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.


Edit Your Comment

  1. AngryK9 says:

    Good move. Though I personally would have raised a bit of a snit if they tried to give me a car in that condition.

    • tundey says:

      I agree. You can save yourself the headache of trying saving evidence by just making sure you get a car in good condition.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Actually I’d rather have a car with some very obvious wear and tear. That way my little scuffs will go unnoticed.

      • hoi-polloi says:

        I agree that this car sounded like it was in particularly rough shape. That said, it can be hard to find a rental without any nicks in the paint or other minor cosmetic damage. I document all of that before leaving the lot. I’ve never needed it, but it’s a good habit to get in to.

        There’s also the issue of dealing with what a company has on-hand at the moment. Once while I was waiting what felt like an extremely long time for my rental, the company offered me a passenger van. For my family of three. Thankfully, it wasn’t much longer before a standard sedan came back.

    • That guy. says:

      Perhaps you should also get a discount.

      You are on a special trip, something meant to be memorable. Taking photos, feeling good, etc.

      Do you want a beat up car in the background of your photos? Do you want to drive around with the inherent embarassment of driving a beat up looking car? Isn’t part of the reason of renting a particular car because you enjoy driving around in a nice new car?

      It’s like getting a tux for the wedding and it having a stain.

      • hoi-polloi says:

        Just speaking for myself, I hold no attachment to a rental car. I don’t care what kind of car it is, what color it is, or if it’s beat up. Is it relatively clean inside, and is it reliable? I’m not going to be embarrassed by it, as it’s not my car and I generally don’t know a soul when I’m out of town. A bad rental car is a source of amusement rather than a black mark on my record. I respect that these things are more meaningful to other people, but it’s not universal.

      • who? says:

        Personally, I don’t take pictures of my rental cars. I just drive them from place to place. In Hawaii, in particular, I’d rather have an old, beat up looking rental car. If I’m parked on some remote beach, I want the guy who’s thinking about breaking into my car to think I’m local.

      • dangermike says:

        Actually, now that you mention it, yes. Next time I’m on vacation, I want a beater rental, and I want it visible in every picture. Like it’s hiding in the background trying not to be noticed but intentially bombing every single picture I take. That would be an absolutely epic album. Thanks for the idea.

        • That guy. says:

          You need to park it so that the headlights are facing the picture every time, parked a short distance away…like it’s looking at the camera from a distance…stalking you.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      I’ve been to Maui several times and the cars for rent have been on the island for decades. Shipping a car to Hawaii is not cheap and it’s more cost effective to just fix the old clunkers. The dings, dents, wear and tear just cumulatively add up over the years. To me, it was less stress because I didn’t have to worry about getting the first scratch on one. I never thought they’d call up weeks later and say they noticed some damage.

      • PBallRaven says:

        Musta been a 1970 Challenger he rented then. The new ones have only been out a couple of years.

        Bet he tried to jump over a washed out bridge or something. /s

    • Lincoln says:

      I would also have raised a bit of a snit.

      If I see more than 3 or so issues (dings, dents, scratches) when I do a pre-rental walk around with Hertz I won’t leave the lot with that car. If I can see that much damage /before/ I leave the lot (usually at night or in a garage with awful lighting) what am I not seeing?

      Last year I think out of 14 or 15 rentals about 5 of those wound up with me not leaving the lot with the car I had originally been given — though in 2012 the cars have been in much better condition thus far.

      One case I was in a hurry I just noted all of the damage on the form and when I got back the guy looked over the car and tried getting me to sign an “incident report”. I pulled out my copy of the pre-rental inspection and pointed that in addition to the dents he was complaining about there were several others he had missed. Issue was dropped.

    • hexx says:

      I have to agree. I would have complained if they tried to give me a beat up car. And if I were on a honeymoon, forget it, I wouldn’t rent a crappy car…

  2. George4478 says:

    I’m on my way to Yellowstone this week and we’ll have a rental car for 10 days. You better believe I’ll photograph the car. I’ve never had an issue but there are too many stories about people who do, so the 10 minutes spent documenting are well-spent.

