When Nancy Eakin damages her rental car, she overpays for the repairs but can’t get a refund from Europcar — and her insurance won’t cover it. Can our advocates untangle the claim and help Eakin get her money back?
Question: I rented a car from Europcar in St. Pierre, France, caused some damage, and paid an estimate of 973 euros (about $1,032) for the repairs at the end of the rental.
I have insurance coverage through my Visa card. The credit card company requested a statement showing the actual cost of repairs in order to reimburse me. Imagine my surprise when I received an updated bill for the repairs, which indicated a cost of just $317 plus an administrative fee of $65.
Visa said they will not reimburse me until after I receive a refund from Europcar of the $650 that I overpaid. I have called, emailed and written them over and over with no result. On my last phone call, they said there was no record of my having paid the bill, which I did. I emailed them my transaction number and forwarded them my electronic receipt. I repeatedly have made my requests to no avail.
The rental car was returned in April, and I only have a year to complete my claim. I have been trying to resolve this ever since. Could you please help me get my refund so I can be reimbursed by my insurance company? — Nancy Eakin, Linthicum, Md.
Answer: It’s bad enough to get in an accident, but when it’s someone else’s car, and you’re on vacation, bad can turn into worse.
Lots of things can happen before, during and after a car rental. You can get answers to many of your car rental questions on our website.
You reported the accident to Europcar at the end of your rental, and they asked you to pay an estimated repair charge. According to Europcar’s damage management policy, there are provisions for damages identified during the rental return:
If you identify some damage with the Europcar agent or representative when you return the vehicle, you can acknowledge the damage by signing the Statement of Return of the Vehicle. Europcar will then provide you with an invoice describing the repair costs plus an administration fee for the treatment of the damage and the vehicle immobilization that will be charged to you. Charges are made based on the Europcar recommended price list available in any Europcar station… or by an independent expert and charged according to the expert’s report or a cost estimation made by an independent auto-repair garage.
In this case you made the estimated payment, and Europcar was less than forthcoming when it came time to show exactly how much it paid for the repairs.
I can’t imagine your shock when you found out that you had overpaid by $650, not to mention the fact that you would not have discovered this without having requested a copy of the repair bill and waiting several months for a response.
I can’t blame you for getting tired of waiting for Europcar to reply. You can find a list of corporate contacts for Europcar on our website.
Instead, you reached out to our advocates, who contacted Europcar on your behalf. A representative of the company responded that they were seeking your bank information so they could credit you $650.