Budget Slaps Customer With $500 Repair Fee Months Later

When Sean returned a rented truck to Budget Truck Rental nearly a year ago, he went through the standard inspection with an employee, who then signed off on the return. Now the company has sent a $500 bill to collection for damage they refuse to provide evidence of.

Here’s Sean’s story:

In April I rented a truck from Budget Truck Rental. I rented the truck for about a day so I could move from my apartment into my first house. I went to the pickup location and surveyed the truck with the employee and signed off on where all existing damage was on the truck. I unfortunately did not take pictures of the truck before driving it off the lot (live and learn).

The move went smoothly and there appeared to be no issues. I dropped the truck off in the after hours drop off location and thought that was the end of it.

About 3 months later I get a call from the Budget damage claims department stating I had caused over $500 in damages to the truck’s overhead nose radius. Well I didn’t hit anything. I told the agent that even if I had somehow caused the damage that I had purchased their insurance policy and the damage should be covered. I was informed that any damage to the truck overhead or tires is not covered under their insurance they sold me and would not be covering this (basically the policy is useless unless you total the truck, even then I’m not sure if they have more shenanigans).

I told the agent that I did not cause the damage and would not pay anything unless they could prove the damage to me with pictures or something tangible so I would know I’m not getting ripped off. Nothing arrived and I had no further communication with Budget. I tried contacting the representative a few more times to verify if the issue was closed and was unable to get a hold of them. I considered the matter to be closed after several months of no communications.

Just recently I received a call from a collection agent demanding the money or they were gong to report this issue to the credit bureaus. So next step for me is small claims court to try and address this.

Sean adds that he’s learned a few lessons from this, the first one being that “small claims court sometimes can’t be avoided.” His other lessons are ones we should all take in:

  • Car rental insurance is basically worthless. It’s not the only useless insurance, either. Here are 10 types of insurance policies you don’t need.
  • When you drop off a rental grab and employee and make sure that nothing is out of sorts.
  • Take lots of pictures.

“10 insurance policies you don’t need” [Consumer Reports]

Comments

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  1. silver-bolt says:

    I would say SCC, but he’s already on that path. YAY! for indoctrination.

  2. SarcasticDwarf says:

    Damage to rental trucks is basically a scam. How is ANYONE supposed to notice every little dent and scratch in an object covered with them? Sure, they cover them with stickers (which fall off eventually) but you are bound to miss a few things when it is picked up or dropped off. The simple solution is for the rental company to simply sign off that there is no new damage when you return it. Instead, they mark down all the damage they see, then at some point in the future compare it to the original and bill you for whatever they want.

    • conquestofbread says:

      @SarcasticDwarf:

      This is why the consumer has to be proactive — take pictures of the vehicle with a time and date stamp when you receive it, and carefully inspect the rental documents to see what damages are already noted.

      If you see ANYTHING that differs from the rental documents, bring it to the attention of an attendant and have them sign off on it.

      As soon as you drive the car off the lot, the rental agency will hold you responsible for any damage until the car is back in their posession.

      • SarcasticDwarf says:

        @conquestofbread: Again though: Without a really good camera you are only going to catch the major stuff (like where something large hit the truck). All the usual stuff of the dents and smaller scratches (or the lack of) are not going to show clearly on anything but a very good camera.

    • donjumpsuit says:

      @SarcasticDwarf: My friend totaled a Ford explorer, he had no credit card, no personal insurance, and opted out of the car rental insurance. After trying to go after him for a few months, they just decided to drop it. Something about owning a fleet of vehicles used by private customers tells me they have their own buisness insurance, kind of like when you slip on water in a supermarket and break your wrist.

      • Wombatish says:

        @SarcasticDwarf: I rented a U-haul recently, much to my chagrin. (I drive a small car, and I have a big couch. I did the math.)

        On their little “picture form” that you have to note the damage on, the guy said “Oh, I already noted it, just go check it, but there’s a line….” and trailed off, indicating that I should hurry.

        I said “You want me to hurry?” and circled the entire truck on the picture, and then had him initial it.

        The guy I returned the truck to was furious that he could not nit-pick the car for damage I might have caused (I didn’t) and charge me for it.

        It was, as our friends down at the Circle K would say, “Most excellent”.

