icy.  We were fortunate to not have been another statistic.  The car slipped on a light icy film under every overpass and we were miles from the airport before we noticed the bald tires.   

    1. Only if you qualify long waits, understaffed counters, and running out of cars good service.

      If you have not had these experiences with Enterprise, it is only because you have rented from them at a slow location.

      At busier airports where demand is high, they will overbook without remorse. They will also turn people away, who flew in mind you, who are an hour past their reservation time. No one else does that!

    1. I’ve had a Hertz and a Budget myself. Hertz, no problem worked with AMEX and never heard from them. (Vandalism to car while I rented it.) Budget had damage to another car and mistakenly claimed I rented it. Took my insurance company to convince them the VIN on the damaged car didn’t match that on my rental agreement. All my Enterprise rentals have been uneventful.

  21. I rent a car at least once and sometimes twice a week for business. Part of my contract (agreed to by my employer — prior to my employer accepting my contract) specifically prohibits engagement with Enterprise. They are the worst of the worst when it comes to stuff like this. Even with Hertz and others — I ALWAYS, ALWAYS fill out the damage checklist (prior to leaving) — I circle the entire car (on the diagram) and write scratches/dings/dents all around car. This clears up any absurd issues, upon return.

  22. I had a problem with Europcar (National/Alamo/Dollar) … Someone hit me and it was quite proveable with pictures and google maps.  There is no way the damage that was caused could have been caused by me but they tried to ding me for over $2000 uncovered damages including “loss of use” … I was fortunate in that my business dealing was with a “consolidator” and not the agency.  They tried to take this out of my CC, without any notification or explanation to me.  When the CC charged it back, they tried again, and sent in bills from their car body shop, but no justification or acknowledgement.  Their liability insurer tried to get me to agree to 50-50 which was the cost to the other party’s car … “for convenience”.  I told them that they should go after the other driver.  After the second refusal to pay they went away and I didn’t hear a peep.  The strange thing in all this was I didn’t receive a single word by mail, or email from Europcar.  Just from their liability insurer, which didn’t impact own car damage anyway.

    But the process is simple … blame their own renter for everything in the hope that they’ll just pay up.  It’s too much of a hassle to go after the person really at fault!

  23. I recently rented a car from Hertz, and after requesting a look-over, the person who was supposed to check the car refused to even come out of his kiosk to do so. Appearing angry, he literally shoved the paperwork across the counter and told me to do it myself. So I did. I marked every little scratch, dent and smudge I could find, and noted anything unusual. I didn’t take pictures, because they wouldn’t have shown much of the damage anyway, but I definitely covered myself by submitting an in-depth assessment of the problems before I walked out of there.
    However, on the road, I the ABS began to operate, even when I was only slowing down (not stopping) during my highway driving. I took it to a Hertz place, which was also a mechanic’s shop. They did assure me it was not a safety issue, and it was okay to drive. The mechanic made some sort of adjustment, and for a day or two, the ABS vibration did stop. But it came back.
    When I returned the car, there was no one to actually take it in (we just lined them up in rows and left the keys in them). A chinese woman with a heavy accent, did come by and tell us: “You get out! Get out!” So, I was unable to tell anyone about the problem.
    I am still wondering if Hertz will try to stick me with the ABS problem, or if they will just pass it along to the next unsuspecting driver, who will also be paying for the privilege of driving a defective car!

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