  3. nopirates says:

    budget are total a-holes about trying to get you to pay for pre-existing damage, but the WORST by a huge margin is enterprise. they seem to be trained liars when it comes to damage that is already on the car.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE document the damages and make sure someone representing the company signs off on it before you leave with the car

    • Altman says:

      Hmm. Have used Enterprise at least a dozen times all over the country and have been very happy with their service, they never tried to screw us over. Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience with one specific office?

      • nugatory says:

        I travel for a living and Enterprise is our corporate standard for renting a car. I’ve never had an issue, but I do always make them record any scuff marks, even when they say “don’t worry its small”.

        • kc2idf says:

          I have never not had an issue with Enterprise.

        • frank64 says:

          They don’t try to screw you when you are a corporate client, and sometimes if you are a frequent renter.

          I had a bad experience with Enterprise when they tried to bill me extra days because I dropped off after closing when they had told me they wouldn’t. I had to do a chargeback after they wouldn’t return my calls.

          • Kate says:

            I have had multiple good experiences with enterprise and a couple of times they comped me the car rental for one reason or another. Never ever had a bad experience and I always use them.

        • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

          Better yet – you take the clipboard from them and mark with your own x’s and notes

    • The Colonel says:

      I tried to rent with enterprise once. It went something like this.

      So, I went to the mom and pop rental next door, and it went really well.

  4. TheOnlyBob says:

    I would never have taken a car that looked like that.

  5. microcars says:

    I’ve always done this and always get odd looks if I am with someone. “Why bother?” they say. “Isn’t it documented on the form?”

    Also- no need to scan or photocopy things these days, practice taking pics of documents with your phone, my iPhone has a particularly good camera and with enough light and a steady hand I have no problem making “spy” photos of documents, chapters from textbooks etc, that can later be printed out with remarkable clarity.

    • gedster314 says:

      Some phones are better then others. When I take pictures of docs/serial number. I use HDR Camera +. It takes multiple pictures at different exposures and averages them. It seems to help me. It is a paid android app but I got it as an Amazon freebie. I’m sure there a free apps to help.

      I always do a video for rental cars and homes/apartments. Never had an issue with car rentals but did have a few landlords try to screw me on deposits. Usually showing the video usually turns the disagreement around, one time it took a small claims filing.

  6. zandar says:

    Wow, you suppose the reps are routinely instructed to commit fraud?

    This is how companies go out of business.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      This is how companies routinely make their ever increasing profit expectations since
      it’s not possible to keep making record profits quarter after quarter the legal way.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      I think this is especially common in tourist areas where a great majority of their customers are from very far away. Makes the scam that much easier when the scammee can’t just show up and chew you out.

    • Reader101 says:

      In the case of Budget, they automatically send a damage form to the last person who rented the car. The CSR told me (when this happened to me in November) that the coputer automatically generates the letter to the last renter.

      • frank64 says:

        Then they automatically piss off customers. That policy is nearly as bad as actively lying. Their default is to screw the customer.

        It really proves that consumers are sheep if a company can do that as policy and still survive.

      • Difdi says:

        How would that actually play out? Seven renters over the course of the month followed by a monthly check for damage to the cars? So if renters #2 and #5 damaged the car, only renter #7 would get the damage bill? Crazy.

  7. Blueskylaw says:

    Things like this give me nightmares. What if they had not taken photos? Would Budget have threatened to sue them if they or their insurance company didn’t pay up? What about all of the stress, aggravation and money the couple would have to spend to fight OUTRIGHT FRAUD like this by Budget.

    Always take pictures and video of every car you rent and make sure they know you took it to head off any potential fraud they may try to put over on you.

    • DrPizza says:

      Come to think of it, it was silly to tell them on the phone that they had pictures. A simple “I didn’t do that damage, and documented it on the form at the time I rented the vehicle” would have sufficed. If they wanted to sue for the damages in small claims, then I think (correct me if I’m wrong), you can counter-sue to cover your expenses. Counter-sue for that trip back to Hawaii to defend yourself. :D

      • econobiker says:

        I have also written on the condition form “pictures taken” above my signature.