  3. savdavid says:

    Budget is right. Better would be RipOff Rent-a-Wreck.

    • Myotheralt says:

      @savdavid: Why would anyone rent a car from a company that advertises the cars a wrecks? Isn’t that like saying that the car could fall apart at any minute and you are to blame, after all, you went with rent-a-WRECK.

  4. conquestofbread says:

    I work in the car rental industry…

    It is standard that your insurance never covers damage to certain parts of the vehicle, namely: roof, windows, undercarriage, tires. The reason why is because damages to these parts of the vehicle is usually caused by a driver negligence (driving over something they shouldn’t, driving under something without sufficient clearence, etc).

    Sometimes you can purchase coverage specifically for these parts, but often even the optional, additional coverage will only cover windows and tires.

    It is not unheard of that they’ll contact you a few months later in regard to some damage, and as long as they can prove that the damage they’re charging for is new damage, they have the right to charge.

    Even if you have somebody look over the car when you return it, rental companies still have the right to a more thorough inspection. This is covered in the fine print of the rental agreement you signed — this kind of this is standard in basically every rental agreement with any rental agency.

    Budget definitely does have to provide you with the necessary documents to sustain the charge. If you haven’t gotten anywhere with Budget, I’d recommend a credit card dispute. Budget will have to provide proof of the new damage to your credit card, which your credit card company will then be able to provide to you.

    A word of warning, though, if you lose the credit card dispute, it will be pretty much impossible to reclaim the money.

    Good luck to you!

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @conquestofbread: Well it is impossible for them to prove you damaged it unless they have photos of before and after with you in them to prove you were there.

      And if they are charging for damage, the vehicle should always be fixed. It seems these companies charge for damage, but never fix anything.

      • conquestofbread says:

        @Corporate_guy:

        When the customer signs the rental document, they are agreeing that there is no damage to the vehicle other than what is already noted on the rental contract. This is usually not noted in the fine print, but close to where the customer signs, but every company

        I want to be clear that I am not defending these policies. Personally, I think these policies suck. I just know how these things work.

        • Corporate_guy says:

          @conquestofbread: It doesn’t make sense that you certify all damage before hand, but they certify it afterwards. You are not familiar with their stuff, how can you decide what is and isn’t damage? I doubt their employee is going to help you with that.

          • conquestofbread says:

            @Corporate_guy:

            To clarify:
            When you sign the rental contract, the contract should have the vehicle condition somewhere on it. Either this would say “no damage”, or list specific damages known to be pre-existing.

            When you sign the contract, you are essentially agreeing to the condition of the vehicle as noted.

            Unless you go out in the parking lot, see new damage, and point this out immediately and have an attendant sign off on this, the rental company is going to hold you responsible for any damages they notice after you return the car that have not already been noted at the time you signed the contract.

            • Wombatish says:

              @conquestofbread: They have, can, and -do- go back on that “damage noted” concept.

              Renting a car should not be a “cross your fingers and hope not to be called for a year” type proposition.

            • trujunglist says:

              @conquestofbread:

              I think what he’s saying is that you agree that there is no damage/damage beforehand, but then you don’t get to agree that there is no damage/damage afterwards.
              What if you get a different attendant that has a different standard of damage inspection from the guy who did it before?
              Then again, none of this is there to give the advantage to the consumer so why even ask? Oh yeah, because we expect to be treated fairly if they expect to be paid for their services.

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        @Corporate_guy:

        They don’t have to fix it, the value of the truck is still diminished.

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        @Corporate_guy: But not when the “nose radius” is broken. Good luck fixing that! I DARE them to try and fix the “nose radius.”

    • meske says:

      @conquestofbread: It dosen’t look like Budget is trying to charge his card. Instead, it looks like this was a claim that they, for whatever reason, could not collect on so sent to a collections agency.

      The op should ask the collection agency for the copies of the documents they’re working off of.

      Also, the op should have been notified in writing of any claim activity, and whomever is trying to collect from you is obligated to provide that backup detail.

      Also – be wary of the collections agencies. They’ll use the “we’ll report to the cred companies if you don’t pay” tactic all the time, but in many cases, the debt they’re trying to collect on may not be a reportable debt. I’m not sure if this one qualifies… maybe someone here smarter than me on that subject could comment.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      @conquestofbread: none of this negates the fact that they have to prove damage. He can’t be expected to pay a claim for damage to the vehicle without an itemized invoice, photos, or other documentation of the damages.

      plus, they’re going to have to get rid of the admin fee I know they put on the claim for damages. he wouldn’t owe that as it is part of doing business.

