Dinged For Enterprise Car Rental Dent

Shawn writes:

About 3 weeks ago I had a job interview in California- I currently live in Philadelphia. The employer reserved a rental car for me with enterprise so I could get around town, with his credit card. I had a long flight with a lay over, and didn’t arrive at Enterprise until about 2 o clock Philadelphia time. There was a long line, and after about a half hour I was taken back and shown a Chevy Aveo. She handed me papers to sign saying there was no damage to the car, and that I would pay an additional 10$ a day for being 23 years old. I walked around the car, and didn’t see anything. I was eager to get to my hotel and go to bed, so I signed the papers and left.

I used the car to get to my job interview, to my hotel, and back to the airport. Everything was in about a 5 mile radius of each other. I returned the car on Sunday with a full tank of gas. When I returned the car, I pulled up and started to take out my bags. The gentleman asked me how the car was and checking the car over for damage. After a few minutes, they told me I had to sign some papers for the damage to the car. I read the Consumerist a lot and a siren went off in my head…

I knew I was screwed pretty much right there. I dropped my bags and went to the car and asked him to show me the damage. Below the driver’s side door handle there was a dent/ripple in the door panel. The paint of the door wasn’t scratched at all, and it was covered in dust. If it had happened when I had the car, it had to have been on the first day or two. He told me it was no big deal, that someone probably opened their car door in a parking lot and dinged my car door. I thought it was a big deal. I started flipping out. I couldn’t even see if it was damage or the design of the car, because it was so difficult to spot. I told him that if the damage was there before I had the car, which it more than likely was, I would have never noticed it when I inspected the car.

He said he would have their loss department check to see if the damage was noted previously. I knew this was a load of crap and I was just going to get a huge bill in the mail in a few weeks. He asked me to sign papers accepting the damage. I told him there was no way I was signing it. We argued for about 10 minutes, and he added to the paper that I didn’t think the damage was there when I received the car. I needed to get my flight so I signed it and left.

Sure enough, I received a bill for $495.20 today, including $50 for administrative charges. The car brand new is only $10,000. They also included a summary of the charges, and 10 pictures of the car showing the damage. The funny thing is, there is no damage visible in any of the pictures. They are incredibly low res, and probably the most ridiculous part of this story. I have included the letter they sent me and the pictures. These charges are outrageous on so many levels. Do I have any recourse besides paying? Will they attack my credit, or go after the employer’s credit card first?

It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but it does look like something made an impression on the car. If you signed papers saying there wasn’t any damage before you rented, and now you signed papers saying there was damage that occurred after you rented the car, yes, you might be in a pickle. How much depends on how you did the insurance.

Did you pay for Enterprise’s, or did you waive it and put it on the credit card? If the latter, you need to get in touch with the employer and let him know the situation and see if his credit card company will pay for it (this is at no cost to him). If you took the Enterprise insurance, you need to see if it covers the damage they say is done to the car. Your situation is more complicated, though, because of it being paid for by your potential employer… hardly the foot you want to set out on. You still need to tell them because if the insurance was on their credit card, there could be a liability issue down the round.

These are just our best ideas based one what we’ve heard, are there any readers in the audience here with more experience with these issues who can share their insights?

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