    • Jawaka says:

      Wouldn’t the insurance that Dan claims to have paid for covered any damage?

  8. donjumpsuit says:

    I am pretty sure the moral of the story is, “Do you have pictures?”, Yes I have pictures.

  9. apasserby says:

    Late last year I had a similar problem with a rental outlet in Orange County, CA. Original car was a Corolla. As I walked around the car photographing it from every angle I noticed it was covered with scratches. This I noted with the rental agent. Then I opened the trunk to find the spare tire missing. Since they didn’t have another spare I refused the car. Ended up taking a Nissan instead. Weeks later got an invoice for damage to the Corolla including the cost of a new spare tire. I responded with a letter refusing to take responsibility for damage to a vehicle I never accepted nor signed for. They responded with a threat to ruin my credit score. A friend who is an attorney sent a letter on my behalf demanding a copy of the rental contract with my signature for the Corolla. Never heard back.

    • xspook says:

      I’d follow up and demand they send a letter stating that you never did rent the Corolla.

      Somewhat of a similar issue happened with me…I got a notice that I had a bounced check at a check cashing facility. I had never used that facility – ever. They verbally told me to disregard the written notice; that wasn’t good enough. Since they sent me a written notice of the so-called bounced check, I demanded a written notice that they were in error.

  10. Lethe says:

    I just wonder if they’ll keep renting out the Challenger in this condition to more people, hoping to eventually get one who won’t note the damage so that they can then go after that person.

    • Starrion says:

      Almost certainly. It’s a game of musical chairs. Whoever is the one without the documentation is the one left standing.

    • Craige says:

      But why would they not have gone after the person/people who ACTUALLY caused the damage, rather than Joe Shmoe 12 months later?

      • Liam Kinkaid says:

        Why not go after every customer who rents it? If you can get 12 people to pay for one set of damages, you’ve come out ahead.

      • El_Fez says:

        Perhaps they did? Whos to say they didn’t double-dip on the damages?

        • Craige says:

          Fair point. It is sad that it’s naive to think people(/companies) will act moral and decent.

          But I guess to some, it’s all about profit and the bottom line.

  11. Scooter McGee says:

    I started taking video of rental cars and narrating anything I see during the walkaround a couple years ago. Ever since an enterprise rep started giving me crap for a dent that was already there. He got really quiet when I pulled out my copy of the pre-rental damage report.

  12. rstark says:

    I wouldn’t have cared if it was a high end Mercedes, I would never take a car with as much pre-existing damage. Note that the photos were not included with this article. exaggerate much?

    • Craige says:

      Normally I would assume so, but considering Budget asked for details on the “car wreck” he was involved in, we are probably safe to assume the damage was pretty clear and extensive.

  13. Reader101 says:

    I had this happen with Budget. I had pictures, but when I called the CSR said that their computer system automatically sends out the damage form to the last renters. She just asked if the car was damaged before I rented it and that was it.

    Of course, I got the form on Friday after they were closed for the week, so I fumed about it for a weekend before I could call when the department opened on Monday.

  14. TaraMisu says:

    Great idea and I love the accompanying photo.

  15. Power Imbalance says:

    I’ve had problems with Budget doing shady things like this as well. Stay away!

  16. sirwired says:

    Wait a minute… if he shelled out money for the insurance already (from the beginning of the letter), why did they call him at all? If you’ve bought the insurance, it doesn’t matter if the car is a smoking wreck; it’s not your problem.

    • humphrmi says:

      Rental Car Agent: Would you like insurance?
      Jerry: Yeah, you better give me the insurance. Because I’m gonna beat the hell out of this car.

    • kobresia says:

      Damage waivers are a really good idea if you want to make a few temporary performance mods to the car and take it to the track.

      • who? says:

        My company has us get the damage waiver. This is good because we end up using the cars for all kinds of crazy stuff. One of my friends took a rental SUV out on a military exercise where he was supposed to be a Taliban warlord. He ended up driving it at 60 MPH over open desert at one point. Yeah, the car had some damage…but he said it was awesome fun.

