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Car Rental place, can they do this?


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19 replies to this topic

#1 of 20 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted October 31 2007 - 06:40 PM

Ok so a friend of mine had been in an accident. It was her fault because she hit him. Her insurance company paid for all damages. The car was a rental. He returns the car. This all happened maybe 2-3 months ago. So last week she gets a call from this guy. He says she needs to send him $2000. He explains that the car rental place sold the car. They had to take it off the lot due to it being damaged from the accident. So they sell it for approx $3000. They claim the car should have been able to sell for aprox $6000. So since he had an accident and caused the value of the car to be about half, he owes them the difference. So he has been negotiating with them for this $2000 price they originally wanted $3000. He says this is why he hasn’t contacted my friend sooner, the negotiating. Anyway he says they are sending his bill to collection if he doesn’t pay the bill by this Friday. He tells my friend she needs to send him the money. If she doesn’t have it now he will pay the bill and she can send him money when she can or pay through a cc. He threatens to sue her for the money if she doesn’t pay him. He also threatens to sue for airfare since he would have to fly here from cali to take her to small claims. I tell her I never heard of anything like this, but it could be that I just never heard of anything like this. I suggested she call his bluff and let it play out, that he is just trying to scam her. Of course she’s all freaked out. She is in college and certainly can’t come up with the money for this mess. she doesn’t have time for any court nonsense. So has anyone ever heard this before. A car rental place threatening a customer for money from a car that sold after being damaged, and fixed after an accident. He also claims that the rental company is not paying for this extra money because he didn’t pay for the extra insurance coverage on the rental, the extra $15 a day you pay for the rental insurance. So what’s the advice I give her.
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#2 of 20 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted October 31 2007 - 09:55 PM

If her insurance covered the accident in the first place, I'd guess she should refer the matter back to them first. Otherwise, probably safest to consult a lawyer. As has been said previously in AH, free legal advice is worth exactly what you paid for it... Off the top of my head, I'd think the claim (even by the rental company against the hirer) is too remote, never mind the consequential claim by him against her arising out of the accident. But I'm not an American lawyer, so don't take my word for it.

#3 of 20 OFFLINE   Al.Anderson

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Posted November 01 2007 - 12:10 AM

I don't have any direct or leagal experience either, but it sounds like a scam to me. (I can't tell if it's the guy or the car place that's doing the scamming.) When the insurance company paid out the claim it paid it to the rental company since they owned the car. When they accept the money they agree that the amount covers the damage. That aside, I would tell them to send the "bill" to her insurance company. If there is a remaining legal claim they should cover that too.

#4 of 20 OFFLINE   Dennis*G

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Posted November 01 2007 - 12:14 AM

I'd do what Al said. She should call her insurance immediately and let them handle it. I bet this guy drops his claim in a day.

#5 of 20 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted November 01 2007 - 12:16 AM

Sounds pretty bogus to me, you can't sue for depreciation of an automobile that was in an accident, after you've already got money from the at-fault insurance company... And then wanting to sue for air fare because he would have to fly to take you to small claims court.. HAHAHAHA, lets have a pity party now.... What kind of accident was this... Does this in any way sound like it was staged? and then the guy is just trying to bilk your friend and the insurance company too? Sounds fishy to me. Jay
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#6 of 20 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted November 01 2007 - 03:02 AM

not staged.
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#7 of 20 OFFLINE   Dave_Brown

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Posted November 01 2007 - 03:15 AM

Despite your inability to explain who is asking for what in the story, it sounds like a bunch of BS. If "him" is the rental company, tell your friend to have the company contact her insurance. If this "him" is the guy that was in the accident, tell your friend to tell him to pound sand.

