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I recently rented from Alamo at the FLL airport. I allowed the pushy agent to "upgrade" me to a premium Car on the condition that a certain car I was thinking of buying was available. The lot is in a parking garage behind the counter so he leaves for a while. When he comes back he then yells at a car porter and he says they will have one. So I complete the standard paper work declining gas/damage and he gives me my receipt. So when I finally walk with my Family with cars seats and bags, of course the car I want is not there. I tell the car porter I want to go back and get my original reservation rate and car class. He then tells me I can have any car there. So I take a Mini-van (got at a stolen price) and load up quickly as my 2 year old son need his "car" nap ASAP. The car porter quickly throws my bags in the back and runs away. I am thinking to myself where is the car inspection that I normally always do. So I drive the car to the gate attendant, she takes a copy of my receipt scans a bar code on the windshield. I said that is it? she nods. I leave.


Now I would normally would have been more pushy about the pre-rental inspection, but since I have the extra AMEX car protection plus every airport inspection was just a quick sanity check of major dings I just go on and enjoy my trip.

A week later I show up and the car checker notices a 2 inch "scratch" at the bottom of the rear bumper. Now they are worse dings on the car as it has over 22k miles and a New Jersey plate. So he writes up a ticket and I go to CS for discussion. I told them I was not responsible for it, plus they never got the opportunity to do a vehicle inspection. They said it was my responsibility? I was like WTF? do it on a napkin? I never got the standard paperwork. With two crying kids and A flight to catch, I just grabbed my receipt and left. Pre-rental or post rental, I never signed any paper indicating damages or the absence of damage to the rental car.


Now a week later Alamo is sending me a later for my CC and car insurance information.

What are my best options to resolve this.
(1) Ignore? They probably have my DL #. What can they do to my credit?
(2) Write a certified letter with the above info, tell them to pound sand and release me of the responsibilities.
(3) Call in and talk to them about the issue.
(4) Call AMEX and get them to deal with them.
(5) Sue them in small claims court for lying/pain/suffering/emotional distress.


I am thinking either (1) or (4).
Be gentle to a long time lurker. But funny comments are welcomed.

Thanks
homerj31


Update1 (5/26/12): Just got a Bill from Alamo. They sent '5' pictures of random nick and scrapes around the car and NONE of the damaged area they initially claimed came from me. I already told Alamo that AMEX is my primary insurer and now I am trying to see if they are talking to each other yet.
Damages: 274.10
Fees: 50
Loss of Use: 23.36
Diminishment value: wavied
For a total of : 347.46

I had a feeling something like this would happen....

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Update: Just got a Bill from Alamo. They sent '5' pictures of random nick and scrapes around the car and NONE of the dam... (more)

homerj31 (May. 26, 2012 @ 3:08p) |

Alamo near a airport in Maui wanted us to pay $1,000 for a small dimple in one of the doors, probably caused by a grocer... (more)

monohydr4te (May. 26, 2012 @ 6:13p) |

aleck (Jun. 05, 2012 @ 3:02p) |

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homerj31 said:    ... (5) Sue them in small claims court for lying/pain/suffering/emotional distress ...

you had a scratch on your car bumper that was either done when you had the car (could have happened when you were parked) or that you didn't notice when you rented because it was scratched before

deal with it and get over it (the clock is ticking on your life) --- this is not worthy of a lot of time and drama

Hi
Let AMEX deal with it....they are superb. Call AMEX and also write to Alamo and tell them to contact AMEX directly.

cranston3 said:   Hi
Let AMEX deal with it....they are superb. Call AMEX and also write to Alamo and tell them to contact AMEX directly.


I use the AMEX premium protection if I am renting for more than a day or two --- $25 flat rate per rental (must enroll card in advance)
OP might have something else

Don't ignore -- they'll send you a bill for damages and then throw it in collections

Unfortunately you knew you should've done a proper pre & post-inspection of the car so you messed up

Let AMEX deal with it and call it a day

How much money are we talking here? $20?

I have AMEX protection. I got the lower tied product for 19.99 per rental. I figure this should cover it.

I never signed off on any pre or post rental damage for the car. I was never given the chance for the pre-rental check.

I don't know the charge amount yet. They are just seeking my CC and car insurance Information.

Part of me wants to fight this "scam', the part of me wants to move on to more important things in life.

homerj31 said:   I have AMEX protection. I got the lower tied product for 19.99 per rental. I figure this should cover it.

I never signed off on any pre or post rental damage for the car. I was never given the chance for the pre-rental check.

I don't know the charge amount yet. They are just seeking my CC and car insurance Information.

Part of me wants to fight this "scam', the part of me wants to move on to more important things in life.



