Advantage Rent-A-Car Says 49 Hours In Shop Equals 22 Days

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?

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. strangeffect says:

    Is it possible for a Car Rental place to get negative publicity? Don’t those cancel out to be positive?

  2. mkanoa says:

    I work in the collision repair industry (parts supplier) and, although 22 days is a little excessive, it really isn’t unheard of. When they mention that they figure on 4 hours a day, that is about the maximum a technician might work on your car per day. It is almost certainly less, due to the sheer volume of cars and how they rotate them through the various areas of the shop. The 49 hours doesn’t generally take into account paint drying time or waiting for parts to arrive. This would all be time that the vehicle was sitting without being worked on. I do think that they are gouging this customer, but I don’t think it is near as bad as made out to be.

  3. dj-anakin says:

    I assume he didn’t take the insurance from Advantage?

    We used Advantage on our honeymoon on Kauai, Hawaii, when we flew over to Oahu for the day. First, the shuttle wasn’t at the airport when they said it was, then it showed up an hour and a half later [there were no taxi's around] after I called many numbers to find out what was going on… even going so far as to talk to someone at corporate to inform them what was happening. I vowed then that I’d never use Advantage again, and i’d inform everyone I knew about it and warn them against using their company.

  4. PageEris says:

    In the insurance industry, we calculate an average time worked on a car
    in for repairs to be about 5 hours a day. Even at 49 total hours, that’s
    not quite 10 days.

    He needs to remind Advantage that the purpose of insurance is to put you
    where you were before the loss occurred, not to profit from it!

    Sincerely,

    Michael Hall

  5. Nissan288 says:

    Hertz all the way baby.

  6. Preyfar says:

    After years of reports that more and more Americans are failing math… today we finally see the end result. This guy should FedEx a calculator to the Advantage corporate, and simply write a letter saying “I think this will help your bottom line more than my money would.”.

  7. dualityshift says:

    That is why I always take the insurance.

  8. MasterShake says:

    I certainly will never use Advantage. I’ve always suspected that the rental car companies try to make a profit off accidents (as opposed to covering the true costs associated) given all the exaggerated charges and fees but this situation wreaks of greed! Keep fighting the good fight Paul!

  9. chuck0008 says:

    The other thing that he can do, if the police are certain that this was the result of damage from the stolen vehicle, is to contact the DA in whatever county the accident happened in, and let them know the TOTAL damage (including what Visa paid). If the car theif is prosecuted, then this ammount will be added to his sentence as restitution, and Visa can get back their money, Advantage can get theirs, and this can be a costly lesson for the car thief. He might also look into the policy from the stolen car as well. If it has full coverage, they may be able to do something.

  10. dbson says:

    Wow…just, wow.

  11. all4jcvette says:

    You might want to sue them. I’d contact a lawyer, bring in all of your documents. At the very least, the $200 it costs you to see him and have him write a letter, may get that amount reduced. Sometimes just bringing in a lawyer to something like this makes it go away quickly. I’d also contact your local TV and the local TV were you rented the car. Bad pub will also help.

  12. gneissgrrl says:

    I’ve never heard of “deminition of value” before… I just assumed my Mastercard insurance would cover everything if I had an accident in a rental. I’ll have to look into that!!

  13. Skankingmike says:

    as far as i understand it (at least in NJ) your car insurance will cover the cost of your rental car if it’s in an accident and you were driving.

    but like i said that’s NJ so unsure who this works in other states

  14. Darkwish says:

    What kind of “relatively minor” damage needs 49 hours of work on it? If it takes that much to repair it, why wasn’t it just totaled? Even major body work doesn’t take that long!

  15. dreamcatcher2 says:

    @mkanoa: mkanoa brings up an important point: the car rental company might have taken 22 days to repair the car, while if the customer had taken it to a shop it would have been repaired in much less time. The rental companies make sure they have about 0 excess repair capacity, which means that repairs frequently take a long time, while the consumer repair industry has considerable excess capacity making for much more responsive service.

  16. geoffhazel says:

    Isn’t there a record somewhere of when the car went into the shop, time and day, and when it came out of the shop? What is all this 49 hours business?