If my attempt at translating your story is correct, it sounds like the rental company sold the car for below value, and is telling the person who rented it he (him) owes them (rental company) the difference. So the guy is now going after your friend stating he negotiated with the insurance company for a lower amount.
I would tell your friend to tell the guy this should be handled between her insurance company and his rental car company. My best guess, he made the whole thing up. Ask him to send your friend documents from the rental company stating they are seeking $3,000 in lost re-sale value on the damaged car. Tell your friend not to freak out, instead get aggressive. I love long distance pissing matches, gives me a chance to take out my day to day agression on a stranger. Posted Image

#8 of 20 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted November 01 2007 - 06:56 AM

yes the her/she is my friend. Him/he is guy she hit. Plus car rental place. what you said, dave is pretty much the story. I already suggested she let rental place send her insurance co. The forms. It just sounds hokey on his end, both the guy and the rental place.
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#9 of 20 OFFLINE   DaveHo

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Posted November 01 2007 - 07:00 AM

Sounds like a scam to me. Once the rental car place accepts the insurance settlement, your friend's involvement should be over. Either the rental car company is scamming this guy, or he's trying to scam your friend. If it were me, I'd ignore him. Has he provided any documentation? Besides, I'm pretty sure it would take way longer than 3 month for something to go to collection.

#10 of 20 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted November 01 2007 - 08:09 AM

It is entirely possible that the insurance company is coming after him for the damage to their car, even in the case of a 3rd party causing the damage. That's the chance the chose to take when he decided to save himself $15 a day and not take the collision damage insurance from the rental company. (This is often dismissed as a scam, but as this case shows, it isn't always. I've never gotten the CDW myself, because my rental cars have always been covered by either my own auto insurance policy, a corporate travel insurance plan or through the credit car I've used. But that's to say I didn't pay to duplicate coverage I already had. If you have no other coverage, CDW can make sense.)

And 2 to 3 months isn't an excessive delay for a rental outfit to repair or dispose of a damaged car (and the final numbers can't be run until the car is fixed or the car sold.) By all means she should refer the gentleman to her insurance company and do nothing until she has heard from them.

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#11 of 20 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted November 01 2007 - 09:44 AM

A similar thing happened to me. I was in a accident. It was actually the other driver's fault, since he was going at least 3x the speed limit, but since there were no witnesses, I got the ticket. The cop knew I wasn't at fault, but that's the way it goes. He actually apologized for having to give me a ticket. Anyway, my insurance company paid them more than the value of the car, then they started calling me for more money, because they felt they didn't get enough. Incidentally, the damage was minor, and nobody was injured. It's just that their car was only worth $500, though the insurance company paid them almost double that.

The fact is, your friend is not liable. That is what insurance is for and what this person is doing is harassment and completely illegal. Your friend probably should contact the insurance company, and may really need to contact a lawyer. It may cost an hour's fee (hopefully not more) but this guy needs to receive a response from the insuracne company or an attorney. Be sure to take notes of every call and what is said, and if it is legal in your state (it is in most states) then record the conversations. Look Here for specific info. Most states are "Single Party" states, meaning anyone directly involved in a conversation can record it without notice to others. Some states are "All Party" states and notice must be given to everyone involved in the conversation. Let the guy hang himself, if it is legal.

In my case, I was driving a company car, which is why this dirtbag thought he'd won the lottery, but also why I didn't have to deal with much. I recorded his calls, plus he was stupid enough to leave messages demanding money. it ended quickly.

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#12 of 20 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted November 01 2007 - 09:53 AM

I just read through the post again, and I didn't completely understand at first. It sounds like maybe two people are being screwed here. either the guy is lying, or the rental company is trying to pull something with him. If he was not found at fault in the accident, he is not responsible for damage, especially if the rental company was reimbursed for the damage. This sound like a total screw job. However, in any case, what he is doing is illegal. The rental company may be doing something illegal.

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#13 of 20 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted November 01 2007 - 10:20 AM

I seethe first post may be Confusing. I did that very late and was tired. Ok so it seems like both guy and his rental place are doing a scam.
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#14 of 20 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted November 01 2007 - 01:35 PM

The bottom line is your friend has no liability. If the rental company is doing what the guy claims, it sounds like a scam. If he signed something saying he would pay them, for one thing he shouldn't have and for another thing, that has nothing to do with your friend.

