How Enterprise determines if you damaged a rental

Here's how Enterprise determines if you damaged a rental.

Enterprise has been accused of running a ding-and-dent scam so often by readers of this site, I’ve lost count.

But something interesting has happened lately. The complaints have slowed to a trickle.

Why?

I asked Roger Van Horn, Enterprise’s vice president for corporate loss control, what was behind the decline. Van Horn has gone on the record before to defend the huge volume of loss claims. I expected him to tell me they’d stopped pursuing as many cases, but I was wrong.

Before I go any further, a few disclaimers: My perspective on damage claims is distorted by the crush of complaints I receive from readers like you. It pains me to hear about a frivolous $495 claim for a few dings and dents. Like you, when I see enough of them, I smell a scam.

An Enterprise scam or are consumers damaging those cars?

At the same time, I believe that when you damage a car, you should pay for the repair. Van Horn and I can agree on that. Where we can’t agree — and probably never will — are the so-called “junk” fees for loss of use, diminished value and administration that often accompany these claims. I feel they should be baked into the cost of doing business; Van Horn and Enterprise want to separate them.

Several years ago, after acquiring Alamo and National, the rental companies had “different standards” for evaluating damage to a vehicle, he says. This created unexpected problems. For example, a franchisee in Los Angeles would have no problem with a small ding, but another location in, say, Phoenix, might rush to repair the blemish. When cars were transferred between locations, that would lead to finger-pointing, and inter-franchise warfare. You get the idea.

At the same time, customers were confused about what constituted damage to a car. Representative A in Atlanta would say the car was fine and that “anything smaller than a golf ball” was acceptable. Representative B at the same Atlanta location would disagree and write up the damage when the car was returned, even though the customer had been given a green-light previously. That kind of inconsistency can get you into trouble with your consumers, and it did.

The Damage Evaluator determines if you damaged a rental

The solution: The Damage Evaluator (see above).

Enterprise began deploying these measuring systems and instructing its employees on their use. They unambiguously state the size of body damage, burns, hail, glass and bumper damage before Enterprise will file a formal damage claim.

For example, Enterprise defines “body, wheel and metal bumper damage” as:

  • Any dent, scratch or scrape larger than the largest circle
  • Holes and tears, regardless of size
  • A dent, scratch or scrape smaller than the largest circle is wear and tear

And that, my friends, is why the Enterprise complaints are on a downward slope. They finally defined important terms like “damage” and “wear and tear.”

I think there’s a sense that they’ve managed to eliminate many, if not most, of the frivolous claims, thanks to training employees to use the Damage Evaluator. But how do you eliminate the rest?

First, it may be a good idea to circulate these Damage Evaluators to customers. Specifically, in the envelope of their rental agreement. Why would you share this only with employees? Travelers need to know what is and isn’t damage, too.

Take before and after photos

Beyond that, the only way I know is to take “before” and “after” pictures of the car. And I really don’t think that’s an unreasonable request. Car rental companies already send its employees into the parking lot with a fancy handheld device that helps them note mileage and print a bill — why can’t it also be used to take pictures of the car?

It seems to me that the only reason for not taking pictures of a car is so that the absence of photographic evidence means the car rental company automatically wins. The car is damaged because we say so, and if you can’t show us time-stamped “before” and “after” pics, you have to pay.

The Damage Evaluator is a great start, but more needs to be done. Enterprise’s cars — indeed, all rental cars — are ready for their close up.

Take the picture. Get a customer to sign off on it. Every damage claim will be quick and painless.

Should Enterprise share its Damage Evaluator with customers?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Underwritten by

Underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.