    How many DAYS was it in the shop?

    Were they just letting it sit in the corner, or were they working on it?

    Whose shop was it? Advantage’s own body shop? or a third party?

    Was there a wait before it could even GET repaired?

    – I’m feeling there are a LOT of unanswered questions here.

    And for sure, I’m taking the CDW when I rent a car from ANYONE from now on, 15.00 a day sounds cheap.

  17. True Costs.

    I love that phrase.

  18. whysteriastar says:

    I urge everyone to boycott them, low prices aren’t worth getting raped.

  19. haoshufu says:

    Nowadays, rental car company don’t make their money off rental. They make money thru selling you ALL kinds of insurance. When you don’t buy THEIR package and run into ‘things’, they will rack up your bill in unthinkablely creative ways.

  20. Mjolnir427 says:

    Question:

    How many people here would rent from a rental car company with outstanding customer service, zero scams or hidden costs, and daily fees that were 1.5 to 2.5 times everybody else’s?

    I.E. Enterprise gives you a Cobalt for $19.99/day, this theoretical company charges $34.99/day for the same car.

    Is it worth it?

  21. Zekeklikklak says:

    Ask them what their monthly rate or weekly times 3 is for the car.
    That is the amount that you should negotiate for as that would be
    fair.

  22. jenl1625 says:

    @Mjolnir427: The problem is that until other people (that I trusted or at least had no reason to distrust) had used the hypothetical company and reported that they had no problems/no issues, I wouldn’t trust that I was getting what I was paying for (the great service, no scams ….).

    On the other hand, when someone tried to read a map at 55 mph and rear-ended my Taurus a month ago, I got good service at the stated price (no hidden fees, no trying to sell me extra insurance) from Enterprise.

  23. tkozikow says:

    I had the unfortunate experience of badly damaging a rental car about 20 years ago. The accident was entirely my fault and knew that I (or at least my company since I was on business travel) would be responsible for the damages having opted not to take the insurance (as per my company’s travel policy). What I did not expect was for Budget to charge $10K to my AMEX for repairs and loss of use to the 1985 Buick Regal. The car was still drivable, but clearly needed a lot of front end work. I was shocked, however, by the cost which was eventually covered by my employer.

  24. WaywardSoul says:

    The appropriate compensation depends entirely on the number of CALENDAR days the vehicle was out of use. If it was sidelined or in the shop for 22 calendar days then that will establish the starting point for negotiation. Labor hours don’t matter.

    I’d suggest that you determine the number of days the vehicle was out of service and then determine the cost of a rental for that time period. Check their rates, get them to give you or a friend a quote. Then remember that all they are allowed to recover in court is their lost PROFIT for that rental period since they’ve already been compensated for wear/depreciation/damages to the vehicle.

    Also, verify that they haven’t pulled something sneaky by recovering damages from the owner of the stolen car or that person’s insurance company. They can only recover from one person you know. For that matter, you had no control over this act or the damages, they occurred during the commission of a crime and weren’t forseeable like a traffic accident or parking lot scrape might be. I’d argue that you may not be liable anyway.

  25. I rented from Enterprise when I was in LA in March. I’m 24 so I was charged underage fees, but Enterprise’s fee was $10/day whereas everyone else was $25/day. I ran over a nail the last day I was there, and they didn’t charge me for the tire. I’ll definitely be renting from them again if I have to rent a car.

  26. linbey says:

    What exactly is “Deminition of value” Ive never even heard of it and the word deminition isnt even in the dictionary I checked.

  27. scoobydoo says:

    It could always be worst; Budget pulled this scam on me with a rental (a tiny scratch) and claimed the car would be in the shop for 12 days. Turns out they OWNED the shop (thanks Google!). Thankfully I had Amex insurance on it, and Amex told them they could pound sand and only paid a few hours.

  28. chiieddy says:

    If you’ve done the research, offer them a settlement of a fair value and offer to let them take to you to court to receive anything else.

  29. sleze69 says:

    This sorta reminds me of The Firm where they convicted them of mail fraud for overbilling via the mail. Wouldn’t this also qualify?

