National Car Rental — fraudulent claim of damage
I rented a vehicle from the Terrace/Kitimat airport at National. It seems they want me to make a fraudulent claim of damage, which they state happened when I had their vehicle. When I picked up the car from the airport, the service representative told me that the car had damage and I noticed there was a fair bit of damage, so I made notes on the rental document I had, but unfortunately, I did not take photos. No one came out to inspect the car when I rented it and I was left on my own to find my way to the vehicle. The young lady at the rental kiosk made notes of the damages and said I would not be charged for any of the scratches and dents as well as a chip on the windshield. As I mentioned, no one actually came out to the vehicle to do any inspection, and foolishly, I did not take any photos myself because they had acknowledged all the damage. I had the vehicle for 6 days and drove a total of 112 miles during that entire period of time. For 3 of the 6 days the car was parked. There was no other damages to the vehicle when I brought it in.
In any event, here we are a week later, and I get an email from National with photos of all the damage they allege I caused. The photos that were sent to me did not show any new damage and while I did make notes on the rental form as to the damage, I realize those are my personal notes and they don’t mean anything other than I made a note… I can prove that I dropped the car off at 4:30 a.m. because I had a flight to catch, so from the moment those keys were dropped off in the drop box, I do not see how I could be responsible for the car until someone has time to inspect it. What a sham!
This was what the National representative stated:
"Obviously, no one can say for certain that it didn’t happen after you dropped it off, but if you choose to return the vehicle during non-business hours, then you are responsible for the vehicle until our staff has an opportunity to look at it. If we accepted that reasoning, then any person who damaged a vehicle would be able to drop it off in the middle of the night and tell us it wasn’t like that when they left it. If you are able to provide me photos of the vehicle upon your return that show the scrapes are not present then I will consider the claim closed."
I am concerned that they are trying to get a free paint job out of me and I am not prepared to put in a fraudulent accident claim to help them out. I believe this is a scam because they know that no one came outside and did a check of the vehicle at the time of rental. No charges have been placed against my credit card as of yet, but I will certainly take it to small claims if necessary since it is a totally false claim. I contacted my credit card company and they advised me that they cannot prevent the charge (if one comes through).
I would like to know how a car company can come back a full week later making claims they know to be false. How do I fight this? There are no 'before' and 'after' photos to prove their claim, and I cannot see how they can claim any responsibility for, first of all: damage that was already there; and secondly: sending me this information a week after the vehicle was returned.
You will also notice that the damage to the rear of the vehicle would more than likely have been caused by a minor collision. I would have known if I had hit something or if someone would have hit me. Again, the damages were already on the vehicle when it was picked up.
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