Double trouble with this Enterprise damage claim

Angela Pratt rented a car from Enterprise in Wichita, Kan., recently. She wishes she hadn’t.

After her rental, the agency sent her a bill for damage — a bill it had all but promised she wouldn’t get. Now she wants our help in getting the charges removed.

Should we come to her rescue, or is she on her own?

The incident in question happened when Pratt was moving across the country. She stopped in Wichita to visit with her family. She chose to rent from Enterprise.

When she got to the car, here’s what happened:

I was unable to move the seat and asked the young man in the booth there to assist me.

He showed me what to do, and after moving it I noticed a ding in the window. I told him about it, and he assured me he would tell them inside.

I did a brief walk around and did not see any large damage.

The car was filthy and so was the windshield, so I am surprised that I saw the ding. I got in expecting to have a walk around at the exit booth. There was no mention or indication that that practice was no longer done with Enterprise when I was at the desk.

OK, so no walkaround inspection and no written agreement that Enterprise wouldn’t charge her. What do we do? It’s all in this handy list of questions about car rentals, but I’ll give you the short answer: You ask for both.

“I drove to my sister’s in Derby and went out and the next day took a photo of the windshield,” she says. “The car was parked by the garage and all of us walked by it several times over the next four days. My little sister rode with me several times and no one noticed anything.”

When she returned the car a few days later, Pratt conducted another inspection.

“I saw nothing obvious,” she says. “I went inside with the keys, but there was no one there. I went back out and saw a drop box for keys and put them in, leaving with the faith the car would be fine.”

Not exactly.

“I received a letter from their Damage Recovery Unit, requesting my insurance information,” she says. “There was no list of the damage or monetary amount. As I am not in the habit of supplying this information without due cause, I did not return it.”

Oh, and here’s the clincher: Her sister rented a car during the same time from a different Enterprise location. There was no obvious damage to it, either. She says Enterprise also sent her sister the same form demanding her insurance information but declining to offer any details on the damage.

Now Enterprise is calling her boyfriend and demanding the insurance information, which is making her even more uncomfortable.

“I think they are scamming me and would greatly appreciate your help,” she says.

Damage claims are not scams, but frivolous damage claims are. Enterprise lists virtually no information about its damage claim process on its website, except for this brief question.

Wouldn’t it be nice if car rental companies told us what to do when we discover damage to one of their cars?

But back to Pratt’s case. I might have given Enterprise the benefit of the doubt, but the fact that they’re doing the same thing to her sister with a separate rental makes me believe something funny is going on. Unless these ladies like to do pretend demolition derby in their rental cars, something is not quite right with this picture.

Should we advocate for Angela Pratt?

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Update (Nov. 3): After she posted this problem on our forums, Enterprise dropped its claim.

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