February 10 2010 by Ellen Roseman
Tonight, the CBC news ran a piece about a common consumer con. You return your rented car in the same condition you received it and later find a damage charge added to your credit card bill.
With the upcoming Vancouver Olympics, the rental car scam may be easier to pull off.
In the story, a businessman was told that Budget had to replace his rented Kia’s windshield at a cost of $1,100, when there was a tiny chip that would cost $25 to $30 to fill in. He cancelled his credit card to avoid having the charge put through on it.
What else can you do to protect yourself? Don’t buy the expensive collision damage waiver (CDW) from the rental company. Find out how much coverage you have from your own car insurance policy and your credit card company.
Also, take your own pictures of the rental car if you drop it off at remote locations or after hours.
The story resonated with me because I was in a fender bender accident a week ago and I’ve just rented a car from Enterprise (a nice feature of my policy). The clerk made a pitch for the CDW coverage so I wouldn’t have to involve my own insurance company. I said I’d take my chances.
The Enterprise office, located next to the body shop I went to, probably has some success with that argument. When your insurance company is already paying for one claim, why tempt fate by risking another damage claim with a rented car?
Bravo to the CBC for exposing the way car rental firms can abuse customers who haven’t bought their expensive coverage against scratches and chips.