      • conquestofbread says:

        @Lo-Pan:

        Agreed 100% — they absolutely need to send him documentation to substantiate the charge. He has the right to them.

        It sucks that they have neglected to provide them so far… I would honestly refuse to pay the collection company without the supporting documentation.

        The admin fee is usually valid, as the contract covers these things.

        Again, I really sympathise with the customer here. I’m posting this info because I work in the industry, and therefore happen to know a lot about the contracts rental agencies make people sign.

        Unfortunately, they’re legally binding documents, and they cover their asses so that they can charge customers like this. =[

  5. AgentTuttle says:

    Companies should be legally punished for making false accusations that result in collection actions or hits to our credit report.

  6. ekthesy says:

    Taking photos of the entire truck before you leave the lot takes about 10-15 minutes but is well worth it. I’ve mostly been renting Penske trucks for moves (three times, they’ve given me almost brand-new trucks) and I do this to cover my ass even though I’m pretty sure the contract specifies binding arbitration.

    Seriously, just bring a decent camera and take about 20 photos of the exterior and cab, paying particular attention to obvious damage and high-use areas like the latch, the doors, and the ramp. (MAKE SURE THE RAMP DEPLOYS BEFORE YOU LEAVE.)

    • SarcasticDwarf says:

      @ekthesy: How much will photos help when they won’t (unless you are using a $500+ camera & lens) show any of the more minor damage that they would still charge you for? I would be more interested in hearing from someone who actually managed to successfully fight one of these cases with a couple of lower quality photos.

    • Radoman says:

      @ekthesy: I agree with you ekthesy. Penske trucks are probably the best rentals around. The trucks are newer, the service is better, and you’re not going to end up on the side of the road with all your belongings.

      Heck, just look at a Uhaul truck before going to Penske. If the difference in quality isn’t enough to convince you it’s worth it, you’re a braver soul than I.

      As good as Digi Cams are now, a few pics of whatever you rent seems only prudent.

      • UX4themasses says:

        @ekthesy: I agree to an extent. Unfortunately, what if the claim was for damage to the undercarriage? As part of your photo work, do you climb under the vehicle as well?

        What if the damage on the overhang is not visible tot he eye from ground level? Would you recommend the OP have climbed a ladder and take pictures of the room as well?

        Photos are great for at the moment of the accident. I just can’t see how they are anything more than insurance covering the back, front, sides and interior (cab and box).

    • chargernj says:

      @SarcasticDwarf: I think that is why he suggested taking 15-20 minutes. You can take alot of pics in that amount of time, including close-ups of existing damage.

  7. G_Money21 says:

    not for nothin, this is such BS! All the work required to take care of this, time included, might not be worth the hassle. Especially if they decide to report it to credit beaureu and you are stuck with a chargeoff on your report. The hassles with getting that fixed too will take some time. Its like a huge shakedown, might be in your best interest to just settle for $200/$250 and be done with it. If you have never been to SCC, it’s not somewhere you want to be. You could spend a whole day their and possibly not even have your case heard.

  8. MeOhMy says:

    “Overhead Nose Radius?” Does that connect to the “Johnson Rod?” You’d think they could at least have the decency to make up a realistic-sounding description of the fake damage!

    • lockdog says:

      @Troy F.: The overhead nose radius is the round, curved piece of metal that is the front,top portion of the “box” part of a box truck. In the picture above it is the grey area above the blue stripe with the Budget logo in it. They are always made from some fairly brittle composite, they’re easy to damage and they tend to take a lot of abuse from low hanging branches, eaves or other low overhangs, even the rims on basketball goals. They’re also $@#$^! expensive to replace, so most of the time you end up with an ugly caulk and sheet metal patch that will leak every time you drive in the rain.

  9. friendlynerd says:

    I returned a truck to Budget once with graffiti sprayed on 2 sides of it. They didn’t even say anything, I still can’t believe my luck on that one.