  30. e.varden says:

    No such word as “deminition”.

    Diminution, perhumps?

  31. B says:

    She should have gone to Safeway, at least there 24 hours is 24 hours.

  32. dweebster says:

    Talk about taking Advantage!!!

  33. dweebster says:

    Talk about taking Advantage!

  34. UltraSheer says:

    They obviously mean diminution. It just refers to the diminished value of the car after the accident.

  35. Jeangenie says:

    Dimunition of value

    This is the concept that a vehicle, even when repaired, has had its value ‘diminished’. Would you pay the same price for a car that had been in an accident but was repaired as for a car that had never been in an accident? The delta between those numbers is diminished value.

    Not all states allow you to sue for diminished value. I was glad that Virginia case law supported it when my brand new Nissan Sentra was rear-ended by a school bus. Bravo to Nissan as we weren’t injured, btw. I got an appraisal of my car after the repair (work done excellently) and compared it to the blue book of a car in very good condition. This was a loss that I suffered that would not be covered in all states. Be sure that before you close out your insurance claim on an accident that you at least investigate ‘diminution of value’.

  36. andyj76 says:

    Is it worth the bad publicity?
    I would have to say, “Whoops, too late”

  37. dweebster says:

    @Mjolnir427: I’m a big user of Hertz, evil as they are. They have buttloads of cars, never hassle me over minor scratches and such I might have missed, nearly always get a free upgrade if I want one, fully loaded cars, I could go on. With AAA discount they are well within the range I’m willing to pay for transportation, and with the free #1 gold card I usually get dropped right at my car, drop in my bags and drive off. After suffering through Enterprise and Avis and nearly all the others over my life, Hertz seems to have the service I expect for a decent price. Too bad they are evil, but that’s probably to be expected from any of them.

  38. dantes666 says:

    I’m not a lawyer, but I think Rental car companies are not licensed to sell insurance. I believe what they sell you is a waiver that you will not be liable for any damages when the car is under your care.

  39. Wait, I can totally understand their math. Case in point:

    Divide 49 hours by 2, with two representing the number of combined IQ points the Advantage Rent-A-Car staff possesses. Answer = 24.5.

    Next, take the square of this number to achieve 4.9497474…, which is roughly the amount of time the average Advantage Rent-A-Car employee believes he has off per 9-hour day of work.

    Now let’s take this number and round it off to 5, because why the hell not?

    Add to this an arbitrary 17–because if they can, I sure as hell can–and you have 22, which is clearly the number of days that car was in the shop.

    See, it totally makes sense when you look at it from their asinine perspective.

  40. chuckn0rris says:

    My wife and i live in texas, but take several snowboarding trips to denver throughout the year. We had always used advantage. In the past 3 years we have rented from them no less than 15 times usually at 200-300$ each. Thank god we never had any damage to our vehicle. After hearing the OPs story, we will no longer be renting from advantage while we take our snowboard trips. They might be cheaper in the short term, but taking a gamble as to whether they are going to screw me or not isn’t one i’m willing to take. This year alone we have 6 trips planned, so the OP can feel a little better knowing that his post cost advantage at least 1200$

  41. amyschiff says:

    @thnkwhatyouthnk: Same here. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Enterprise. They seem to know what’s up.

  42. Tmoney02 says:

    @Skankingmike:
    “as far as i understand it (at least in NJ) your car insurance will cover the cost of your rental car if it’s in an accident and you were driving.”

    It is true that your car insurance will cover the cost of the damage of the accident (aka pay the repair bills). It won’t though cover the cost of the car being out of commission and not earning money for the rental company. This is something that rental companies (and I believe all have added it to their rental agreements) have added.

    Thus it is now not a bad idea to buy their insurance which is the only way to get this covered. Otherwise you will pay the full rental amount everyday it is out of service, and somehow I don’t thing the rental company will be in any hurry to get it fixed.

  43. bossco says:

    Since you didn’t have anything but Liability on your own personal insurance (no collision), you probably should have bought the Loss Damage Waiver. Credit Card coverage is tricky and in this case not quite complete. I don’t agree with the charges, but for $14 a day you could have avoided this mess.

