Enterprise EECB Saves Man From Unjustly Paying $560 For Bumper Scratch

Enterprise Car Rental charged Mike $560 for a scratch on the bumper he felt was unfair, but after he followed The Consumerist’s instructions on sending an Executive Email Carpet Bomb (EECB), all that changed. “Long story short,” he writes, “Within ONE DAY, that email was forward with highlights , such as URGENT -PLEASE RESOLVE, and ultimately reached the northeast manager, who called me and apologized profusely for their poor handling of the situation, and WAIVED ALL charges ($560 for repairs). done..all wiped… GONE!!! THANK you for publishing that thread.. it absolutely positively works!!!”

So, if the low-level peons are ripping you off, try appealing to the higher authorities, en-masse, via EECB.
(Photo: Alexis Deadly)

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  1. downwithmonstercable says:

    Just curious what the details are on this story? Yay for the EECB working, but was it legit?

  2. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    Personally, I rent a lot of cars. I’m now in the habit of snapping 6-8 digital photos of the car before I leave the lot. I’ve had two instances where I was told long scratches “didn’t count” but when I brought back the car they wanted to see my insurance. So I pulled up the photos on my camera and the claims mysteriously disappeared.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I had enterprise try that on me a couple of years ago in Orlando. I had taken pictures of the car with my digital camera and showed them that the scratch was there when I got it (The person who rented me the car was also in the Pic). They still filled out a report on the scratch and asked me to sign it. I refused. They called me a couple of times after that and I told them to sue me but I had proof they were in the wrong. The calls stopped. I guess they realized pursuing me was not cost effective.

  4. jdhuck says:

    Here is another scam Enterprise has pulled on me.
    I have a Saab, it is in the shop every two weeks or so.
    It is under warranty and I receive a ‘loaner’ from enterprise. Apparently the dealership has an arrangement with Enterprise. The first 2 or 3 times, the Enterprise clerk asked for my credit card. I asked why and I was told that it was just a formality and they just use it as a second form of ID.

    6 months later I began receiving charges from Enterprise on my American Express. Just so happens I was out of the country when the charges occurred. Turns out that the Big E was double dipping from my car dealership and then from me 6 months later. I let American Express handle the fight for me and I did receive the charges credited back to my account.

    This happened three times. I no longer give my credit card to Enterprise when I get a ‘loaner’ from the dealership.

  5. crazydavythe1st says:

    Depending on what a “scratch” means exactly, it could VERY easily cost $560 to repair. Body shops make a killing these days, and from what trips I’ve had to make to the body shop (and I’ve compared prices), many charge $50-100/hr for labor and mark up parts and materials 2 or 3 times.

    That being said, this is unreasonable, simply because it seems much more likely that Enterprise would pocket the money and leave the scratch for the next customer then to actually have the car repaired. At least, I’ve never rented a car that actually was perfect in every way, with no scratches or scuffs or anything.

  6. dmuth says:

    This is one reason why when I rent a car, I use my AmEx card. Amex provides CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) insurance for rental cars.

    • appleface says:

      @dmuth: Visa also offers CDW service to their card members.

      [usa.visa.com]

      “Protect against collision and theft

      Visa Standard Credit, Visa Rewards Credit, and Visa Premium Rewards cardholders receive 24-hour Auto Rental CDW coverage-at no additional cost-for damage due to collision or theft.”

    • timmus says:

      Read the fine print. You have to exhaust your own personal insurance coverage before those benefits kick in… so you’re probably still up against a deductible and you risk your regular auto rates going up.

  7. mariospants says:

    One of my favorite lines:
    “A rental car is transportation.
    A rental car with insurance is entertainment.”

    • mariospants says:

      @mariospants: oh, and I had my own little story like the OP: I rented a car in Florida once to head to WDW and when I returned to my generic Mitsubishi, it was missing two plastic wheel covers. I had decided – on a whim – to pay the $28 all-inclusive insurance (I was young) so when I arrived, they said “those wheel covers will cost you $180″.

      “Sorry, I said, I bought the insurance”, they looked at my papers, said “ok, sorry, have a good day” and we were done.

      Sometimes it helps to get the extra insurance…

  8. DjDynasty says:

    When I had Allstate they had a contract with Enterprise. I had nothing but problems with them, not once, not twice, but 3 times.

