Paul is being cheated by Advantage Rent-A-Car in one of the most transparent, odious scams we’ve seen a rental car company try to pull. After a thief damaged his rental on a recent trip, Advantage says because the car was in the shop for 49 hours, he owes them 22 days worth of rent. “I asked how they got that number and they said they use a 4 hour work day, which is laughable! Even with that it would only be 12 days. Even if you are generous and give them 2 weekends it only gets to 16!”
In February I rented a car from Advantage Rent-a-Car in Denver to take on a ski vacation in Aspen. I was a bit skeptical of Advantage, but they were so much less expensive than Hertz or Avis, etc… I figured I would give them a try.
Things started off pretty well. When I arrived there was a long line but they had free hot dogs while we waited, which was a nice touch! The car was clean, the type we ordered, had an engine, etc. Long story short: I was pleased with Advantage and remember thinking “I will definitely rent from them again.” UNTIL…
On one of the last nights of our trip our rental car was hit by a stolen vehicle that had been taken on a joy ride and abandoned in the front yard across the street from where we were staying. The damage was relatively minor (we would still be able to drive back to Denver), and I called Visa and my insurance company. I also got a copy of the police report.
When we returned the car in Dever I filled out the accident report gave them the claim number from Visa. I was pleasantly surprised by the great service I received from Visa in all of this. Thought they would push back, but they didn’t! Visa told me all was well, as did Advantage Rent-a-car. (My insurance doesn’t cover me because I only have a liability policy).
In early May I received a letter from Subrogation Management Team. I’ve learned that this is a third party administrator that handles claims for rental car companies (except Hertz and Avis which handle it internally). The letter said that Visa would be paying for the full damages (~$4500) as well as ~$350 for the “loss-of-use.” In the same letter they said that I would owe an additional $3000! They wanted another ~$500 for loss-of-use and ~$2500 for “deminition of value.” I called Visa to discuss and they explained that they don’t pay deminition of value. I checked and they state that very clearly in their terms and conditions, so fair enough. When I asked why they weren’t paying the full loss-of-use they said that what Advantage was asking for was unreasonable.
Here’s why: The car was in the shop for 49 hours. Visa calculates a 7 hour work day, so 7 days, times ~$50 a day for my rental equaling $350. Advantage says it’s 22 days!!! I asked how they got that number and they said they use a 4 hour work day, which is laughable! Even with that it would only be 12 days. Even if you are generous and give them 2 weekends it only gets to 16!
I called the executive offices and eventually was able to speak with someone named Skip Thompson. He’s not the CEO, but a Director of operations or something. Pretty senior guy. He had seen my file (I had his assistant pull it for him a few days earlier) and said that while I might not like it, the charges were reasonable. I was SHOCKED! I asked him: “if you were billed for 49 hours of labor, how many days would you estimate the car was in the shop.” He tried to dodge the question, but eventually answered “well, 2 or 4 depending on how you calculate the work day.” I told him I was being asked to pay for 22 days and he was speechless. He concluded by saying he would look into it and follow up with me. Unfortunately I was told a few days later that he had instructed SMT to continue to pursue it!
It’s not a surprise that the math they use to calculate deminition of value is pretty sketchy too! $2600 in lost value on a $4600 repair is almost unheard of in the industry (I called and asked my insurance company).
It’s pretty clear that Advantage is trying to profit off of my accident. Funny ’cause I thought a car rental company was supposed to make money renting cars! I’m disgusted with them.
I’m not trying to get out of paying what I owe, and have told them I’m willing to pay a reasonable amount, but they refuse to bring the numbers down! Needless to say, I won’t be renting from them again! Just thought your readers might want to know: Stay away from Advantage Rent-a-Car!
When even your Director of Operations is taken aback by a 22-day claim for 49 hours of shop time, you know you’re running a pretty ballsy scam. Advantage, are you really going to try to screw this customer over for $3,000? Is it worth the bad publicity?