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Thursday, October 6, 2022
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CAR RENTAL COMPANY TOLD CUSTOMER TO PAY $2,000 FOR” NON-EXISTENT REPAIR”

Before the year ends, just want to let this out.

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Be prepared for a long story ahead.

In the middle of this 2020, I used a car rental service called (“T”) to rent a car to run some errands. It wasn’t my first time using this service. Unfortunately, while using the rental car, my mom accidentally bumped into another car. It was a very light bump, with a small scratch on the other car and an almost invisible scratch on the rented car. No one was injured. I took photos of both cars and other necessary information.

The third party whose car my mom accidentally scratched contacted me and said he might not want to pursue this further as it is just a small scratch. Nevertheless, as a rule-abiding hirer, I reported this incident to T and subsequently understand that the car that my mom was using was under a car rental company called S. I understood it as T being a platform (not owning any cars) who engaged car rental companies (e.g. S) to use their fleet of cars, correct me if I am wrong. Someone from S contacted me (hereafter called “R”) to guide me through the details for this accident process.

Anyway, T told me to rent the same car for the next few days to bring to an inspection centre to assess the damage, this sounds reasonable, I am paying for the loss of income of the car (other people might have rented the car to use). On the day of bringing the car to the inspection centre, T provided me with two wrong addresses and made me drive around looking for the correct workshop and wasting my time. At the inspection, the person basically took a few photos and had a call with T and said I could go back.

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suka suka asked to pay maximum excess

And I thought it was all over. Until R contacts me a few days later and asked me to pay the insurance excess of $2,000 (such a nice rounded number which isn’t listed on T’s website or anywhere at all).

He starts telling me a lot of jargon and stuff that a layman wouldn’t understand. Thanks to this incident, I also understood more about the word ‘excess’. Initially, I feel very angry that he suddenly throw me this $2,000 amount ($2,140 including GST) and ask me to pay up. And after reading up and asking my friend, I found out this is an amount that I needed to pay IF insurance is activated. He told me that scratches on the other vehicle will be claimed against us (aka me). When I probed further for photos, repair costs, and receipts of repairs for the other vehicle, he said he will revert back to me with full details once he has all the necessary costs. Hello?!

You don’t have the details you want to ask me to pay $2,000?

Eventually, the amount they finally quoted me is ~$700. Breakdown of $X for the third party vehicle (this is a reasonable amount), $Y for the rented vehicle and $Z for loss of income for the rented vehicle for the days that it is being repaired. So they tell me I don’t have to pay excess anymore, just this amount.

T keeps giving me a tight deadline to transfer the money to them. I wanted to know EXACTLY what I was paying for. I asked for the invoices for repair (if you repair at a workshop there is an invoice right?) and the photos of before and after the repairs. T came up with a generic invoice (damage repair and spray paint and administrative fee) for the $Y just to shut me up. No photos. How to believe that they actually did the repairs? The workshop is under you, the car is yours, I can’t just take everything at face value right?

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Workshop name don’t have

I asked for the workshop name, and more details with regards to the invoice. And the person told me that the repairs have not been done yet. Then how do you get the invoice? The person specifically told me that I can get the photos of the vehicle after I paid the amount, after they repair. I wanted to SEE the repairs before paying. I even offered to go down to the workshop and pay on the spot because T told me they can’t pay for the repairs before I pay up the amount. I OFFERED to go down and pay and everything. Guess what? They slap me with a “This is a final warning, pay by this date or we will take legal actions towards you” – kind of email. I just wanted to know the exact repairs done. It’s not that I want to avoid paying for this accident, I merely just want to know what I am paying for. Is that wrong?

After being in a turmoil for days, I have no choice but to pay up the amount, because I simply don’t have the financial means to ‘fight’ against T or be in a legal case over this. After paying that $700, T still continued to disable the account and I have tried multiple attempts writing in to the Customer Service, talking through the online chat, but it just seems like that account is being ‘blacklisted’ and they don’t care about any requests about that account.

I stopped using T ever since and closed my account, forsaking the e-money I have left in the account. A joke here is, my mom and I each have an account with T. So when I sent in two separate emails to request for termination of the accounts, guess what? T only replied to the email for my account, the one not involved in this incident. Totally ignoring the email for my mom’s account.

Throughout this entire thing, T (or R) keeps wanting to act as the liaison between the third party and me, saying that they will liaise with the third party to see if any payment or repairs is needed for their car etc. This is very suspicious and I see it as T (or R) wanting to act as the middleman and rip as much as they can from me (just my thought). I tried contacting the third party by myself but he seems to be ignoring my messages or seem to have arrived at some form of agreement with T (or R). There are also other ‘suspicious’ points, like asking me to pay up $2,000 with no concrete details and subsequently arriving at another amount. What if I have actually paid the $2,000?

EVEN TILL NOW, after paying that $700, I have yet to see a single photo of the repairs done (that was promised by T) or where exactly repairs were even needed (lol). It’s like paying up the money because T asked me to pay up and threatened me with a legal case if I don’t. I didn’t see where my money went to. That is the most infuriating/unjust part of this entire thing.

I have evidence of emails/chat conversations/pictures for the things I mentioned above. A part of me really wants ‘justice’, but I am really not in the position to fight against a company. Just want to rant everything here as a form of closure for me, before the year ends.

In total, I have lost around $1,500 (not a small sum to me), excluding wasted time, emotional/mental stress that I had to go through with regards to this incident. I am looking to try car sharing services again, but definitely from somewhere else, somewhere less shady.

Lesson learnt: for car rental (or car sharing) companies, sure, they are cheap and affordable, but if you get into an accident, they will do everything to rip you off. Technically, they aren’t doing anything wrong or against the law, and I understand this is how they ‘make money’. But it just makes me feel shortchanged and unjustified. I don’t feel good/satisfied with the random numbers they throw me and expect me to just abide and pay up. I know I am at their mercy, having read the contract and agreement before deciding to rent the vehicle, but come on, at least make me pay up the money feeling more convinced.

Despite this being a rant, I do have a legitimate question:

  1. Is there any governing authority that regulates and oversees the rental car market? More specifically, the repairs and motor workshops, ensuring fair and reasonable repair charges. LTA? CASE? VICOM? OneMotoring? I will even go to the MP if it helps (next time if it happens again)

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