  44. FLConsumer says:

    I had good experience with Enterprise until January…after which point I’ll never use them again. My dealer was out of loaner cars when I brought mine in for service so they arranged for an Enterprise car that they would pay for. Well, to make a long story short, Enterprise billed me & the dealer. Spent a few hours on the phone with both Enterprise and the dealer.

    Dealer claims they paid Enterprise, Enterprise said they’d issue a refund… well after 4 weeks and multiple calls, no refund, so I did a chargeback. Wachovia called me the next day and said it had been remedied.

  45. MasterShake says:

    According to most rental agreements the rental car companies can charge you for diminution of value regardless whether you buy the damage waiver (aka their “insurance”).

  46. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    Here is an interesting summary of Diminution of Value cases across the US. $2500 seems pretty outrageous, but then I’m no insurance guy, and don’t have any idea what the car is actually worth.

    I would ask for copies of everything necessary to evaluate their claim. First, the original invoice, including purchase date and price; a detailed history of ALL maintenance; the complete rental history of the vehicle; a complete listing of all claims, fees and charges that were billed to and/or collected from rental customers, insurance companies, and CC companies for any and all damage claims during that rental history; Copies of the actual rental papers AND screenshots of the computer records (there might be comments or notes from customers or rental agents that would affect the validity of their calculations)

    The age, mileage, maintenance and repair history, combined with the original purchase price, gives a reasonable starting point to calculate the actual value of the car before the accident.

    A detailed description of all parts and labor for the current repairs is next, including details such as manufacturer or OEM for parts, and detailed accounting of the value of all the betterments. “Betterments” are INCREASES to the value of the car based on the fact that parts being used in the repair are new, and are thus better than the original parts were before the accident.

    All of this can be used to estimate the actual value of the car after the accident, and the actual, fair, dollar amount for “diminution of value.” I would also demand a detailed written description of how 49 hours of labor equates to 22 days in the shop.

    Then, and only then, would I be able to fairly evaluate their monetary claims. Of course, I’d offer offer them an amount that I thought was reasonable at several points during these discussions in case they wanted to avoid the hassle of actually documenting their claims, probably during some of the many many phone calls I’d be making to their toll free number to clarify something that I didn’t understand or couldn’t quite make out in their responses to me.

  47. emis says:

    enterprise all the way… failing that it’s a toss up between Hertz & Avis.

    Worst experiences I’ve had are with the Co’s that claim to be less expensive…
    – Budget (gave me a 2-seater pickup for a 200-mi drive when I told them I needed a 4-door sedan)… they are light years better then U-Haul if you need a truck though

    - Dollar (got into the rental at the agency and the “BRAKE” light was on and the car basically had no stopping ability as the pedal would go to the floor) …

    - Dollar again, a few months later renting from a different Dollar elsewhere in the country, driving on the highway about 15-miles out from the airport where I picked up, I slowed for an exit, BRAKE light comes on, followed by loud grinding noise, and a limited ability to stop… look under the car and can clearly see that either a line has burst or a drum cylinder has popped as there is brake fluid leaking from one of the rear wheels… called their 800 number and they sent some geezer (had to be in his 80s) out to my location in a new rental, he hands me the keys and walks back to the broken vehicle, I say “You’re going to wait for the tow truck?” he says “Nope” and proceeds to drive off, at least he was in front of me…

    The above were all via work travel agents at a previous job, after (2) issues w/ Dollar they finally agreed to drop them from the top of the list of places they book. Current job books from the top places and/or lets you pick your own, much nicer.

  48. mariospants says:

    I think what they’re adding into the account is the number of days that the car was sitting in the parking lot not being rented. So in addition to the 49 hours in the shop (12-16 days, according to their 4-hour “workday”) there were probably 8-10 where it was waiting for parts or waiting for a shop.

    Yeah, the OP would have been better off taking the car in for a repair before returning it to Advantage.

    Adavantage: Advantage.

