To feel like car hire company has stitched me right up?

(31 Posts)
ErnesttheBavarian Mon 07-Nov-16 07:41:38

Hire a car for 4 days. Collected it at midnight and told to check it in the morning for any damage.

I was parked on a main road with 2 lanes of fast traffic whizzing past if that's relevant.

Anyway, in the morning, I check the car as well as I can, being a total amateur. I notice a couple of scratches and a small dent. I phone through and report the damage. I also ask my son to check it. He doesn't spot anything.

Anyway, return the car, and am met by man from the company who is clearly an expert checker. He spots a deep scrape in the bodywork, but it's on the driver's side, basically underneath the car, so you pretty much had to kneel on the floor and look up to see it, which would have meant me kneeling in the road.

I feel really gutted about it, because I'm no expert. I thought I had looked carefully, but he clearly knew all the trouble spots to look for. The car had no damage reported even though I spotted 3 separate bits of damage. I feel pretty angry that they either have't checked or recorded the damage themselves and are relying on a total novice who clearly can't do as good a job as an expert. It's like asking a layman to survey a house and then blaming them if they don't spot something.

Are all car hire companies like this? I've driven for 16 years and never had an accident and was so careful with this car and feel properly stitched up. Is there any hope for me. Bloody bastards. angry

Helenluvsrob Mon 07-Nov-16 07:55:16

Basically yep they are. We take every cover offered and factor it into the cost of the hire - especially abroad.

Taking cars in the dark / rain or in a poorly lit crowded car park is absolutely par for the course too so you have little chance of spotting minor dings. That and filthy interiors !

You can get stand alone annual top up car hire cover. We tried it and it wasn't accepted in Spain. Would be useful in the uk though I reckon if you hire often.

ErnesttheBavarian Mon 07-Nov-16 07:59:42

They never mentioned any other cover, merely stated what the excess would be. I stupidly felt confident, as I have never had any accident at all, the only damage to our car is stupid dents from other ignorant arses who have slammed their car door into mine, e.g. in a car park. But I knew even this wouldn't apply to me as I wouldn't be parking in a car park.

Kr1stina Mon 07-Nov-16 08:01:25

Next time take detailed photos of the whole car and close ups of any damage

ParadiseCity Mon 07-Nov-16 08:02:57

What utter fuckers. Hopefully you will get good advice here, I know for sure I would definitely argue this. I don't know the best way to do that though but good luck.

Aibohphobia Mon 07-Nov-16 08:05:38

Where did you rent it? If in the UK there's an ombudsman (for want of a better word).

There's also an appeals process for most large companies.

Did you rent it with a credit card? If so, you may have comeback through them.

FWIW, I rent cars 6-8 times a year and have never had a problem. I never use the company's cover protection but use a third party for a fraction of the cost. I'm always careful to check it over before renting it and am always sure to have them sign off on it and close the account as opposed to leaving it in the carpark.

Whilst you may have a chance of appeal, I think this may be a tough lesson learnt.

How much are do they want to charge you?

SoupDragon Mon 07-Nov-16 08:06:05

Bastards!

Not all hire companies are like this - I had a hire car for a few days and someone managed to scratch the bumper (not me, another car). I bought touch up paint and did a shoddy repair to protect it and was upfront. They said it was fine and didn't charge me I was stunned!

Catsize Mon 07-Nov-16 08:06:14

I think credit card companies have special departments to deal with car hire disputes as it happens so often. He has probably fleeced numerous customers for the same bit of damage that he probably put there himself with a screwdriver

anotherdayanothersquabble Mon 07-Nov-16 08:09:23

Challenge it. If it is not visible from a cursory walk round which is what they do when they give you the car in daylight an when they check and sign it off, then it is unlikely it was spotted by the last person who hired it / checked it our anyway. What company was it? Have you got photos, can you see that it wasn't fresh damage and that there was other damage that had nit already been recorded in relation to the car? Query their procedures and push back.

ittooshallpass Mon 07-Nov-16 08:10:57

Did they give you a diagram of the car with all existing damage to the vehicle when you hired it?

If not... they don't have a leg to stand on.

DrQuinzel Mon 07-Nov-16 08:14:58

I'm afraid they do. That's why I always check them thoroughly and photograph any damage before leaving the parking lot. Have fortunately never done it at night though.

bruffin Mon 07-Nov-16 08:19:05

We hired a car at Las Vegas airport in august. We went to the car and it stank of smoke,so rejected it.there was a sign on the car saying there would be a $200 fine for cleaning if the car came back smelling of smoke, so no way were we going to take the risk of being blamed for the smell (none of us smoke). Had to settle for slightly less quailty car (sorrento instead of santa fey) but not worth the hastle of sorting it out afterwards.

Aibohphobia Mon 07-Nov-16 08:21:37

ittooshallpass
*Did they give you a diagram of the car with all existing damage to the vehicle when you hired it?