  10. Xerloq says:

    I agree with the points above:
    1) Take lots of pictures
    2) Make sure the employee checks the rental in with you present. I usually use the video function on my camera to film the employee’s inspection.
    3) DON’T use the convenience key-drop box.
    4) Make sure the employee signs your return receipt and gives you a copy.

    Last time I rented, the employee said he was “too busy” to check in my rental. I called corporate on my cell at the counter, who patched me through to the regional manager, who conferenced me in with the employee at the desk. He chewed out the guy, who then did the walk through. The RM called me back afterward to make sure I had received all necessary documents.

    One month later, the location I rented from is out of business.

  11. tracilyns says:

    car rental insurance and moving truck insurance are two different things. true, you don’t need to buy the extra insurance when you are renting a car, because your credit card usually covers it. moving trucks are generally NOT covered. your auto insurance policy probably won’t cover it either.

  12. u1itn0w2day says:

    It almost sounds like a local manager is trying to cover their tracks on something they or one of their employees missed .If just one person rented that same truck after you rented how can you be held accountable .

    I find it no coincidence that the rental companies are holding on to vehicles longer and they’re more than nickel and diming the customers .

    When I take a rental vehicle I make em put anything that even looks like a scratch even if it’s dirt .I bet one of those pre rent inspections is where they realized they had damage .

  13. Rachacha says:

    This sounds a bit like this story: [consumerist.com]

  14. u1itn0w2day says:

    Where is the proof .The burden of proof should be on the local manager .

    I’d sue/ask to see pictures,reports,past list of renters,security video tapes from that day .That damage might be on a pre rental inspection of the vehicle .Perhaps that damage was missed by both of you before renting . I want to know the exact day they discovered this damage .

    You have to be carefull about turning daily business into a movie production as well .Many may interpret your ‘ making a movie ‘ of the rental as an insult .They in turn will go out of their way to find something on the return .I understand the value of pictures but that’s part of the reason the pre rental inspection is crucial ,And it would behoove the local manager to inspect the vehicle infront of the customer .

    Where is the proof ! .You want 500$ and I want proof including dates and pictures .

    • WaywardSoul says:

      @u1itn0w2day: I second this. Go to the court and ask the cleark to assist you with a subpeona for all the documentation on the vehicle. You want records of who rented the vehicle before you, who rented it after you, and documentation of all repairs.

      If they provide the documentation before court then you need to call up the renters before and after you, looking for anyone else they tried to collect from, or already collected from, for this damage. If you find one or more then that puts some serious hurt on their case that you caused it. It might also give you a claim for malicious prosecution and allow you to recover damages.

      If they can’t document and itemize any repairs that also hurts their case. It’s not a guaranteed win, but it certainly will tilt the court in your favor given the time passed and all. If they show up having not provided you with the documents or, even worse, not bringing them all to the court when you can prove you requested them then the judge won’t look kindly on their stunt either.

    • lincolnparadox says:

      @u1itn0w2day: Proof isn’t needed to ding your credit. People can ding your credit for fraudulent charges. Proof is needed for court, not life.

  15. SacraBos says:

    okay, a google search for “overhead nose radius” brings you a total of 2 results. Both of which are this article.

    So, I guess the question is: Why isn’t this a fraudulent charge again?

    • Yossarian says:

      @SacraBos: It may well be, but if it is it won’t be because of the name they use for the aerodynamic bit in the front of the truck’s storage compartment.

    • I_am_Awesome says:

      @SacraBos:
      What does one have to do with the other?

      The part they’re referring to is probably the top front edge of the box on the truck. If you look at the pictures in the article, it’s the unpainted metal part above the cab.

      The answer to your question – we don’t know if it’s a fraudulent charge. Because of the fact that they didn’t do anything until months later, it doesn’t pass the smell test. But the terminology they used to indicate the part that was damaged doesn’t have anything to do with it being a fraudulent charge.

  16. zlionsfan says:

    Back in the days before the stormtroopers took over the airports, I got the rental insurance on the cars I’d rent when I reached my destination: not because my current insurance didn’t cover it (it did, but that would also mean a claim on my insurance, right?), but because of the hassle involved if there was damage.

    Sure enough, on one trip out to Virginia, someone used my car as a door stop. Dropped it off right before I caught my flight, handed them the keys, said “Oh, by the way, there’s damage to the rear quarter panel”, and walked off.

    best. feeling. ever. YMMV.