  49. mariospants says:

    oh, and even though experts say to stick with your credit card’s insurance and waive the in-house insurance, the one time I did get insurance on a rental in Florida the plastic wheel covers got stolen (likely someone in a similar rental car “passing it on”) and all I had to do is toss them the keys and say “your problem”.

  50. gnimsh says:

    Wow. I worked at Budget and I have never seen anything like this. I even rented from advantage because they were cheaper. Poor guy.

    On an unrelated note, here is a huge list of practices performed at Budget that the consumerist has ignored since I emailed asking if they would be interested (yes, they said, very.) It’s been 3 weeks now and I have no idea why they’re not posting this, so here it is! Enjoy.

    [unofficialmagicjack.forum2u.org]

  51. TechnoDestructo says:

    Wouldn’t the fact that it had been a rental diminish the value in and of itself to the point it wouldn’t be possible for anything short of a salvage title to take away that much more value?

  52. Orv says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Actually, rental cars can be a good used buy. They have low mileage and they’re well-maintained, often by dealer mechanics. Contrast this with a lease return, where the owner probably won’t have maintained it well because he knows it won’t be his problem for long.

  53. Eoghann says:

    they are light years better then U-Haul if you need a truck though

    That’s quite an endoresment. “Better than the worst truck rental company in existance.”

  54. anonymous_adjuster says:

    Ten years of auto insurance adjusting here. Four hours per shop day is pretty much an industry standard for estimating loss of use, so 12-13 days for a 49 hour estimate is reasonable. But, did Advantage really suffer any loss of use? Ask them to prove to you that they would have been able to rent this vehicle every day while it was out of service. This would require them to show that every vehicle they had was rented and they turned customers away due to this vehicle not being available. They won’t be willing to prove this, because fleet size and utilization rates are closely guarded.

    As for diminished value, unless they have sold the car, they can not prove any diminished value claim. By their nature, rental vehicles are worth less than other used vehicles on the market. If there was no structural damage to the car and all the repairs were completed to industry standards, the car could potentially be worth more than it was before the repairs. Until the car is sold, and the sale price is compared to other rental cars of the same age, make, model and condition in the same market, diminished value is a guess. Don’t pay it.

  55. mattindustries says:

    Wow, I sure am never renting from them. I got rid of my car back in March (I ride a bicycle now) and haven’t looked back on owning a car, but sometimes you need to rent one. Looks likes those times will not be with Advantage.

  56. gnimsh says:

    Just wanted to thank whoever told me about the consumerist forums, I’m moving that post over there. Sorry to everyone for butting in!

  57. Invalid_User_Name says:

    I wonder if your state attorney general would be interested in hearing about such creative math.

  58. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Orv:

    The tip of the iceberg:

    Seriously, every link you follow just gets you 10 more.

    Might want to rethink your position on used rentals.

  59. jonnypage says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Holy crap! People are so careless with other’s property.. We were thinking about a car until a dealer at another stealership told us it was probably a rental after hearing the spec’s – 2 years old, 50,000km – we decided not to get it.

  60. donkeyjote says:

    @TinyBug: WTF is your star? You deserve one, you evil chocolate fudge oozing genius you.

  61. jimconsumer says:

    Don’t pay them a dime. Seriously. There is nothing wrong with telling them to jump off a cliff. What are they going to do? Sue you? Do you think any judge would agree with them that this is reasonable?

    Remember, YOU are in control of your finances. YOU hold the power here, not them. YOU can tell THEM to go fuck themselves and there’s precious little they can do about it. When they threaten to sue you, tell them to go right ahead. They’ll scream and bitch and moan and threaten but 9 times out of 10, their bark has no bite. These people won’t sue you because they damn well know they’re running a scam here and they’ll lose in a court of law.

    Fuck ‘em. Let ‘em whine. Write “Fuck off” on the bill and mail it back to them.

    “I’m not trying to get out of paying what I owe” – I’d refuse to pay anything at this point. If you’re going to try to scam me, screw you. You’re not getting a dime even if I do legitimately owe it. Stop trying to rip me off and agree to accept an amount that I fairly owe and I’ll pay you. Otherwise, you can jump in a lake on the entire bill.

  62. trixrabbit says:

    @jimconsumer: agreed. let them take it to a judge. the op will have no problems.