    • MaytagRepairman says:

      I’ve seen that happen to my mother with Alamo at LAX. She bought their insurance. When she turned in the car they noticed damage and demanded to know about her insurance for a claim. She reminded them that she bought their insurance to cover damage to the car and they STFU.

      Since then I often buy just enough of the car rental insurance to cover any damages. The $5-$10 extra per a day when you are on a rare vacation is worth the convenience to me over the hassle of going through phone calls and keeping pictures. I don’t buy any of their other insurance though.

  17. ovalseven says:

    This is good advice, but what stops them from claiming you took the pictures after you damaged the vehicle?

    • microcars says:

      The pics are taken when the car is sitting in the lot in its parking spot waiting to be picked up.
      Customers can’t just put them there.
      Drop off of the vehicle is a separate place. I always document both locations.
      also- cameras tend to time/date/geo-tag things these days in the metadata of the image.

      That being said, I’ve had a call from Hertz re: damage and I just said the vehicle had that damage when I got it, and I had photo documentation to show it if they wanted.
      They never asked for it and case closed.
      I think they are just looking for people that don’t pay attention who will either pony up the money or get the insurance to do it. Years ago I rented trucks from someone who never, ever fixed the damages, unless it interfered with the vehicle running. I later heard from some of the companies I worked with that they routinely got charged for damages that were never incurred because sometimes they would rent a truck and then never pick it up, yet they got charged for the rental AND damage!
      (yes, things were busy, sometimes you would reserve several trucks “just in case”, then only take the ones you needed on some jobs)
      I think the rental places take advantage of this, especially with corporate accounts. If the bill goes to corporate, they may just pay without even questioning the charges.

      • apasserby says:

        The date/time on cameras can be easily changed before taking photos. Can also be modified afterwards as well. I’ve done some investigating work on suspicious photos and found that many were modified after the fact.

        • Craige says:

          Yes, but most people don’t know how to do that, which leads to my next point….

          IANAL, but I would expect that would provide plausible evidence that the damage was there when you got the vehicle, and it would make it more difficult for the rental company to prove that you caused the damage.

        • econobiker says:

          Just the fact that you took pictures of the rental car is enough to make these jokers back off and bill some other poor soul.

    • El_Fez says:

      Time/Date stamp on the photos. Easy peasy.

      • Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

        I can set the date in my camera to anything I like. Not proof enough.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Get the employee in your walk around photos.

    • weave says:

      Upload it to a service like Flickr, which also date stamps the time of upload. Can’t fake that.

  18. reddy says:

    National Rental Car did this to me back in 1989 when I rented a car up in Alaska. They billed me for $300 in damages that I didn’t do. Unfortunately this was back before cell phones or even the walkaround with the reps. Since I lived 1500 miles away from the rental site and it was their word against mine, I just paid it. I’ve never rented from National since.

    • xspook says:

      That’s probably the scam…you live a million miles away and won’t want to bother dealing with it. Coincidentally, the only time a rental agency has tried to scam me for damage was in Hawaii.

  19. CubeRat says:

    Years ago I was shopping with a friend and her car was stolen from the mall. It was a brand new car, and when the police asked for the license, she couldn’t remember. Since then, when I have a rental, I always take pictures of the car and license in case it’s stolen.

    A few weeks ago, I had to travel on business. My boss was one of the people who rented a car, our group rented three. We left the hotel to drive to the office and the car was gone, so we called the police and I gave them the photos of the car. The police officer commented that he liked it when people had pictures of the car and forwarded them (to himself??) for the report. It turns out, the car was towed by the rental agency – one of the other cars in our group had broken down and they brought out a replacement and towed the wrong car.

  20. keith4298 says:

    We once rented a truck to do an apartment move and I photographed the entire truck for this reason (or I thought I did). It was a 14 ft high truck and I didn’t think to get on a ladder to photograph the TOP.

