The latest car rental scam: hail damage?

A few years ago, car rental companies made a small but profitable change to their contracts. They said if one of their vehicles was damaged by an Act of God, you were on the hook for the car.

Since then, I’ve received reports from time to time about hail damage claims that may or may not be legit. Usually they get worked out long before I have to get involved — after a little back-and-forth, the claim is quietly dropped because the car rental company can’t be sure the hailstorm happened before or after the drop-off.
Read more “The latest car rental scam: hail damage?”

Can this trip be saved? That’s one “hail” of a repair bill

You can drive your rental car extra-carefully — stay on paved roads, park in a garage and obey all traffic laws — but you still can’t control the weather. That’s the somewhat obvious but no less unfortunate lesson learned by Yolanda Liu when she rented from Payless Car Rental in Denver.

Liu’s vehicle got caught in a hail storm, and now Payless wants her to pay $813 for the damages. Is insisting on it, actually. The last notice from Payless’ claims agency, Subrogation Management Team, demands full payment immediately or her case will be “turned over to a national collection agency.” (See undated photo of the alleged damage, above.)

For a car rental company perspective on claims, check out this interview with another subrogation company from a few weeks ago.

This isn’t as straightforward as some of the other car rental cases I’ve featured on this site, as you’ll see in just a minute.

It all makes me wonder: Should a car rental company, or its insurance company, ever cover an act of God that was completely beyond the control of one of its customers? (You’ll recall that a few years ago, car rental companies changed their terms so that renters would be responsible for any damage caused by weather or natural disasters.)

And how much documentation should be reasonably required in order to pay a claim?
Read more “Can this trip be saved? That’s one “hail” of a repair bill”