Enterprise Wants $300 For Phantom Windshield Crack

Kyle writes that he rented a car from Enterprise earlier this year, paid for by his then-employer. When he returned the car to Enterprise, and the rental agent didn’t walk around the car with him to check for damage. He didn’t think much of this at the time, but maybe he should have: the company is now after him for his share of the replacement cost of a cracked windshield. What cracked windshield?

Earlier this year, I rented a car via Enterprise through a company I was working for in Alabama (Gulf Oil Spill Response). I turned the car in around 7 pm at the counter and the agent there did not come to look at the car. This didn’t trigger anything to me, since there was no damage to the car done by me. About a month and a half later, I receive an email saying that my claim showed I owed them $300+. This was funny to me since that was the first I’d heard of it. I reviewed it and they claim to have replaced the windshield and I was liable for it, offering no evidence that it was actually my fault. I replied back saying I will not pay. A few days pass and I get a reply saying that their “investigation” determined I was indeed at fault. So, since my company at the time was taking care of this I passed it on to them.

I told the lawyers and accountants that I turned it in w/o damage necessitating anything be repaired or replaced and they said they would take care of everything. Now, this letter is being prompted by my receiving a letter in the mail with another invoice as my former company has not, apparently, paid them yet (and I don’t believe they should anyway). I fully admit my memory is not perfect and that there could have been a chip from a rock, but I don’t remember one hitting and I know what a windshield that needs replacing looks like after having to do so 3 times on my own cars. The car I turned in did not have that problem. Further, when I pressed them on providing evidence, I was told they don’t take pictures of glass since cracks don’t show up (and I’m calling BS on that).

So, I guess my question is what can I say to them if they decide to report this to credit agencies to get them to drop it? I know I turned it in w/o a cracked windshield that needed to be changed, but I have no way of proving that. I will not pay this and would rather take a ding to my credit than give in to something where I know I’m in the right. They didn’t do a walk-around with me and offer no proof of damage, so how can I be obligated to pay this?

If Kyle still has the paperwork he should check to see what statements about the condition of the car both he and the rental agent signed. He should also check to see what provisions for rental car damage his car insurance and the credit card used to pay for the rental might have. (If it was paid for with a credit card at all, instead of a corporate account.)

However, one reader in the past had fabulous success under similar circumstances with sending an executive e-mail carpet bomb to Enterprise higher-ups.