    1st car. a Buick Park Avenue, it was all they had on the lot. I was 19 or 20 at the time and NOT thrilled to be driving that. Scratches and scuffs everywhere. Noted on the rental form, they insisted I fill out a damage thing when I returned the vehicle.
    2nd car tire was low when I picked the vehicle up asked them to air it up, noted on the form. Parked overnight, tire went completely flat. Rim was bent. I got charged for it. Even with it noted on the form.

    3rd time. I actually did have an accident with their car, with my own insurance which had a $250 Collision deductible. After all their fee’s I ended up being charged $666.66 (not kidding, still have the old credit reports showing the collections somewhere)

    After that, I had a 4th reservation with Allstate for them, they refused to rent at that location because of the problems they had had with me, due to failure to pay for the damages. I said fine, went to a different enterprise location rented a car, paid for the damage waiver and crashed it threw the building at Enterprise #1 window, Threw the keys at the manager who 45 minutes ago told me where to shove it, and said “So glad I purchased the damage waiver, have a nice day” and walked home.

    That was in 2001, I haven’t been back since. Now it’s hertz. Alamo tried to blame previous damage on me once. I informed them I had pictures when the manager called me 2 weeks later after the return (I didn’t, but he didn’t call my bluff) and he backed down. He also saw on the condition report when it was returned prior to me, how dirty and disgusting it was.

  9. Anonymous says:

    With Enterprise you can either pay extra for their insurance, or you can give Enterprise a copy of your insurance. Mike decided to let them use his insurance. When he brought the card back damaged they charged his credit card the amount of his insurance deductible. He damaged the car, they took the deductible.

    It’s really nice they were willing to reverse the charges. But, he is still responsible to repair the damage he caused.

  10. tripnman says:

    Back when I was young and stupid (as opposed to what I am today – older and stupid) I rented a car from an Enterprise at an airport location. When I returned the vehicle, I used the “express drop off” service where you simply park the car in a specified spot and drop the keys in a box. Mind you, this parking spot was right on the main drive of the airport.

    Two days later, I received a call from the rental office indicating that the windshield was cracked when they checked in the car and that they were going to charge my card for the damage. After asking the manager to fax me the check-in paperwork I was able to confirm that the vehicle was left on the main airport drive for over two hours before they checked it in. With this info, I asked them to prove that the damage occurred while the vehicle was in my possession. They of course claimed that they did not need to prove anything, and that the charge would stick.

    Now, I knew that the card was maxed and that the charge wouldn’t go through, so I said “Do what you need to do and I will take care of it on my end.” What I didn’t tell them was that my grandmother was a VP at the bank that had issued the card. Guess who I called next? After explaining to granny (and promising that no, I was not the one that broke the windshield), she said she’d flag the account and watch for their charge, which would be declined. After the brilliant folks at the rental location attempted to run the card, they chose to do a manual imprint and mail it in to get around the overlimit restriction on the electronic processing. Guess what? Granny decided that was fraud, and after a chat with MC/Visa, had their ability to accept credit cards at that location revoked. I’ve always wondered how business was for them after that…

  11. Hoss says:

    I damaged an Enterprise car last weekend. The car was a bit longer than my own and when entering a parking spot a clipped the car in the next spot. There was a significant amount of paint from the other car on the rental. I got the paint off but there was a spot on the rental car front bumper the size of a quarter where the paint came off.

    Knowing this would be a problem either way, I pointed out the damage. The Enterprise person overlooked the damage (even though the rental was a fresh new one with 3500 miles). Sweet.

  12. johnva says:

    I’m betting that these scammy companies intentionally don’t get scratches like that fixed, and then charge one customer after another for it.

    • reviled says:

      @johnva:

      There’s actually a detailed damage report that is entered into the computer for each piece of damage. Enterprise’s loss control department reviews that car’s history before pursuing for damages incase it has indeed been recorded before. I’ve seen deductible’s returned before, though not often. It is the employee’s responsibility when checking th car in to double check the cars damage history before writing a damage report just to make sure it is new damage. Additionally, cars do get shopped (fucking constantly, it was a real hassle) to get damage fixed. The loss control depart ranks branches on shit like that and will actually shop the car against the branch’s will if the damage is left there too long.

    • Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

      @johnva: I am just finding out how powerful credit cards are compared to debit cards and cash. I always avoided getting one but I see how good they are.