    Well, they claimed there was damage to the top — luckily, after a few months of complaining back and forth, they found evidence that another customer had been charged for that SAME damage a couple years prior.


  21. shamowfski says:

    We’ve been burned once and now always photograph and video record when renting. Take a little longer, but at least we’ll have evidence if they try and do it again.

  22. Opdelt says:

    I rented a Jeep while visiting St. Maarten. The shiny jeeps were all out front, but he went out back and got me a not-so-shiny jeep. The best part was the band-aid (yes, a band-aid) covering the service engine soon light. I pulled out my camera right in front of him and started snapping tons of photos. This jeep was clearly rode hard and put away wet on numerous occasions. The attendant didn’t play any games and the jeep actually ran just fine for the 8 hours we had it. Still though, you want to cover your ass.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Did you drive up the mountain with the radio tower and all the aloe plants to save time instead of driving all around the mountain to get to the other side?

  23. Jared The Geek says:

    I use a lot of rental cars and they tried to pull this on me once. I always take pictures but they always say that its not necessary but I do anyway. I mark everything even if they claim its too small to note.

    Its easy to pull out the phone and snap pics on the walk around.

  24. verymegan says:

    Budget did the same thing to me when I rented a truck, only I didn’t have a camera (it was twelve years ago) and the damage wasn’t visible. The headlight was loose and in hindsight had obviously been pushed back into the front of the truck. It vibrated out while I was driving the truck and was hanging out when we returned it. I had to fill out an incident report and if I hadn’t gotten the extra insurance, they would have charged me, even though nothing happened. So I guess see if the headlights pull out too. I will never rent from Budget again due to this fraud attempt.

  25. AEN says:

    It’s particularly annoying that rental companies make you document any damage to the rental vehicle BEFORE you leave the lot but they have their leisure to document damage AFTER you’ve returned it.

  26. Bagumpity says:

    I got screwed for being too trusting (i.e. “gullable”). I noticed the chip on the windshield before leaving the lot and then drove the car up to the kiosk and asked for a rep to come look at it & sign something saying it was already there when I got it.

    The rep assured me that they don’t charge the customer for small chips like that, so no documentation was needed. Like a moron, I believed her. Bad move. I got charged for a whole windshield replacement, and there was not a damn thing I could do about it.

    Lesson learned: Don’t believe a word a CSR tells you. It’s either in writing or it never happened. Now I photograph and document even the tiniest scratches and make a rep sign off ON EACH ITEM. Because I am not going to be accused of adding things to the list later.

    • AEN says:

      Avis in London tried to do the same to me. As soon as I got out of the vehicle, the rep told me that I had to pay for a new windshield due to a chip. I pointed out to him that I documented the chip before I took the rental. After checking my original paperwork, he was visibly annoyed that he couldn’t stick me with the windshield (and I had Avis’ insurance but it didn’t cover glass). He then proceeded to go over the vehicle with a fine tooth comb looking for other things.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Enterprise tried to ding me for a chipped windscreen. It was raining when I picked up the car and hard to see.

  27. who? says:

    I’ve had two accident problems with rental cars over the years. The first was with Alamo. We rented a car in Hawaii. The car was in rough shape, as rentals go, probably about ready for the rental car boneyard. Unfortunately, we got in an accident. Completely the other guy’s fault. We got hit by an uninsured, unlicensed drunk driver, who left the scene of the accident, and hid his car in the jungle down the road. He ended up going to jail. The accident was fairly minor, but the front bumper got pulled off. The insurance estimate said the car had $2200 worth of damage, which was probably accurate, but Alamo decided to total the car, and charged my insurance $7800 for the full blue book value of the car. Apparently something in the contract you sign says they can do this. My insurance, fortunately, paid up and didn’t raise my rates, and sent me a nice letter saying that I was 0% at fault. But I have never rented with Alamo since, and I tell the story every time I get a chance.

