Stolen Rental Car

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Latest post 11-23-2010 5:52 PM by Vadgue.1026. 13 replies.
  • 11-23-2010 8:57 AM

    • itskc2u
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 11-23-2010
    • NY
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    Stolen Rental Car

    Ok, I'll try to keep this short. 

    I rented a car last June 9th-12th.  I left it with a friend in LA to return and flew home to NYC, the car was never returned... He says he was carjacked, but I've since found out he is shady and I don't believe him. 

    For nearly a month I was unaware of the situation.  I got no calls from the rental car company, and when they finally sent a letter it was to the wrong address... Once I was informed, I called immediately and started the legal process of reporting the car stolen, including giving all info about the person I left it with.  

    My insurance is covering the total loss of the vehicle, but the rental car company is trying to charge me $5000 for the time between the rental and the filing of the police report.  I cannot pay this amount, and I'm wondering if I have any recourse for reclaiming this amount? 

    Does it matter if the friend I left the car with was on the rental agreement or not?  If my insurance is covering the cost of the car, can they still charge me for the cost of the entire time the car was "missing" 

    Any advice on how to deal with this would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

  • 11-23-2010 9:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Rental Car

    Sure, one is for the value of the car and the other is for the use of the car.

  • 11-23-2010 9:10 AM In reply to

    • itskc2u
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    • Joined on 11-23-2010
    • NY
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    Re: Stolen Rental Car

    So they can just charge me whatever they feel like?  I mean even a month at $50 a day is only $1500... I just can't rationalize how that is ok...

    Would it do any good to write the company? Or try to speak to someone who might care about how their company is viewed? 

     

  • 11-23-2010 9:41 AM In reply to

    • DPH
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-08-2001
    • TX
    • Posts 7,552

    Re: Stolen Rental Car

    itskc2u:
    Would it do any good to write the company? Or try to speak to someone who might care about how their company is viewed?

    You might start the conversation with asking them to justify the $5K charge versus the normal monthly rate.  The monthly rate should be considerably less than $5K.  Might that amount include daily insurance coverage?

     

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 11-23-2010 9:41 AM In reply to

    • DPH
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-08-2001
    • TX
    • Posts 7,552

    Re: Stolen Rental Car

    itskc2u:
    Would it do any good to write the company? Or try to speak to someone who might care about how their company is viewed?

    You might start the conversation with asking them to justify the $5K charge versus the normal monthly rate.  The monthly rate should be considerably less than $5K.  Might that amount include daily insurance coverage?

     

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 11-23-2010 9:43 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,517

    Re: Stolen Rental Car

    You rented it--and odds are you are responsible for the full rentals until such time as the car was returned and or theft triggered an end of the rental period. I give the odds to the rental company.

    And frankly were I your insurance carrier I would NOT have covered the theft if  you entrusted the car to an irresponsible friend--thats not theft--thats stupidity

    I think you are exceedily lucky your carrier covered it.

    You probably have a decent cause of action against your supposed friend.



  • 11-23-2010 9:57 AM In reply to

    • itskc2u
      Consumer
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    • NY
    • Posts 5

    Re: Stolen Rental Car

    Thanks DPH that will be my next course of action regarding the charges. 

    Drew, I know the decision seems stupid, but unfortunately, I didn't have a choice, the situation with this person gets very convoluted far and away beyond the car rental. 

    And besides, if I gave the keys of MY car to a friend who then disappeared with it, that would be considered theft, right? So, I don't see how it's really different with a rental car. 

    Anyways, thanks for the opinions

  • 11-23-2010 10:23 AM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Rental Car

    itskc2u:
    I didn't have a choice

    Yes, you did.

    There's always a choice. There's a choice when a gun is put to your head and the hammer cocked. The choice is to obey or die. Granted, not a very good choice, but still a choice. So, never defend your mistakes by saying you didn't have a choice. That's just a cop-out.

    itskc2u:

    And besides, if I gave the keys of MY car to a friend who then disappeared with it, that would be considered theft, right? So, I don't see how it's really different with a rental car. 

    I agree. Conversion is a form of theft that's defined in the criminal statutes. Your insurance company was right to pay for the car.

    itskc2u:
    the rental car company is trying to charge me $5000 for the time between the rental and the filing of the police report.

    So they can just charge me whatever they feel like?  I mean even a month at $50 a day is only $1500... I just can't rationalize how that is ok...

    Would it do any good to write the company? Or try to speak to someone who might care about how their company is viewed? 

    Yes, they can charge you whatever they want. The better question is: can they make it stick.

    You have a few choices here.

    You can ignore it and wait till the rental company sues you. Then they will have to justify it in court. Unfortunately, they probably won't bother spending money on a lawsuit, they'll just send it to collections and trash your credit. That way they don't have to prove anything.

    You can try to negotiate a cash settlement at the daily or weekly rate. But I suggest you do that higher in the food chain, like with a corporate executive. Make sure everything is in writing. Make sure you have the cash to pay what you offer or they aren't going to take you seriously. And know that nobody at the company will care how the company is viewed in this matter. It's all a matter of money. There's no question that you owe something.

    Another alternative is that you hire a lawyer to defend you from the rental company's demand. That includes the possibility of you filing a lawsuit for a declaratory judgment that you don't owe the money. Count on paying your lawyer many thousands, not getting back any of his fees and still having to pay something to the rental car company.

    Bottom line, acknowledge that your mistake is going to cost you money. Then see about getting it down to a reasonable amount.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 11-23-2010 10:56 AM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Rental Car

    "Does it matter if the friend I left the car with was on the rental agreement or not?"

    Yes, giving the vehicle to an unauthorized user makes YOU responsible for the mileage, damage, use, failure to return etc.  Had he been an authorized user they might be going after him instead of you.

    "If my insurance is covering the cost of the car, can they still charge me for the cost of the entire time the car was "missing" 

    That is a better question.  I would be checking with an attorney.  They may not be legally entitled to total loss value AND the 5 grand.  An attorney would know for sure.

    "I left it with a friend in LA to return and flew home to NYC, the car was never returned"

    HUGE mistake which you now know.  I NEVER trust anyone to return a rental car for me.  PERIOD.  Too much at risk.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 11-23-2010 10:59 AM In reply to

    • itskc2u
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 11-23-2010
    • NY
    • Posts 5

    Re: Stolen Rental Car

    Thanks Jack...

    You are right, I did have a choice, and it was a mistake, it was just the lesser of 2 evils. 

    Thank you for the insight... Trying for a settlement with the company is probably the way to go. 

  • 11-23-2010 11:06 AM In reply to

    • itskc2u
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 11-23-2010
    • NY
    • Posts 5

    Re: Stolen Rental Car

    ...and thanks to ClydesMom!  You guys are giving me some hope that my credit MAY not be forever ruined! 

  • 11-23-2010 2:07 PM In reply to

    Re: Stolen Rental Car

    It's not different - except that YOU are responsible to the rental car company, both for the actual value of the car and the lost income until it can be replaced.

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