  13. reviled says:

    ERAC can be great or they can be a nightmare. I know as I worked for them for several years and have both gone far above and beyond to help customers and treated some like trash.

    More often than not I’ve found that two rules apply.

    1. Don’t be a dick. No one like washing cars in a fucking suit on 100 degree day, 60 hours a week. (the exact reason I don’t work there anymore) so it doesn’t take much to get on the clerk’s bad side. If you are a dick, expect a dirty, smelly car at a shit rate. Don’t act like you “deserve” an Audi because you dropped yours off at the shop for the 6th time this week. If you deserved one, they would give you an Audi loaner. As it is, here is your $25/day Neon that smells like dog. Anyways, don’t be a dick. If you are nice you may get that upgrade for free. I gave a lot of upgrades to pleasant people.

    2. Understand how state rental laws work and what levels of coverage you have on credit cards, personal car insurance, etc. It varies from state to state and insurance company to insurance company. If you are renting and someone else’s insurance is paying for the rental (e.g you are the claimant) it does NOT mean that if the car is damaged while on rent that the damage is the responsibility of the “bill to’s” insurance. Usually that responsibility is all yours. Credit cards may cover some damage to cars, but as one would expect, there’s a shitload of fine print. Certain car types, rental reasons, rental lengths, daily rates, etc etc, can change, or remove that card’s ability to cover you. Lastly, if you don’t want to opt for a damage waiver, that’s fine, check the car with a fine tooth comb because I’m damn sure going to do the same when you return it. Oh and you are signing a contract, so, don’t like the terms? Then don’t sign the fucking thing.

    3. ESQI. Know it. Use it. ESQI is a branch-specific monthly score that measures that branches customer service rating. A high ESQI score can mean bonuses, promotability, access to more, or newer fleet and so on. Nothing is counted heavier in Enterprise culture. Each month, a number of people who’ve recently rented are picked (at random) to receive an ESQI call. Several questions are asked during this call, but the main one is: If you had to rate your customer service experience during your rental with Enterprise would it be:

    1. Completely Dissatisfied
    2. Somewhat Dissatisfied
    3. Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied
    4. Somewhat Satisfied
    5. Completely Satisfied.

    The ONLY scores that count toward the branches average are those that are “Completely Satisfied”. So if 10 calls are made and 7 are completely satisfied and 3 are somewhat satisfied, the branches ESQI score is 70. The historical company average is 78-79 and a branch has to meet or exceed that number for anyone in that branch to be promotable that month. (by making 78% of your customers completely satisfied isn’t too shabby, so don’t trash ERAC TOO much)

    So how do you use ESQI to your advantage? Well, the manager doesn’t know who might get a call, so they have to treat the situation as though EVERYONE may get that call. If you feel like you’ve had a poor experience you might casually mention that you don’t feel “completely satisfied”. Employees are not allowed to “load the gun” so to speak and just ask you if you are completely satisfied so you have to broach that topic yourself. Hope that helps on future rentals.

    In the end though, don’t assume you know how the industry works or how they play their games (and MANY games are played) because you probably get burned.

  14. CraigCossus says:

    I had a vehicle from ERAC that was damaged after i left it in a parking lot over night (someone kicked a quarterpanel). My fault and took the blame. Was figuring a 500-800 bill. Two days later I get a bill for close to $5K. I immediately called them up and asked what was going on – they faxed me the repair order – the shop they took it to was charging for a NEW bumper – NEW Sidepanel – NEW paint for all of it. Luckily I had taken pics and after another phone call it was found out the repair shop was trying to rip Enterprise off. I got my money back but it was quite an experience with them trying to deny me and tell me this repair shop was “reputable”

  15. algormortis says:

    ERAC is a very variable company.

    I’ve had nothing less than stellar experiences with some of their locations; the Philadelphia Airport location springs to mind. I had a string of rentals out there that really defined how I want the car rental experience to work. Fast, friendly, honest, fun. If you look around, everyone seems happy.

    Back here in Seattle, though, renting a car from Enterprise is so bad that it makes renting from the unscrupulous Hertz Local Edition places look fun. They will try to charge you for everything, even with pictures. They have a very slick, omg i am too good for this one-horse town attitude and, well, it shows.