    The second time, we rented a car from Dollar. It had scratches on practically every vertical surface, so when I filled out the form documenting the preexisting damage, I just scribbled all over the form. Later that day, another car and I backed into each other in a parking lot, putting another big scrape on the bumper. I got some rubbing compound and did the best I could with it, and didn’t say anything when I turned it in. Dollar never said a word…

  28. DrLumen says:

    I had enterprise try this with me some years back. The car wasn’t really bad just door dings, bumper scrapes, etc… Luckily I documented it on the damage form before I left the lot. A few days later they called telling me they found damage and i would be responsible. I pointed them to the damage form and he apologized and I never heard anything else. It does seem like they will try to charge for damages regardless of the situation.

    If they are able to get people to pay or charge the rental insurance for damages why this would not be considered fraud?

  29. remusrm says:

    I got scammed too with an enterprise fiat 500 that had a windshield ding. It was under the wiper and could not be seen, or at least if I did it i would of noticed. I had to pay 50 bucks, but their damage claim department send me 21 bucks back. They were nice, but I wish I documented that or seen it.

  30. MrEvil says:

    What if they’re doing this on purpose to scare people into buying the damage waiver?

    [/conspiracy Keanu]

  31. fsnuffer says:

    While in Key West for a company function, one of my co-workers wiped out on a scooter and damaged the windscreen. The rental company said it was going to cost them $300 to replace it. I told them that once the shipped the old windscreen to me I would pay them in full for the new one. I knew all they were going to do was take my $300 and not replace the windscreen. After a couple minutes of going back and forth we settled on $45 to repair the scratch.

  32. rlmiller007 says:

    This applies to all, apartments, travel trailers…everything. I have sued almost every landlord I have for my deposit and have won each case due to pictures.

  33. energynotsaved says:

    About ten years ago, I took my then hubby’s fancy car in for fancy car service. They gave me a loaner and I took off. Later that day, I came out from Costco and noticed that the rear view mirror was held on with bondo and, as I looked closer, I saw that the car had lots of fill. I figured they just fixed the cars annually, and did the fill and cover between big repairs.

    A few days later I returned the car. Didn’t think anything about it until I got a threatening call from the dealership. They accused me of trashing the car (they noticed the rear view mirror.) I explained to the manager my thought process. I knew I was screwed if they didn’t believe me. Well, he went out, looked at the car and then saw all the other repair. It was clear that there had been an accident and it was sometime in the past. Someone did fill and paint. He called back and let me know I was in the clear. Relief.

    So, regardless of where you get the car, go over it and note ALL damage. Thankfully, cell phone photos and videos while still in the rental car parking lot help back up you.

  34. hexx says:

    First, a comment… I am surprised that Budget would rent a car that is as beat up as Dan describes. I have rented many cars over the years (through different rental companies) and I have never gotten one that is in seriously rough shape (at least visually). Second, a question… Why didn’t Dan just complain and get a better car? I wouldn’t drive my new wife around in some beat up econobox.

    • econobiker says:

      Read it again- his specific rental econobox was being cleaned, he was offered and accepted the beat-up Challenger

  35. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    At many airport locations there is no walk around. When I worked for Hertz at a busy airport most of the damages were caused by our young car jockeys and the ancient pull through car wash.

  36. Geekybiker says:

    More than likely they’ve collected on the “damage” many times already. It seems rental places love this scam. Uhaul tends to be horrible about it. If you ever have rented an ATV they do the same thing.

  37. mxjohnson says:

    Yeah, there aren’t always walkarounds and forms. On Friday I picked a car up in Lincoln NE from Enterprise, no walkaround or damage form. Of course I took pictures, lots of pictures. I always do, especially after returning a car in Croatia and being asked about a dent. I wasn’t worried so much about having to pay for it as I was the possibility of missing our flight home.

    I hear horror stories about Hawaii rental cars, but I’ve never had a problem. The people working at Dollar in the Lihue airport on Kauai are super nice. We rented an economy car, and the guy at the desk upgraded us to a compact just because they had lots of cars on hand. Then the guy in the lot upgraded us to a midsize. But still, I took lots of photos.