Pretend for a moment that you are someone very important. Then ask yourself how someone that is very important would deal with this.

OP, stop blaming a 2 year old child.

You're an adult. Start acting like one.

Always, always, always do an inspection YOURSELF because inspections aren't being done at airports anymore (in my experience)... Walk around perimeter and take pics of anything they might ding you for, including windshield and anything obvious in the interior... If it's major (like a 2 inch scratch) bring it to their attention before you drive away.
I take my first pic of the flight info board for a date and time reference and to show my metadata is accurate. I usually take a pic of front bumper (because hard to tell bugs from dings) and fuel gauge (because sometimes their F is 150 miles from topped off).

I'd call the AMEX premium protection number (1-800-338-1670). Please, please update the thread on how AMEX handles this.

If I was going to take a car, I wouldn't even accept a car with any existing damage.

I only rent from National, but they don't seem to care when I check out/check in with bumper scratches only, but they have barely visually inspected the car on return.

Remember -- they will associate any issues with you unless you do the review. Your job is to look out for your best interests. I recently rented in Chicago and forced the guy to walk around the car with me and mark any problem that I saw (even issues he said were too insignificant to matter). When I returned, I made them recheck because I have read cases where they will bill after-the-fact.

In your case, you may want to ask them to send you a copy of the receipt from the rental right before yours to see if they are billing everyone for the same scratch. Although, if AMEX will cover, don't worry.

(Sidebar, my best experience was at the San Fran airport where I knew the scratch happened while I had the car -- the person checking me in said that she would not mark me up as she saw that I did not have the extra insurance. I had been ready to let my goldcard deal with it. Perhaps it helped that I give the car rental folks my extra closed liquids that I cannot take onto the plane.)

I normally do check and mark everything I see on the rental agreement. I got no such papers from Alamo. You check in first, file out the paper work and then go out a select a car. What am I supposed to do in this case. The clowns when returning the car don't care. They will just laugh at my home made inspection sheet and pictures. That is why I feel this is a scam, they found the first "scratch" stopped inspection and told me go to CS. That is why I want to fight them.

FYI, It is hard to see existing damages while in the parking Garage, plus the minivan was Black. Also didn't help that I spent the previous hour with the airlines about some missing bags.


It looks like I am going to get AMEX involved before contacting Alamo. I'll do when I get home from work. Also gives time for other responses.
I'll give updates as progress is made.

Thanks for listening, forum ranting lets off steam. Plus a good warnings for others.

Major airports rental locations never do an inspection on checkout

Just let AMEX take care of it that's why you paid the $20

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Major airports rental locations never do an inspection on checkout

Just let AMEX take care of it that's why you paid the $20


SIS, on an individual basis, that would be the correct approach. But, if AMEX begins to get hit by too many rental company claims arising from such "failed to inspect before leaving the parking lot" situations, they might jack up the rates or alter their policies - usually to the detriment of the customers.

So .... what? OP should not take advantage of a benefit because at some point in the hazy future AMEX might alter it? Crazy talk!

OP, it is your responsibility to do a pre-renal inspection. All that talk about never getting a chance, napping kids, bad service, etc. is just whining. Fortunately, you had the foresight of getting AMEX premium protection. That's all Alamo needs to know. I am surprised they are asking for CC number, they should already have it and billed you. Don't give them you actual car insurance info.

Let it be a learning lesson for you and all readers to do the pre-rental inspection.

Whenever you rent a car, unless you are getting the loss damage waiver, you should always take 2 minutes to look over the car. Most car rental companies are not picky but a minor ding. A 2" scratch should be easily identifiable though. If you're coming in at night, bring a flashlight (heck, a small flashlight is always a good idea). You should always insist on the proper paperwork. Even when I use Hertz and can just pick up my car and drive off the lot, they always have a space for me to note any damage and report it to the gate attendant.

The advantage of LDW over AMEX protection or other insurance is that with an LDW you just drop your car off and they take care of the damage. With AMEX/etc... you then need to file paperwork, etc... I've had to do this twice (once with Visa Insurance and once through a travel insurance company) and both times the paperwork has been annoying but straightforward. There's really no excuse to avoid the inspection. Put your son in the car, do a quick walkaround, and if you see any damage, make the gate attendant take a note of it and, if need be, call someone else out to inspect.

FYI When i rented from Alamo in Hawaii, there were a ton of scratch marks all over the bumper of my rental, large scuff mark on my door as well. I used my iphone video feature and did a walk thru of the damages on my car, once i drove to the exit, theres a gate agent there to check you out with your paperwork. One thing, the agent gave me paperwork when i was at the front desk checking in. Thats the paperwork you present to the gate agent upon exiting. I told him of the damages and he wrote it all down and i was off on my way.