    Fortunately, the place i get my car serviced has loaners, and if i need something bigger i just take a Zipcar for a day. Way, way easier.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I used to rent from Enterprise on a regular basis, but don’t anymore. I prefer the service I receive from Hertz as a 5 star gold member and Enterprise wouldn’t “bump” me up to their corresponding level after a few frequent rentals.
    Hertz has always been good to me, but I can be a very insistent an persuasive customer. I follow a line very similar to the one Ben proselytizes and it works well for me.
    NEVER take “No” for an answer from a large corporate entity if you are in the right. Go through the proper channels first, take down names of everyone you spoke with, and then escalate to VP or higher via email. If it’s only a few hundred bucks, and you’re a long standing customer, it’s usually much easier for them issue you a credit or drop the charge. It works for me. Sometimes I don’t receive the end answer I was looking for (check out my USAA complaint @ TopClassActions.com to see an example of that) but usually I walk away content or at least feeling vindicated.

    Don’t let them trample your rights as a consumer! I read FAR to many submissions of people who need lessons in escalating issues. It’s sad, but when we can point them to an attorney to help out that’s always a positive.

    Thanks for the site Ben! Awesome job on CNBC!

    Warm Regards,
    Scott Hardy
    President and CEO of Top Class Actions LLC
    “What settlements can YOU claim? Find out at TopClassActions.com”
    http://www.TopClassActions.com

  17. razremytuxbuddy says:

    I also got scammed by an Enterprise damage claim. I made a 2″ scratch on a pickup side panel, told them about it when I returned the vehicle, and a couple months later received a bill for $2,500. Turns out a subsequent renter wrecked the side of the pickup, and Enterprise sent the entire repair bill to both him and me. I sent it to my insurance company to sort out, which meant my rates would get dinged, but I felt it was fraud. My insurance company didn’t pursue it that way; they just negotiated it down to where the only amount to pay was the amount of my deductible. Still too much for the scratch I caused, and still fraud in my opinion.

  18. okinawadato says:

    reviled? ERAC is most definitely a nightmare.

    Now that we have gotten the business side’s opinion, here’s the consumer’s:

    1. Don’t be a dick. No one likes traveling (especially via crappy overpriced airlines that frequently lose your luggage) so if we appear a bit testy at the rental car counter, don’t take it personally – (the exact reason I don’t rent at ERAC anymore) it doesn’t take much to get on the customer’s bad side. If you are a dick, expect to be treated like a dick. Don’t act like you “deserve” an a pleasant attitude because you have had a bad day (IN A COOL, AIR-CONDITIONED OFFICE)- you haven’t been stuck on an airplane for 2, 3, 5, 15 hours (in coach) and now you have to deal with a rude prick who’s only desire now is to shaft you on your rental because he/she has misinterpreted your frustration with the airline as a personal slight and oh dear there goes their day. Thanks for the $25/day Neon that smells like dog. Anyways, don’t be a dick. And more importantly, stop feeling sorry for yourself. If you are nice regardless you will probably make someone who is having a genuinely shitty day feel a bit better. Though that might be a stretch for you – after all, being nice for no reason sounds like it might be a bit of a challenge for you.

    2. Understand how state rental laws work? And what levels of coverage you have on credit cards, personal car insurance, etc? Yes, it does vary from state to state and insurance company to insurance company. Do us consumers a favor – make the contract a lot simpler to understand. I’m not a fucking lawyer and don’t have the time or inclination to read “fine print” in a rush because some prick at the rental counter was ready to go home and eat Cheetos and watch Survivor and what the fuck oh crap of course a customer just walked in and I was so ready to go home. Make the contract “large-print only” and your fat chunky ass will be home before you know it. Oh and yes we are signing a contract, so simplify the fucking thing.

    3. ESQI. I don’t know it. I don’t want to know how to use it. It is meaningless to me, I just spent three hours waiting for my luggage because the stupid carousel at the airport was broken or something and I just want to get to my hotel why God do I have to deal with more aggravation. Take your “rating codes” and please, please, keep them to yourself.

    Well, your manager will get a call, so they have to treat the situation as though EVERYONE may get that call. Good. ERAC will be getting plenty of calls. If I feel I had a poor experience I might casually mention that I don’t feel “completely satisfied.” Actually I’ll tell your superiors how I really feel. Pretty royally fucking pissed off at the selfish prick who treated me like slime after my day had already gone south of shit.

    In the end though, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass how the industry works or how it plays it’s games (and I am sure MANY games are played). I just want my rental car, the one I reserved, with minimal fuss.

