I am become Shiskabob, destroyer of tires
October 20, 2005 8:48 AM   Subscribe

The car rental company wants money and I don't want to pay. Does it get any simpler? Well, it gets more complicated - I've been told the country in question reimburses for pothole damage and I like the idea of them paying much more than me paying. But is it true?

So my Puerto Rican vacation was a fantastic adventure filled with the kind of expensive traumatic moments you expect from a vacation, including not one but two pothole-caused rim bendings and tire rendings.

I'm okay with accepting responsibility here, except on my way to return the car I stopped to gas up and asked if they could simply repair the rim. After an initial yes, the mechanic said "Oh, no, that's an alloy rim. If I try to bang that back out it'll just crack."

Aside - why does a DODGE NEON need snazzy rims? Which the rental company claims costs $270. Give me a break.

Anyway, he went on to say that the Puerto Rico road situation is so horrid that the government will pick up the tab if you document where the incident happened. Yes, I accept that my source is perhaps not the most credible but at the same time this rental company told my friend the previous day that there'd be no charge for her identical incident.

Perhaps it's complicated by my returning the car to a franchise where hers went to the company main location. Perhaps my dent was simply worse (which it was). Maybe it was phase of the moon or I smelled funny. But I'm on the hook for major bucks and she got off scott-free.

To make a long story marginally less painfully long, I'm looking for two things here.

One, is this claim of a reimbursal program baloney? If it's not I don't see why I'm being soaked for $360 for a small non-performance tire & rim. I can find no mention in my googling.

Two, has anyone had any luck haggling with rental firms over this? I don't believe for a second they are actually paying $259 for that rim when TireRack has a variety from $89 and up for me, the non-fleet buyer.

Any and all strategy advice is welcome.
posted by phearlez to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
A quick search for Dodge Neon OEM Alloy wheels turns up prices ranging from about $175 to $200. Toss in a little shipping, some handling, a little labor and some administrative overhead... $270 seems about right.

I've never been held personally responsible for rental car damage, but I know for a fact that my credit card company's automatic rental insurance has paid large sums because of me. I think this indicates that negotiation has an extremely low chance of success.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:34 AM on October 20, 2005

We had a problem with Avis in Germany, over a ding on the windshield. They insisted we pay to replace the stupid thing. Of course it is better to repair such damage. Our argument was that it was likely there when we rented, as nothing happened to cause it. Such dings aren't always easy to see.

We protested to great length and finally they relented. Maybe if you just complain long and loud you can win. But this applies mainly if you're a frequent traveler that has a history of renting from the same company.
posted by Goofyy at 10:40 PM on October 20, 2005

This may help: Puerto Rico is not a country.
posted by grouse at 12:48 AM on October 21, 2005

It's too late for you, but for anyone else reading this:

Rent a car with a credit card that provides comprehensive insurance. If you don't have one, it is absolutely worth it for the peace of mind to get the company insurance.

On my last vacation I hit everything except the lottery with my rental car, and I never worried about it for a second. Which I realized was an awesome feeling to have on vacation. (In my defense, I was driving on the opposite side of the road, shifting with my left hand, and driving on one labe but two direction roads dep in the countryside.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:01 AM on October 21, 2005

Response by poster: This may help: Puerto Rico is not a country.

This may help:

Note: Ask MetaFilter is as useful as you make it. Please limit comments to answers or help in finding an answer. Wisecracks don't help people find answers. Thanks.

Perhaps it needs to say "Wisecracks and haggling over protectorate vs country don't help people find answers" to be clear enough for you.

posted by phearlez at 7:36 AM on October 21, 2005

Response by poster: Mayor: Dollar is explicit that their comprehensive damage waiver does NOT cover wheels and tires, else I would have gotten it based on my friend's experience. Any other issues my car insurance would cover, subject to my deductible. This is close enough to my deductible, however, that it's not worth filing for.

As far as the card, I thought I was using a card that offered it. Unfortunately my bank changed the benefit plan the previous month and I didn't realize rental coverage had been dropped off it.
posted by phearlez at 7:41 AM on October 21, 2005

Dollar is explicit that their comprehensive damage waiver does NOT cover wheels and tires, else I would have gotten it based on my friend's experience.

This is important to know for future reference. Wow! Tires I can maybe see. But rims?
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:48 AM on October 22, 2005

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