  17. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    This seems kinda shady. Once the rental employee inspects the truck and signs off on it, that should be all. The rental agreement has been fulfilled.

    If they later find damage, then fingers should be pointing to the rental employee for not catching it the first time Trying to charge the customer 3 months later is really questionable.

    Also, $500 seems like a conveniently even number. Was the OP rounding up? Or is this the exact amount that Budget was demanding? If it’s the latter, then I smell a scam.

    • Munchie says:

      @LatherRinseRepeat: This is the OP the actual amount charged was $552.99. I was rounding down, yes I know this number should have rounded up if I was rounding. I just did not have the exact figure when I was mailing in.

  18. RunawayJim says:

    I once had an issue with National Rent-a-car. We had rented from them in Baltimore. They basically said, go pick a car. They didn’t have anyone check the car with us, but it looked fine. We returned it a few days later, the guy at the checkin line (literally, a quick lookover) tried to nab us for a dent that we didn’t do. I spoke with a manager who said we were in the clear. A few months later, they send us a bill for damage and repair, though it was not an itemized bill from the repair shop, as I suspect it never would have been repaired. This time, it included other damage with pictures of the car taken somewhere other than the garage where we dropped it off. We emailed the woman back saying that we could not pay this bill as the car had been moved and they could not provide evidence that we caused the damage. Eventually, they stopped harassing us and it just went ignored, probably because they knew it wasn’t worth the $500 or so they wanted from us to keep fighting it, knowing we could have taken them to court and they would not have been able to provide evidence that we caused the damage. They were also unwilling to send us an itemized bill from a repair shop detailing what work was performed and the charges for that work. That alone should say something (either that they’re charging their customers more money or that they’re not actually getting it fixed, even though they’re requesting money for time the car is out of service).

    I actually learned from a former National employee that they were notorious for this practice… probably because people actually get scared and pay.

    I wonder if they can legally do this months after the fact, and I also wonder if they can legally charge their customers if they have absolutely no intention of having the car/truck repaired. IMO, if the damage is minor (like a small scratch because some jackass swings a car door into it in a parking lot), they shouldn’t be sending letters requesting payment, because you know they’re not going to actually get it fixed.

  19. coren says:

    Unless this is a small operation, that truck gets rented on a frequent basis. If there’s damage and they’re calling you 3 months later, they have a pretty big burden of proof to meet – how do you know it wasn’t damaged by someone else (if the damage is real) who rented it after you?

  20. vicali says:

    never drop off using the key drop box, I have learned this from my last move, I rented a truck from uhaul, picked it up myself (80km from where it was supposed to be( but that is another story), had to sweep out the back, then load it up and moved to a new town, moved out my things and swept out the back again, then dropped the truck off the same day. next day I stopped by to do up the paper work and they had ‘cleaned’ the truck for $125 fee.. the manager showed me a garbage can with a timmy cup in the bottom as proof..?!
    what can you do? they say it was there.. I say I didn’t put it there.

  21. Bruce Bayliss says:

    The same old greasy number
    [youmustbefromaway.blogspot.com]

  22. ViperBorg says:

    Actually, Enterprise insurance isn’t that bad. I got stuck in a snow drift, basically murdered the transmission trying to get out. Brought it limping back to Enterprise, and they gave me a new car, no questions asked.

  23. WaywardSoul says:

    Stuff like this makes me wish there were a place online to upload the pics we took of our rental along with the date they were taken and the license and vin. Someone getting blamed for damage they didn’t cause could come online, search through the vehicles, and maybe find a picture showing that the damage existed weeks, months, or years before they were being blamed.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @WaywardSoul: hrm, sounds like you are on to something… i’d pay a little bit to be able to search a database like that in a situation like this

  24. Anonymous says:

    Twice in the early part of this decade colleagues of mine rented cars from Budget. Both times, they refused the CDW. Both times, they were told that the car had sustained damage in the exact amount that the CDW would have cost had they accepted it ($84, or 7 days at $12/day). How anyone can cause $84 damage to a car, I don’t know, but needless to say, it was a scam. Fortunately, Budget didn’t push it in these cases.