    • reviled says:

      @okinawadato:

      look genius, I gave you a nice piece of inside info about ESQI and a way to use it to improve your rental experience. Don’t want to use it, that’s cool.

      What people like you don’t understand is that when you stroll into a business of any kind with a chip on your shoulder, you will most likely receive poor service. No one in customer service is going to go out of there way for someone with a bad attitude, but many will go to surprising lenghts for someone with a good attitude.

    • lotussix says:

      @okinawadato:

      not a happy traveler….

      1. it’s always better to be nice to the person helping you. whether is be professional or personal… the golden rule should be followed.

      2. if you are going to sign a contract. read it. if you don’t want to read the whole thing, that’s your bad.

      i’ve never had a problem with any car rental.

    • penuspenuspenus says:

      @okinawadato: Speak for yourself, not consumers in general. You sound like a grade-A asshole.

    • okinawadato says:

      Uh…huh. Try living a travel hell life.

      Nice little piece of inside info? Please. No one wants to deal with a cranky rental car clerk when you’ve been traveling for God-knows-how-long. Please, get over whatever bug has made a long term home up your ass.

      Yes, you completely missed the point. Congrats! Proof you continue to wallow in self-pity after leaving that crap job. The “chip” you speak of (after I explained already) is from the AIRLINE (you know, the people who fly the AIRPLANE…duh.

      Hello.

      And …lotussix – I do speak for consumers in general. Remember to read the post BEFORE before making comments, cowboy. @okinawadato:

  19. seidleroni says:

    From reading this board it seems like many people get ripped off by paying for previous drivers damages(which makes for unhappy customers). Why dont the rental companies automatically take pictures when you pull out of the rental lot (mainly this is done in the airport locations, but there may be easy ways to do this automatically) and take pictures again when the car gets back. This way the car rental co. has BEFORE & AFTER pictures to compare it to. That way they can find out who in fact caused the scratches and not try to pawn it off on whoever they can!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Recently my wife rented a *brand new* (and much larger than she was used to) vehicle while ours was being fixed, with the at-fault’s person (who hit ours) paying the bill. She used our Amex, thinking we had the higher-level rental insurance coverage on it (I assumed it was added to her card when I added it to mine.)

    So in a parking lot, she smacks the front of it against a support pillar, and it’s awful. When she returns it, she’s completely open and up-front about it, and the Enterprise person is visibly relieved — says that most people come in, even on a brand new car like that, claiming the damage wasn’t their fault, and it leads to huge paperwork headaches.

    So turns out we don’t have the higher-level Amex rental insurance coverage on her card, just the lower level — AND it turns out that even the lower-level automatic rental insurance doesn’t technically apply if the “full cost” of the rental isn’t on the Amex. So we have to dump the full load on our regular insurance, right?

    Nope.

    First, Amex covered our deductible (which is $500) even though we didn’t technically qualify, and sent us a letter saying they’d done it because we’re “good customers.” We didn’t even ask.

    Second, Enterprise got an estimate, less than $2000, but not by much. We were all set to pay it, and we got a note in the mail from Enterprise saying that the total cost of the repair (now completed) was substantially less than the estimate, only a little over $1200, so that’s all they wanted (minus the $500 deductible Amex paid for, of course.)

    The only reason I can think of that these two companies chose to do this is that both my wife and I were really nice to everyone we spoke to about it, and never tried to shirk our responsibilities. It doesn’t always make a difference, but apparently this time it did — presumably me not yelling when I found out my wife’s card didn’t automatically have the higher coverage when I bought it for mine, and my wife not even pretending the damage was anyone’s fault but her own.

    So…just a reminder that sometimes the stories go positive, as well.

  21. lordargent says:

    Drove off the lot with a tiny chip in the windshield.

    I live at a higher elevation than where enterprise was located.

    Long story short, a cold snap on one of the nights that I had the car caused the chip to expand into a full blown crack.

    End result, $350.

    /had the car for ~25 days while mine was in the shop being repaired (someone else hit me and their insurance was covering the repairs).

    /The way I see it, I came out ahead. My car was in the shop getting repaired (someone hit me, their insurance was covering the repairs and the rental, but not insurance on the rental).

    /had the car for 25 days

    /Figured I came out about even, what’s their insurance plan, like $12 per day?