  63. donkeyjote says:

    @jimconsumer:

    Remember, YOU are in control of your finances. YOU hold the power here, not them. YOU can tell THEM to go fuck themselves and there’s precious little they can do about it.

    You’re new here, right? I think they forgot to tell you about Credit Reports before you signed up :P

  64. Baron Von Crogs says:

    A few things.

    49hours / 4 = 12.25, you always round up which leaves us with 13.

    If the vehicle was brought to the shop late in the week I can easily see how they came to 22 days. The sorta good news? proving loss of use and diminished value and loss of us is on them to prove. First, they need to wait until they attempt to sell that vehicle and can prove that they could’ve gotten more for the vehicle if it wasn’t for that accident. For loss of use they would have to prove that they had no more vehicles to rent and they suffered a loss by this specific vehicle being out of service as a result of the accident.

    With that said, you didn’t sign a wavier with them. You did not carry any collision or uninsured motorist insurance so legally you’re at least liable for the damage to the vehicle – which was covered by Visa via your card members agreement.

    Thus? You shouldnt owe them a dime.* Just because a company files subrogation against you it DOES NOT mean they have a legal right to collect.

    *All this may vary by state law. I’m not liable for any incorrect info but I’m pretty sure I’m right. You should check your local laws for that state and confirm what I said, if right send them a certified letter stating why you will not be paying them (cite case law if need be). So if they ever bring you to arbitration you can prove you gave them written notice of why you would refuse to pay.

  65. Caveat says:

    They had to wait for the parts to arrive from Japan and then for the paint to dry. Face it, they have a case. Last year I rented from Thrifty and paid for Access America Trip Insurance, which is a lot cheaper. I got in trouble a couple of times on a 3,000 mile trip. Before returning the car I took it to an independent repair shop (as recommended by Access America) and got an estimate of $2000. Thrifty only charged me about $700 and Access America reimbursed me every cent without hassles (of course I supplied proper documentation of the damage).

  66. seth1066 says:

    The number of hours charged rarely equates to the actual hours accrued working on the car. 1. Estimators include a margin of error 2. A good body technician usually does the job in less time than charged by virtue of his skill.

    This is why they have flat rates for mechanical work (a published universal finite number of hours for each specific job; for example changing spark plugs in a 2007 Ford Explorer V6). This rewards the higher skilled tech; he can finish the job in less time than charged and thus accrue more book rate hours per work week.

  67. RickScarf says:

    As BaronVonCrogs touched on, loss of use is easily refuted by simply asking them for documentation to what percentage of cars they had on rent (or shopped) during the time this one was in the shop. If it’s not 100% (it won’t be), then how could they really expect to charge you for loss of use?

  68. edrebber says:

    “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”

    Paul is not liable. Either the owner of the alleged stolen car is liable or the thief is liable.

  69. @mariospants: That’s exactly why I recommend that my clients get the Loss Damage Waiver – the car gets damaged in some way, all they have to do is turn in the car and keys, and walk away.

  70. bwcbwc says:

    @trixrabbit, @jimconsumer: They probably won’t take it to the judge, they’ll just report it as a defaulted debt to the credit reporting agencies and set the bill collectors on him.

  71. HallIguana says:

    If any Advantage RAC execs are reading this, I was planning to spend
    about $200+ on a vacation rental from Advantage, but if this is not
    publicly resolved, I’m taking my business elsewhere.

  72. Baron Von Crogs says:

    @edrebber:

    Well, he would’ve been if he didn’t use a credit card to cover him. Im sure he signed on the rental agreement he would be responsible for any and all damages. Visa will most likely try to recover the monies they lost paying the claim on his behalf by going after the car thief though with their own subrogation.

    Stolen vehicles are tough, I haven’t had to deal with a case like that yet to really know that the standard process for them are.

  73. Hey Skip Thompson:

    Let’s see… Consumerist has about 2 million estimated readers per month. Using Advantage Rent-A-Car math, that’s like 60 billion, 10 times the population of the Earth.

    Skip, I think you’re in trouble, no matter whose math you use.