  25. thatsnotfab says:

    Ugh. This is making me even more anxious/nervous to move next month. I rented a U-Haul last time I moved a couple of years ago and didn’t have any problems, but I suppose it’ll be in my best interest to be extra-cautious this time around.

  26. JiminyChristmas says:

    It would be nice if car rental contracts had an ‘ordinary wear and tear’ clause, like those for apartments. I’ve never had an issue with damage to rental cars personally. That said, every time I rent one I dread someone will ding the door in a parking lot, and I will get dinged for an obscene amount of money in return.

    Also, I can’t recall the last time I rented a car when an employee actually surveyed the car with me before I took it out. They either hand me the keys at the counter or I go choose a car from the lot. It they wanted to hold me liable for some innocuous damage to the car they would have no way of proving it. The car was sitting in the lot for an unknown period of time between when they last checked it in and when I drove it away.

  27. Subsound says:

    This is bull, three months later they could have had anybody rent the damn thing more then a dozen times…they need to provide proof you did the damage, at least some sort of dated material.

    Of course pictures are a must when you rent these things, I never expect them to be honest in any way. I know I went and rented a car and the damn thing looked like it was dragged behind a truck and hit everything on either side for a couple miles. I marked up the sheet and took like 30 photos inside and out, even then when I returned it to the same place the guy tried to get me on the hook to fix it. I showed him all the photos and marked up sheet with the managers signature; then said “Here’s my evidence, want to show me yours I’ll meet you in court”. Never heard from them again.

  28. JGBrock says:

    I once had a rental car company that shall remain anonymous (but it rhymes with “malamo”) try to charge me for a scraped bumper. So I sent them a time stamped photograph of the bumper showing the scrape AND the rental agent standing there.

    That was frickin sweet.

  29. Chris 'Sparky' Gordon says:

    Overhead nose radius = Front lip of the cargo area that extends over the cab of the truck, AKA “Mom’s Attaic”

    I work in entertainment, and for films, we do a lot of car and truck renting. Here is some advice that everybody should use when renting a vehicle.

    1. Read the terms of the agreement.
    Most will say that the agreement can not be modified, even orally. Promises made by the person on the floor sometimes need a managers signature.

    This means if the agreement says that you must return within a certain timeframe with a certain level of fuel, the person in front of you can not say that everything will be OK if you just leave the vehicle and drop the key, and fill the talk to half, unless that is what the contract says too.

    If the contract does not say something, but a representative does, get it in writing, and signed For the truly concerned, have a manager confirm. At some places, everybody is a “manager”, so have their boss confirm.

    2. Understand the terms, and what to do if something happens.
    Who do you call when something goes wrong?

    When is the vehicle to be returned? Full tank? Same level as what you left with? Was the level written down?

    I’ve had a truck die because the rental company neglected to change the oil. They tried to tell the production that is was not the rental companies responsibility to ensure that the oil level’s were good, but the production’s reponsibility to maintain the truck while it was in our posession!

    Another common issue is the lift gate. Lift Gate’s are MUCH better than those little ramp’s on some trucks. I’d always advise you to get a lift gate, even residential movers.

    Ramp’s are narrow, and when you are moving something big and heavy, you don’t want to worry about your grip and where you step. Additionally, some furniture dollies are wider than ramp’s making your tool useless.

    Anyway, Lift gates die at the worst possible times. Murphy’s law. Be sure that the rental agreement indicates that there is somebody to call when it does die, and that it will be repaired in a timely manner, 24 hours a day. If not, have the option to have somebody else repair it, and you will be reimbursed by the rental company.

    If a rental company can not guarentee the gate will be repaired in a timely manner when it breaks (Notice I am not saying “if” – a gate will break on you, if you use trucks as often as I do), or that they will reimburse you for having it repaired, then go somewhere else.

    3. Inspect the Vehicle
    This means doing a bumper to bumper inspection.

    Note EVERY SINGLE scratch, ding, and ting that is unusual. Even if the rep says that it is ok, and dont worry about it, make sure it is noted. Take pictures. More on that later.

    Most places, you have to initial the paperwork, indicating that you agree to the prior damages. Don’t initial if you dont agree, and especially if the previously mentiond dent’s and dings were not recorded.

    On projects, we were told don’t worry about tiny dent’s in the metal bumper (like the size of a pin head), only to return the truck, and be told taht we were paying for a replacement.