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#15 of 20 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted November 01 2007 - 02:51 PM

I'm not a lawyer, but I think too many people are too scared of the word "lawsuit". That word causes a lot of people to "freak out" and write a check to avoid...

To avoid what? Going to court and having a chance to tell your side of the story to a judge? Wouldn't that be better than just caving and writing a check?

If someone threatens to sue you for money you don't think you owe, let him sue. The worst that can happen is that you (or in this case, your insurance company) will have to pay up. But if you write a check to begin with, you've forfeited every possible chance of keeping your money (or of getting reimbursed from your insurance company). If he does sue your friend, all she has to do is contact her insurance company and tell them she's been served. They will (at least in my state) provide all the financial/legal muscle required to see the matter through.


I could be wrong, but personally, I think this is a scam perpretrated by the other driver. Why? Because of the way he added air fare to the cost of the lawsuit. This is the classic "It'll Cost You Less If You Pay Up Now" scare tactic used by scam artists. This tactic works on people, not insurance companies. The fact that he called your friend -- instead of her insurance company! -- and used this tactic on her doesn't pass the stink test.

My advice (which is free and thus worthless) is to tell your friend to tell the guy to take it up with her insurance company every single time he contacts her. (But keep records of all correspondence, regardless.) If he keeps harrassing her, then she may want to consider hiring a lawyer of her own and suing him for harrassment.



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#16 of 20 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted November 01 2007 - 03:19 PM

Not just harassment, but possibly extortion, which is a felony.

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#17 of 20 OFFLINE   Lynda-Marie

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Posted November 01 2007 - 03:34 PM

Tony, tell your friend to contact her insurance company IMMEDIATELY, if not sooner, to report this. If this guy calls again, tell her to give him her insurance agent's number. I am with the majority of the others here, this sounds fishy.
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#18 of 20 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted November 01 2007 - 03:39 PM

thanks brian, great post. i have told her essentially what you wrote in your post. i think she'll be fine, but time will tell.
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#19 of 20 OFFLINE   Qui-Gon John

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Posted November 01 2007 - 03:55 PM

Another reason it sounds like a scam. OK, so your friend caused the first accident and was at fault, fine. Her insurance paid for this guy's rental car. But if he got in an accident with the rental car, that is no concern or liability of your friends. That is solely between him, his insurance and the rental car company. Also, if this guy is on the up and up, then when he turned the car in, any issues of damages should have been dealt with at that time. So she should really tell him, if you were in an accident in the rental car, you need to deal with the rental car company and your insurance.

#20 of 20 OFFLINE   Qui-Gon John

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Posted November 02 2007 - 11:14 PM

Oh I reread your original post and only now realized the guy your friend hit, was already in the subject rental care. Sorry for the mistake in my previous post. In this case, however, it is the guy's insurance and the car company who are primarily responsible and have to deal with each other. I mean if you take the extra car rental insurance, then it is totally on the car rental company. If you don't, it is your (the guy's) responsibility. If he was not at fault, as in this case, then the other party's insurance, (your friends), will wind up covering the property damage, either directly or indirectly when the guy's insurance company subrogates. Still, the car is usually either repaired or totaled. If totaled, the value is determined based on condition prior to the accident and may include loss of value. However if repaired, as in this case, the owner of the car cannot collect additional funds based on the diminished value of the vehicle, simply because it has been in an accident. They can try, but they would have to first go after the guy's insurance company, who in turn could try to go after your friend's insurance company, and as a last resort, they could try to sue your friend. But the guy has no direct obligation to pay this and would be in a very poor situation to try and sue your friend for it. Even the car rental companies position would be very poor. They're a business and this is just an expense of doing their kind of business.




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