Alamo Sends Me To Collections Over Damages I Had Nothing To Do With

Just about everyone knows that you have to give your rental car a thorough inspection — and point out even the smallest dings and scratches — before pulling off the lot. But sometimes, even though you’ve done your due diligence and the car is given a clean bill of health upon its return, you can still end up being sent to collections.

That’s the ordeal one Alamo customer says he’s been facing for several months. In a letter to travel writer and consumer advocate Christopher Elliott, he explains that he returned a rental vehicle in late June and no damage was noted on the report. And yet, a few weeks later, he gets a bill from Alamo for $646.

While this does occasionally happen, the customer vehemently defended himself. He was even able to convince his credit card company that the charge was unfounded.

Muddying the waters further, he received a letter on Oct. 7 stating that he owed Alamo $0.00, only to be the recipient of a dunning notice from the collections agency for the $646 just a couple weeks later.

Elliott reached out to Alamo to get its side of the story and received the following in reply:

We have reviewed – and re-reviewed – this matter, and our conclusions remain the same:

· The damage was not on the original inspection sheet.

· The damage report was written immediately.

· The damage was significant enough to have not been “missed” when the car was rented.

Wait — so the damage was so obvious that the customer can’t be excused from having “missed” it during his pre-rental inspection but it was not obvious enough for trained Alamo staffers to overlook it when the car was returned?

Even so, Alamo has decided to give the customer the benefit of a doubt:

The customer sincerely seems to believe there was some sort of misunderstanding. As a result, we are closing this claim, and hope that you and he understand we are putting his customer-service concerns first.

No damage to rental car, but they called a collection agency anyway [Elliott.org]