    4. Inspect the vehicle further.
    This means making sure that everything that is supposed to work, does.

    If it is a truck with a lift gate, make sure that the gate goes up, out and down, and of course back up.

    Make sure the headlights turn on. All of them. I was on a movie once where we rented a picture car, only to find out while filming that a headlight was burned out. Plus, it was late at night, and there was nowhere to get a replacement bulb. We were lucky, and the grips and electric crew were able to rig a light that was able to go in the headlight for the shot.

    If you rent a car that has a trunk that opens and closes itself, make sure it does that. Same for automatic windows, doors, seats. If they dont work, make sure it is noted, unless of course you need that function.

    5.Take Pictures of prior damage.
    At least use your cell phone, and any digital camera will work. You dont need super high resolution.

    A good method is to have a person pointing to the damage in a wide shot that shows where the damage is on the vehicle body. Then, get in close, and have the person pointing to the damage hold a coin next to it for reference. Repeat.

    So, you are going to be taking 2 picures for EVERY piece of damage. One wide establishg shot to show where it is, and a close up detailing the damage.

    Time consuming, but worth it.

    ~~~~~~
    Finally, if anybody in the LA area needs a boom operator or Art department dude, leemie know :-)

  30. John Butler says:

    I echo the comments that says SCC is the way to go.

  31. coop9653 says:

    If anyone reads this, I can adamantly recommend NOT going to small claims court! YES, NOT. IF you win, you still lose.

    I went to small claims court over similar situation years ago. My ex-landlord was demanding money, lots of money.
    He was wrong so I took him to court. I won!

    Guess what, the courts still put a judgment in your credit report! It in essence says that there was a judgment over a debt! What is does NOT say is the judgment was in my favor!

    I have to carry the damned court papers with me if I want a loan. Then I have to argue it out, and point out my perfect credit record, and show how I was protecting that…. etc

    the typical reaction I get is. “Nobody who does not owe money goes to court over it!” ARGGG of course you do but lenders do not see it that way.

    Years later I had another company try and wrongfully get money out of me. This was my EX mortgage company.
    The threatened, tried collections everything. I politely refused, showed them my proof, and asked THEM to take it to court. It finally went away with NO credit reports!

    Think twice before going to court over a debt someone thinks you owe! it may be better to let them take you to court!

  32. u1itn0w2day says:

    Curious,what’s the time limit most states have for reporting an automobile accident ? .Any sort of statue of limitations here ?

  33. Intertrode says:

    I’ve rented from Budget twice and both times they charged my credit card for a random amount a few months later.

  34. Alessar says:

    Talk to your car insurance agent. Mine informed me I should never take a rental insurance policy because my regular policy covered rental vehicles too — with my normal coverage.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I have a car rental story with a better ending, thank goodness. My husband and I rented a car while ours was in the shop from Enterprise. Anyway, we dropped the car off at night but I kept the keys and returned them the next day in person, just to make sure everything was OK. I had to wait about 20 minutes (with two kids under 5) but finally someone came out and checked the car. They signed off on it, took the keys and I thought that was everything.

    Well, a few weeks later, they contacted us to say that we owed them over 300 dollars because the windshield was cracked. They were pretty certain that we had caused the damage, even though I had the name of the man who had checked the vehicle and a signed receipt that it was fine. They busted our butts about it for a month or so but fortunately, my husband is a lawyer and was able to get them off our backs. I’m sure that without that knowledge, things would have gone much further.

  36. samson says:

    Do not pay.
    will not go on credit report
    worked insurance subro then company ran out of good paper and got this kind of crap.
    tell them to go away or get docuemnts in mail for your own info

  37. Anonymous says:

    I spend a good 10-15 minutes putting damage on the piece of paper that you draw on for damage. The employess ussually start to put xxx all over the place just to get me to finish. I also do not take the don’t mark an x where there is a sticker. If there is damage or a smudge or even dirt I put it down. Try it then they can not make a claim against you.

  38. Just_Consumer says:

    Question: Sigh. Budget. How does one know what is marked on the check out form matches any damage claimed at return? My check out form shows a “mark” in rear left bumper area, the exact area they are claiming damage.(I dropped off outside of operating hours) I have requested a photo and am waiting. Credit Card company also helping as this was charged.