If not... they don't have a leg to stand on.*

That's the exact opposite of the purpose of these sheets hmm

shovetheholly Mon 07-Nov-16 08:21:37

There is a LOT of sharp practice around hire cars.

I had one dropped off at my house, as I wasn't in, so there was no opportunity to go around the vehicle and check for damage with the representative. When I got inside, it was immediately obvious that the passenger side airbag was damaged. It had literally been duct taped. I rang the company, and made sure this was noted.

When it came to returning the car, they tried to do us for the air bag damage even though we had reported it! They were really aggressive on the phone, claiming that we'd damaged it and taped it ourselves! Suddenly, however, when it came to taking our details for the claim, and they heard the titles that DH and I have, they backed right off and didn't pursue us further. The rep even said "In court, it'll be our word against a professor and a doctor". They knew full well they were taking us for a ride. I took the break, but was silently horrified that they were such overt bullies, and felt incredibly sorry for anyone who fell into their clutches who didn't have that backup. I am now very wary of taking a hire car.

imcrackingup Mon 07-Nov-16 08:35:42

DP had similar and kicked up a fuss, refused to pay etc told them to take him to court and they backed down.
Wonder if they try it on and most people just pay up?

Trifleorbust Mon 07-Nov-16 08:37:03

You MUST make sure existing damage is documented or that you photograph it yourself. They may not be trying to defraud you - it's possible the damage just wasn't picked up. Alternatively they may do this to everyone! Definitely challenge it.

19lottie82 Mon 07-Nov-16 08:43:29

I would challenge them on this. They didn't take a record of the condition of the car when you left with it, so how can they prove the diamanté is down to you? They can't!

If you don't get anywhere with the hire company then contact your credit card company as they should be able to help.

ErnesttheBavarian Mon 07-Nov-16 08:44:13

They had no damage at all noted, but I spotted, and took photos of 3 different things, which I also reported by phone.

They said to check it, which I did, but honestly, you literally had to kneel on the road and look upwards. It didn't occur to me to look underneath the car and anyway, being parked on a busy road I couldn't have.

Company was Eurocar. It was pitch black when I collected it, and the car park was only very dimly lit so there was no way to check it on collection. They said I could look at it in the morning, which I did, but like I said, I didn't kneel in the road and look underneath.

I am not very good at kicking up fusses and I don't have any fancy title sad

cansu Mon 07-Nov-16 08:44:28

Damage that isn't visible from a basic walk around the car is very suspicious to me. Given that they knew where to look it is even more so. I would dispute this all the way. I think they are trying to pull a fast one. You would not be expected to kneel down and look under the car.

cansu Mon 07-Nov-16 08:47:47

Well them you are disputing the charge and that you did not cause the damage. Tell them you did not check underneath the car and that checking under the car is not standard practice. Write this in a letter and hand it over. Send a copy to their head office and to your credit company. Ask them for their complaints procedure. You can do all this in a very pleasant but assertive manner. Don't let them take the piss out of you.

cookiefiend Mon 07-Nov-16 08:49:13

My brother signed off on a hire car in the uk and marked existing damage on the form. They then tried to claim he caused the damage and produced a form he had signed saying it had no damage- they just forged it. After a rummage my brother produced the correct form.

They had threatened to take him to court and everything, but turned out they were just chancers who backed down when he showed them the paperwork. They must do it to everyone.

Try and stand firm- I suspect most people just pay up and it's probably not worth their hassle to keep arguing. If they seem set on demanding payment then maybe re-evaluate, but don't give in straight away.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 07-Nov-16 08:50:44

Was it their suggestion that you collect at midnight, or yours?

Usually you'd do the checks before you drove off; so parking on a road wouldn't matter as the checks would already have been done. If it was you that wanted to collect at midnight, they'll probably say they did you a favour allowing you to extend your damage reporting time until the morning and you should have taken it somewhere where it was safe to do all the necessary checks. You might have a better appeal if they suggested collecting it at midnight, although I imagine they will still argue that you should have taken it somewhere safe to conduct the checks if you couldn't do it safely on your road, so ideally you need to either avoid or preempt that argument.

How much are they charging? You absolutely should protest this but if you'd rather pay and not make a fuss, at least negotiate the cost down.

ErnesttheBavarian Mon 07-Nov-16 08:57:03

I collected it from an airport. I had a late flight, which is why I booked it for a late time.

The documentation states clearly you can check for damage and report within 24hours.

SO do I write them an email? I have no idea where to begin. The man said someone would be in touch but I haven't heard anything (dropped off car Saturday morning)

CocktailQueen Mon 07-Nov-16 09:11:42

Sympathy, OP.

I'd definitely appeal this. Good luck. Google their name and customer complaint procedure (did you mean Eurocar or Europcar?)

ErnesttheBavarian Mon 07-Nov-16 09:29:10

Europcar

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