This Is Why You Should Photograph Your Rental Car

Dan and his wife took a vacation in Hawaii, and rented a car for their use while visiting. Only the car that they rented was in pretty rough shape on the outside. They took it, but carefully documented all of the pre-existing damage. This was handy, since Budget proceeded to try to make Dan and Mrs. Dan accountable for the damage that they had done to the car during their supposed accident. When Dan mentioned having extensive photos and even a video of the car’s condition when he picked it up, Budget coincidentally turned up his original paperwork documenting the damage right away. Whew!

In mid-April, my Bride and I vacationed on Oahu and had a pretty good time. We rented an econobox from Budget as they had the best price and I’ve had good results from them in the past.

After shelling out $400+ dollars for car/insurance/fees/ect, we went out to find our car only to discover that it was still being prep’d after another customer had checked it in. After about 10 minutes the gentleman at the stand asked if we’d like to upgrade to a Challenger for free instead of waiting. Sure!

The car was trashed. Dents, dings, scrapes and the front fairing was hanging loose. I photographed everything and noted it on the forms being very specific. The attendant signed off on everything, I got my keys and we spent a week on the lovely island.

When we turned the car in, the receiving attendant gave the car very careful scrutiny and took our damage form copy when we rented it, signed off on the car and we flew home. No worries.

About two weeks later I received a letter from Budget asking for details on the car wreck I’d been involved in. I called their investigation department and asked for details as I’d not been involved in any accidents and wanted to compare their pictures to mine. The person on the phone asked, “You have pictures?” Yes, and one video. She asked me to wait, then “found” my existing damage claim and closed the investigation. It’s supposed to be settled, but we’ll see. I’m hanging on to everything.

The moral is: photograph your evidence and maybe photocopy/scan and save all your paperwork. I don’t have my original damage notation as you never really know what’s going to pop out of the woodwork to try and bite you.