EUROPCAR Car Rental Damage Charge

So I rented a car from europcar to use around Victoria where my residential address is. (just found out amex doesn't cover this) and the car was returned with a chip in the windscreen less the size of a $2 coin, at least 5cm away from the edges. This was not noticed earlier during pick up and was only noticed 24 hours later. I managed to scroll and zoom in the photo I took during car pick up showing a bright light on the exact same spot where the chip is located. The rental garage was dimmed and dark. So 6 weeks went by and got a letter from europcar charging me $1500 to replace the whole windscreen plus misc fee (loss of use and admin charge). What should I do to dispute this? I have written a letter of complain disputing the claim but they will still charge it to my credit card. Help please?

Related Stores

Europcar Australia
Europcar Australia

Comments

  • +6 votes

    Didn't you get extra insurance to limit maximum liability?

    • +3 votes

      That is the biggest scam in the rental car industry.

      • +2 votes

        Not getting insurance means you get done over with damage claims like this.

        The insurance company won't fix this and will probably claim it off other people as well.

  • +2 votes

    Cancel your credit card and/or dispute the charge with your bank when they raise it.

    I would suggest it is up to them to prove you caused the damage rather than up to you to prove you didn't.

    • +7 votes

      I would suggest it is up to them to prove you caused the damage rather than up to you to prove you didn't.

      I assume that's easily done because it's not on the pick-up damage report, and now exists.

      •  

        6 weeks went by

        ??

        •  

          That's when OP received the letter. If it's noted on the pick-up damage report for the customer immediately after OP, that'd be fairly conclusive. Guess it depends if Europcar has that or not. And - and OP should probably delete this - there's this in the OP:

          This was not noticed earlier during pick up and was only noticed 24 hours later.

          Not there during pick up, there 24 hours later. That would also be fairly conclusive.

          • +2 votes

            @HighAndDry:

            Not there during pick up, there 24 hours later.

            All OP said was that it wasn't noticed during pick up, not that it wasn't there. There is a fairly big difference.

            •  

              @djkelly69: Not really - in terms of practical effect, "not noticed by anyone" is the same as "did not exist" unless OP can somehow show that it did exist. Otherwise the damage report at pick-up showing other dents, scratches, chips, etc but not the glass chip, will be fairly conclusive that it didn't exist at that time.

    • +1 vote

      This is the best answer, just report it lost, you will get a new card with a new number.

      Also I would be asking for a copy of the invoice as they dont usually get these sort of things repaired.

      •  

        Just because it isn't repaired doesn't mean you're not liable to pay. If someone hit and dented your car, and you got quotes for $200 for smash repairers to fix the dent, you're not obliged to actually use the money to fix the dent after you're paid out.

        •  

          yes that is correct, but they are claiming they are repairing it, and the cost of the repair is massively inflated.

  • +7 votes

    a chip in the windscreen less the size of a $2 coin

    A $2 coin is a small coin, but it's positively massive in terms of glass chips/cracks. Most bullet holes are smaller. It'd be pretty hard to miss. I have a small chip about a fraction the size of a grain of rice (literally about 3mm across at its widest point) and even that's crazy noticeable.

    Upload the photo you have of the "bright light" (if you don't mind) but I'm going to say if it's not noted on the pick-up damage report, you're on the hook. I don't even know that you can fix something that big in a glass windscreen short of replacing it.

    •  

      not sure how to upload a photo on the forum. In their incident report (after the car was returned), they have also attached a photo of the chip which shows a bright light (no different from my bright light before) and another zoomed up photo of the bright light showing the chip.

    •  

      Very likely to be a bullet hole.

      As others have pointed out in many threads over the years, this mob have an established Modus-Operandi. The reality is that this could have happened at any time whilst they were in possession of the vehicle, all those stray bullets flyin' all around the car lots, 'n all.

      (Grabbing popcorn): No need to settle outside Court to resolve in this case. In judgement, the Ombudsman will probably note that the vendor has known form as a consumer theif and crook.

  • +1 vote

    This is how rental companies make money, they will charge you for this $1500 but not necessarily fix it immediately. Some wind screen chips does not warrant a replacement if its just a small chip, you can treat it and that will be all.