  38. mik3y says:

    And this is exactly why I created an app, RentalGuard, for that!

  39. icerabbit says:

    The only trouble in recent years is that there no longer is an existing damage form and no clerk to confirm any issues you would like to see documented.

    Past Friday, I was once again handed the keys to a rental car, in this case well past midnight, and you walk out to a dimly lit parking lot in the rain, no way to document or review anything. No gate. No exit attendant. No spike strips.

    There wasn’t even an attendant upon return before lunch time which now also means you should document the car is ok when you drop it off. Because somebody may run into you in the parking lot, after you drop it off.

    I did refuse one car years ago that had a huge (two foot) dent without documentation. Had to walk a long way back from the dim parking tower, get back in line, … Had it been on the other side of the car, outside in a downpoor, onne might skip the walkaround and get stung with a big repair bill. Anyway, given that the damage was fresh and there was an empty spot on the side of the damage, I suspect the neighboring vehicle ran into my rental upon leaving its spot.

  40. Rashomon says:

    Good job, however not so good a job purchasing insurance. If you have regular car insurance or a major credit card you are covered when you rent a car.

  41. vizsladog says:

    Don’t take a car that is wet either. Enterprise screwed us by charging us $400.00 for a “ding” in the rear quarter that had to have been there when the car was picked up. It was a local rental while our car was in the shop; the car was wet when we picked it up having just been washed.

    The car went from the agency to our garage, and the next day from our garage at home to the garage at work, and after work back to the agency. I think we put 12 miles on the car, and there was no physical way for the damage to be done while we had the car. Their word against ours, we lost. We’ll never rent from them again as a result, but my $400.00 is more important to me than we are to Enterprise.

  42. Aliciaz777 says:

    Isn’t there some type of organization or something (like the Public Utilities Commission people can go to with complaints about their utility companies) that can investigate this? I’d bet anything that Budget (and other rental car companies) have tried to pull this on other customers and have probably been successful some of those times. This is fraud and needs to be stopped.

  43. hahatanka says:

    I had the outside mirror broken by vandals. Didn’t want to rent the car another day so I told them of the broken glass. They sent me a bill for $100. Of course they used a dealer not a glass company. I called a national glass company and they quoted me $25. I call p the rental and they claimed Dodge Neons have “special” mirrors. I called the glass company back and the nice lady said that was BS and even faxed an estimate. Rental agency still refused to lower the bill. Last time I rented from them. They were owned by Wards, to I told Wards I’m cancelling my credit card.

  44. hahatanka says:

    Enterprise is the worst. If you call to complain, you get the local manger, the guy I wanted to complain about. My son’s school rented 2 vans for a game 200 miles away. On the way home the head coach decided to leave early without telling anyone. My son’s bag was in the van and the coach had it with him. Then he parked in a no parking zone. Got the van towed. Got the van back and turned it into Enterprise.
    They didn’t even bother to check the interior, as my son’s bag was still in the van. The lady that rented the van called Enterprise after discovering the bag. Enterprise called us, said the bag had been found and she would bring it in. She decided just to wait until she brought the bag back.We would have drove to her house for the bag.
    She brought the van back to Enterprise. They again didn’t check the interior and shipped it off to a dealer as it had too many miles. But they weren’t sure which dealer got the van.
    Son never got his bag back. Mostly just lost clothes and not expensive school books.

  45. bugpwn says:

    Insurance companies love reasons not to pay claims, so if you want to do justice, report your suspicions and all the information you can to them. If a rental company really is just going down the list of people they *know* have insurance, they’ll probably eventually file a claim with that same insurance company.

    Even if the rental company desperately tries to avoid contact from you, the insurance company will piece it together. They’ll know that any accusations for that damage against people who rented after you are fraudulent. With your help, they can prove it, and hopefully sue them into oblivion.

  46. jaybee says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same

  47. mariospants says:

    Not sure how well digital photos stand up in an actual a court of law, but it never hurts to whip out the old cell phone and take some snaps… maybe there’s a business here: a web site that will notarize the date on on any photos you take when you upload them to it.