Sadly, unfair damage charges can still occur when renting a car. Here is how you can protect yourself against unfair damage charges, and how to dispute them if you happen to be charged with rental car damage you haven’t inflicted.
Firstly, follow these tips to ensure that you have the necessary evidence to dispute unfair damage charges. There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself as soon as you get the keys to your rental car.
Picking up the rental car
There are several things you can do when picking up your rental car to ensure that you won’t receive charges for damage you haven’t caused. Keep reading to find out how you can stay protected against unfair claims by the car rental company. You can also take a look at this blog post which thoroughly explains the pick-up process.
Take photos of the rental car
Taking check-in photos of the condition of the car is a great way to document any damage that was on the rental car before your rental period. Before dropping the car off, Rentalmoose recommends taking check-out photos as well.
Rentalmoose insider tip: When you book a rental car with Rentalmoose, we will remind you to take check-in and check-out photos of the condition of your rental car.
Document any damage on the check-out form
Right after you receive the keys to your rental car, make sure to inspect it thoroughly both inside and out.
Any visible damage should be mentioned in the check-out form, don’t rush and ensure that the check-out form matches the actual condition of the rental car.
Do not drive away until you are fully satisfied with the condition of the car.
If you’ve booked your rental car through Rentalmoose, you will be reminded to take check-in and check-out photos. Additionally, the photos will be stored by us in case of any disputes.
Report any damage to the rental desk
If you’ve found damage anywhere on the car and it is not stated in the check-out form, inform the rental desk staff immediately. Otherwise, it could turn out hard to prove that the damage wasn’t inflicted by you.
Returning the rental car
When dropping off your rental car, make sure to take a thorough look and check for any new damage. Once again, take photos of the condition of the car both inside and out. If you’ve booked a rental car with Rentalmoose, we will remind you to do so.
Drop off the car keys once you’re done. You can be asked to fill out a check-in form of the condition of the car, and the rental car can be inspected for damage by an employee during drop-off. The drop-off process varies slightly between different companies, you can check your rental agreement for details.
Returning the car outside of the office hours
If you’ve selected to drop the car off when the rental desk is closed, it is even more important to document the condition of the car before leaving. Don’t forget to leave the car in a safe spot!
Rentalmoose insider tip: Remember that the renter is responsible for the rental car until it is inspected the next business day. When leaving the rental car, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is parked in a safe environment. You can find out more in this blog post.
Damage inflicted during the rental period
The car rental company will inspect the condition of the rental car during the drop-off, or the next business day if you’re returning the car during out-of-office hours. Any visible damage will be noted in the check-in form. As long as the damage is the same on both forms, you’re good to go!
However, if the check-in form includes more damage than the check-out one, the car rental company will automatically assume that the damage was inflicted by the renter during the rental period.
The worst part? The car rental company can then use your security deposit to cover the repair costs. What’s more, the supplier will charge an additional administrative fee on top of the repair costs. The administrative fee is mentioned in the company’s terms and conditions.
Mistakes do happen, it can be possible that the damage was inflicted either before or after the rental period. In this case, you can dispute the charges and hopefully get your money back.
How to dispute unfair damage charges
Gather the evidence
Here is where the check-in and check-out forms come in handy. Make sure you have both of the forms, as they confirm the condition of the car that you and the company both agreed on.
Don’t forget to attach the photos you took when picking up and dropping off your rental car. It’s even better if you used a phone to take the photos, as they will be tagged with the time and location.
Contact the car rental company
Once you have your evidence ready, get in touch directly with the car rental company. Some large suppliers, such as Europcar, will ask you to contact the branch where the rental took place. You can find the contact details in the contact section of the rental company’s website.
If you’ve booked your car through Rentalmoose, we can get in touch with the car rental company on your behalf. You can contact us here, please ensure to attach evidence to back up your claim.
What can you do if the car rental company decides not to refund you? Keep reading to find out.
Contact your credit card company
If the car rental company refuses to refund you for the unfair damage charges, try getting in touch with your credit card company or your bank. As long as you’ve paid by card, your bank should be able to help get your money back.
The vast majority of credit card companies offer protection for their customers. You can, for example, request a chargeback. The bank/credit card company will investigate the issue and refund you depending on the outcome.
If your bank is unable to help, you can escalate the dispute to consumer right organizations.
Contact consumer right organizations
In the event of unfair damage charges, it is unlikely that both the rental company and your bank will refuse to help you. If that does happen, it’s best to file a complaint to the consumer right organization relevant to the region where the rental took place.
European Union rentals/EU citizens
In 2019 alone, the ECC has helped out over 120 000 consumers, so it’s worth a shot.
If you’ve rented your car in the United Kingdom, get in touch with the BVRLA. Please note that the complaint must be filed within a year of the final decision of the rental company.
United States of America
If you’ve rented your car in the United States of America, notify the state attorney general of the state where the vehicle was rented. You can find the appropriate state attorney general using this website.
If your car rental took place outside of the regions listed above, it’s best to check the local laws regarding consumer rights. You may also contact a lawyer to receive help and escalate the dispute to court. Keep in mind that you will have to cover the legal fees.
Don’t forget to book your next rental car through Rentalmoose. Our platform offers thousands of rental cars from trusted suppliers all across the world. Browse from over 15 000 different locations and find your ideal car today.
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