    You need to document all your dispute with them. Doesn't matter if they do not respond, or respond in your favor. Next get to a consumer affairs or ombudsman equivalent.

    • +1 vote

      they will charge you for this $1500 but not necessarily fix it immediately. Some wind screen chips does not warrant a replacement if its just a small chip, you can treat it and that will be all.

      You say this like it's some nefarious plot, but this is standard. If someone crashes into your car and dents it - you can get a quote to fix it (say, $300), but you're not actually obliged to fix it with that money once you get it. You have a car that's now worth less, but that's up to you.

  • +5 votes

    Europcar.

    Say no more, fam.

    They've pulled this shit before. Good luck. They're seasoned bamboozlers.

  • +4 votes

    I hate hiring cars because of shit like this.

  • +2 votes

    It looks bad on you now because you noticed it after taking possession of the car, but failed to mention anything about it when you returned it.

    There's no way Europcar wouldn't notice a chip on the windscreen the size of a $2 coin!

    btw - $1500 to replace a windscreen itself is ripoff territory. Even if they add in the time that the car is off the road (few hours), it still wouldn't be near that much!

    •  

      I second that. Any companies you know of that can provide me quotes so I can dispute that their price is ridiculous?

      •  

        Every single glass replacement company. Email them with the vehicle make and say you need a new windscreen. Even the one in my car that was replaced only cost $350 and it was good brand glass with rain sensors etc.

  •  

    I didn't get the extra cover as I thought my amex card covers it. Regret that I didn't read it properly.
    The windscreen chip of that size as I read online is easily fixable with a resin kit. I should have done that but the Christmas period meant everyone was booked out or busy before my rental expires.
    The chip on the windscreen which I dispute is existing which was not itemised in their report when the car was handed to me. As I couldn't possibly inspect every inch of the car, I took some photos of the car before leaving thinking it would be fine.
    How do I go about disputing this? I doubt Europcar would actually entertain my dispute? Which ombudsman can help or if anyone has any experience doing it?

    •  

      Not all chips are repairable. There are rules regaring what can and can't be repaired. In saying that I got my Elantra's windscreen replaced with a new one, including new windscreen mount sensors, for $300.

      So they did a return inspection when you returned it, and didn't notice the damage? And you signed this report?

  • +2 votes

    I doubt you'll be able to dispute it if it wasn't noted on your pick up report by them or you, but I had a windscreen chip on a hire car two months back which was large enough to merit a windscreen replacement. Car was a new rav4. They took $1500 as a pre-authorisation amount, but the final bill was actually only $308.61 which included a hefty admin fee and a charge for taking it out of service. The actual windscreen replacement invoice from their contractor was $190. Took them months to get me the paperwork though, was super annoying as I couldn't claim on my insurance until I got it.

    •  

      do you know which company they use for repair? Mine was an SUV too.

      •  

        It was a local chain (link)

        My experience also wasn't with europcar but enterprise/redspot so not sure it will help you; just thought you might be interested in the process I went through as it sounds similar

  • +2 votes

    When you pick up a rental car you just take a video of every panel on the car as you walk around it and make sure they see you doing it. Take pictures as well if you can. I have read so many stories of people being scammed by these places, you need to cover yourself. Also don't buy their extra 'insurance' to limit your excess as that is a total scam. If you do incur any minor damage, get it fixed yourself.

  • +3 votes

    this is why you get domestic travel insurance with $5000 excess car rental coverage.

  •  

    costs $300 to fix a windscreen, this is an unreasonable charge, which i would dispute.

    you should be allowed to fix the damage yourself.

    Europecar love profiting from crap like this, i never use them.i picked a car up 53 minutes earlier and got charged an extra $180, the day fee on the original quote was 70 odd a day. they ultimatly charged me an extra day at the highest rate. the lady could have said this, and i would have waited. ill never used them again. lost business as was using a rental car every 3rd week for 5 days. for the year

    they are pigs

    • +2 votes

      a lot of windscreens have sensors in them etc now.
      they do not cost $300 if that's the case.