Also when reporting the claim to AMEX do NOT claim it was pre existing damage, otherwise they won't cover you

What does the rental car agreement you signed say about filling out a damage report? It may very well say that "Filling out a vehicle damage report is the responsibility of the renter, and failure to do so indicates there is no damage to the rental vehicle". In any event you knowing left without doing the paperwork, all the excuses don't matter. Letting AMEX deal with it is the best solution.

aleck said:   OP, it is your responsibility to do a pre-renal inspection. All that talk about never getting a chance, napping kids, bad service, etc. is just whining. Fortunately, you had the foresight of getting AMEX premium protection. That's all Alamo needs to know. I am surprised they are asking for CC number, they should already have it and billed you. Don't give them you actual car insurance info.

Let it be a learning lesson for you and all readers to do the pre-rental inspection.



That's going to hurt.

did they charge you the rate you sign for?

i hate battle like this, especially during a rush. usually i mark everything before i leave. the inspection guy always laugh at me for marking all the 1/99 inch marks on the card.. all over the card. lol but usually he sign it and done.

OP said he has AMEX rental protection. Isn't he free and clear for any damages and let AMEX deal with it? How does it work anyway - looking for how this is handled from someone who has done it before.

Get a Visa Signature card and pay with it. They cover everything including "Loss of Use" and the Admin fee's and all of this is FREE!


FW10001 said:   SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Major airports rental locations never do an inspection on checkout

Just let AMEX take care of it that's why you paid the $20


SIS, on an individual basis, that would be the correct approach. But, if AMEX begins to get hit by too many rental company claims arising from such "failed to inspect before leaving the parking lot" situations, they might jack up the rates or alter their policies - usually to the detriment of the customers.

Be careful neglecting to pay them can get your renting privileges suspended Aka Banned

If I remember correctly Budget and Alamo are Avis owned and being banned by Avis can become a big hassle

dirtrat said:   Get a Visa Signature card and pay with it. They cover everything including "Loss of Use" and the Admin fee's and all of this is FREE!


FW10001 said:   SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Major airports rental locations never do an inspection on checkout

Just let AMEX take care of it that's why you paid the $20


SIS, on an individual basis, that would be the correct approach. But, if AMEX begins to get hit by too many rental company claims arising from such "failed to inspect before leaving the parking lot" situations, they might jack up the rates or alter their policies - usually to the detriment of the customers.


didn't know that --- I'll have to check the Visa Signature T&C's --- so far I have only used that card for Fandango

dirtrat said:   Get a Visa Signature card and pay with it. They cover everything including "Loss of Use" and the Admin fee's and all of this is FREE!


"Loss of Use" coverage may require a fleet utilization log, which rental companies are reluctant to produce without a lot of encouragement.

This slightly stale article has a good description of an experience with rental car damage vs. insurance.

www.denverpost.com/travel/ci_8625501

Realbrisk said:   Be careful neglecting to pay them can get your renting privileges suspended Aka Banned

If I remember correctly Budget and Alamo are Avis owned and being banned by Avis can become a big hassle
Alamo is owned by Enterprise, which also owns National (and obviously Enterprise).

...and don't rent from any of them.

If it makes you feel better, I'm sure that AMEX will investigate before deciding whether the company pays or tells 'em to pound sand.

Agree with everyone above - let them handle it. It's what you pay them for.

I just filled out the on-line forms for AMEX. Pretty easy and painless. I will post back with updates when I get them.
As SIS mentioned, I keep the description short and brief. "Alamo seeking damages for 2 inch scuff on rear bumper, passenger side." (Feedback like this is one reason for me posting in the first place.)

I agree with most, It is my fault for not forcing the pre-rental inspection. Questioning it in my mind was not enough. Looking over the one sheet of paper work I signed, there was no place to do it. You have to really make it a point to get it done I guess. Lesson learned here, force the inspection no matter what.

thanks all.

Next time ask for under carriage inspection.....

Update: Just got a Bill from Alamo. They sent '5' pictures of random nick and scrapes around the car and NONE of the damaged area they initially claimed came from me. I already told Alamo that AMEX is my primary insurer and now I am trying to see if they are talking to each other yet.
Damages: 274.10
Fees: 50
Loss of Use: 23.36
Diminishment value: wavied
For a total of : 347.46

I had a feeling something like this would happen....

Alamo near a airport in Maui wanted us to pay $1,000 for a small dimple in one of the doors, probably caused by a grocery cart. Visa covered it thankfully. Be thankful you paid with a cc that has possible protection coverage.




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