      •  

        Exactly one of my points as well. I wonder how best to argue this

        •  

          Do the sh1tboxen most people hire have anything other than commodity or stick-on sensors? Is this really more than a standard $120 'piece of Pilks' (the same baked sand O'Brien's use, if it isn't available at a lower price in China) slapped in by the cheapest contractor available. Not that they will do it until they absolutely have to, as a lot of these cars have a short life in the field. Even at a tax-deductible $200, there is no point fixing minor things when the asset has a high chance of being written off by any of the subsequent marks, ahem, sorry- hirers.

  • +1 vote

    Haven't rental car places been in big trouble for dodgy claims like this?

  •  

    OP, literally every single question you have asked can be found and answered in the terms and conditions you signed.

    https://www.europcar.com.au/files/live/sites/Europcar.com.au...

    I'm not going to point which clause or page answers what. You need to read this stuff before signing stuff in future. It literally tells you how to escalate the matter either internally or externally.

  • +6 votes

    Europcar have a bad reputation in situations like this. I reckon they are the worst and advise to never ever rent from them.
    The Amex card insurance doesnt cover you within 150km of home but dont feel bad about not realising this because even if you had known, a travel insurance policy wouldnt have covered you either for the same reason and even if you had taken the extra cover from Europcar, their policies specifically exclude glass and windscreen damage.

    This is a great article that explains all the traps and the limitations of the different types of insurance
    https://www.ridehacks.com/ultimate-guide-to-rental-car-insur...

    I used to always use a domestic travel insurance policy and increase the rental car cover until I read that. Now I have a RentalCarProtection.com.au annual policy. In the article it outlines why its a good policy, basically it covers car shares as well as windscreen, tyres, roof and undercarriage which are all often excluded.
    You can also add your partner to the policy for a little more and both of you can use it independently, you do not have to be travelling together to be covered.

  •  

    I always video a walk-around with my phone, both on pick-up and on drop-off. I've never had a problem. Whether that's because I'm a very careful driver, or because they know I have proof to dispute any "damage" they claim I caused, I guess we'll never know.

  • +2 votes

    Every time I return a rental car I insist a company rep. does a walk-around and signs off as to the condition of the car.
    Open and shut case.

    • +1 vote

      The last time I rented, it was already known that car rentals ran this scam.

      I waited at their reception and when a customer walks in, I'd ask audibly, "how long more do I have to wait to get someone to do return inspection because I know how this trick works".

  •  

    I similar thing happened to me I was parked at roadworks in an Avis Hyundai i30
    A truck coming the other way flicked a large stone and smashed my windscreen, I returned it to an unattended airport lot and received a charge later that day for $3000
    It took a couple of months but eventually they refunded the charge minus the cost of the new windscreen $200 or so.

  •  

    Sit back and wait for Europcar to serve you documents.

  • +1 vote

    Always pay the insurance, no matter if you think it is covered by something else. Not worth the risk.

    $1500 is quite cheap. We were once quoted that they would take $3000 off our credit card (for any damage no matter how minor), and then in the fullness of time, we may get a refund if it is warranted. Needless to say, we paid the insurance after hearing that. Very lucky as a cyclist crashed straight into us as we were waiting at a roundabout. Didn't have to pay a cent.

    Also Europcar is bad.

    •  

      No. Buy travel insurance that covers your excess. Don't pay the car rental the money to reduce the insurance, it just costs too much for too little. Travel insurance covers you for a lot of things. I've had travel insurance pay out the excess charged by both Hertz and Europcar, just make sure the max excess is less than what's covered. Funnily enough the Europcar one was also a chipped windscreen, but it was fairly large and it happened while passing a truck in NZ.

      This is why you always take a ton of photos and videos on pickup. NEVER skip this step.

      By the way you can find a definitions of what's considered fair wear and tear. Things like 'paint chip less than 5mm', 'scratch less than 2mm wide' etc etc. Only if the chip exceeds this definition should they charge for it. If you can find this information (sometimes at the bottom of rental agreement), then ask them for another picture with a ruler/measuring tape next to the chip to prove it is not fair wear and tear. I've stopped worrying about really minor things now and don't point them out on the condition sheet because otherwise the entire car gets covered in my chicken scratch.

  •  

    I have used Europcar few times, thanks fully haven't had any issues with them yet. I always fully check the car before drive off.

  •  

    so which rental car company is the most trustworthy?

  • Top