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Disappointing car rental #204457
09/13/2019 10:29 AM
09/13/2019 10:29 AM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 296
Perdido Key, Florida
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cbinparadise Online happy OP
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Perdido Key, Florida
I recently had something happen that quite frankly shocked me. Six of us came down to spend a week on St. John. We needed a larger vehicle to accommodate everyone and their luggage so I did something I've never done...rented from a company I've never rented from before with no airport office. When we arrived a representative picked me up and took me to their office. We discussed insurance and apparently none of the car rental companies provide insurance any more (we ran into this on St. John also). At some point I told the woman that I had been coming to the VI for exactly 40 years and at one time lived on St. John so I knew my way around and was quite comfortable driving on island.
The vehicle was a fairly new Dodge Durango. I could tell it was a recent model but it was dinged up from one end to the other, with literally dozens of dings/scratches/dents and the front spoiler had been ripped off. Someone had attempted to conceal all the damage by using touch up paint to hide them but they were all very obvious. It would have taken all day to mark them on the small diagram. I wasn't worried about causing any damage myself as we would be staying at Emerald Beach on both ends of the trip and only using the vehicle to go to and from the airport & ferry at Crowne Bay.
After dropping everyone at the airport I went to the rental office closeby to return the car. Of course someone went out to check the car for damage and came back in and said "someone hit your car". I told them exactly where we had been, that I was the only driver and that car was never out of my sight except the night before at the hotel and it was parked in such a way that no one could have bumped it on that side. I asked her how she could tell that it was a recent ding and she said "I know". I needed to get to the airport and wasn't in any mood for an argument so I had their driver take me. She said she would be in touch. A week went by and I called 4 times over several days only to be told "our estimator has not had a chance to look at it." This concerned me as I couldn't see why an "estimator" would need to look at a nickel size door ding. No one would ever call me back but they did charge $450 on my credit card. When I called to complain about the excessive amount she said "Don't you have insurance". I said that indeed I do but this would be just under my $500 deductible. So we had the same Durango for less than 48 hours, didn't even used enough gas to move the needle, spent almost $500 including tips for their drivers, and they add-on an additional $450 for damage that was already there. I've heard about this kind of thing happening but when it happened to me I was literally speechless. That's the kind of thing that turns visitors off and certainly I will never use that company again. We always rent a vehicle from one of the airport car rental agencies but this time we needed something larger. We do this for our own convenience and to not be at the mercy of the taxi drivers. Next time I'll save the $950 and go the taxi route. A little inconvenience would be worth it.
Anyone else have a similar experience?

Last edited by cbinparadise; 09/13/2019 10:57 AM.
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Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: cbinparadise] #204462
09/13/2019 11:42 AM
09/13/2019 11:42 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,533
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Offline
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I had a similar issue with SixT rental cars at LAX. They are a rapidly growing but dishonest German rental car company. I was given a car that had damage on the right side door. They told me not to worry about it as it was all in the computer. I told them I wanted documentation of the damage. They said they don’t use forms as it’s all in the computer. I refused the car unless they provided documentation. The finally wrote a description of the damage on my rental form and I had the agent sign it. I videoed the damage with the agent in the picture signing the form.
Two weeks later our credit card was charged 3400 dollars to repair the damage. I sent them a copy of the rental form and they replied it was not valid as there was no damage listed in the computer and I had to pay. I then sent the video and they still were going to charge me until I threatened legal action and contacting the CA attorney general.
Moral of the story, if given a damaged rental car video everything!

Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: cbinparadise] #204468
09/13/2019 12:28 PM
09/13/2019 12:28 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 296
Perdido Key, Florida
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I can honestly say that after renting vehicles all over the USVI & BVI for 40 years, I don't think I've ever gotten one that was NOT already damaged...LOL. If the rental company charged everyone as much as they charged me for the dents/dings they could quickly pay for the car. Lesson learned. That will never happen to me again. It's a money making opportunity for sure. thumbsdown

Last edited by cbinparadise; 09/13/2019 12:31 PM.
Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: cbinparadise] #204476
09/13/2019 01:12 PM
09/13/2019 01:12 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,573
Woodstock, GA
RickinAtlanta Offline
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Name of the company please?

Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: cbinparadise] #204478
09/13/2019 01:36 PM
09/13/2019 01:36 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
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Perdido Key, Florida
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Perdido Key, Florida
Discount Car Rental. I see online reviews from great to terrible. Our experience was fine up until I was charged a ridiculous amount for damage I didn't do to a car that already had a tremendous amount of damage. $450 for a small dent ( the size of a nickel) that I honestly believe was already there.
I have to say that there were Xs all over the diagram when we walked around the car prior to us taking possession. And there was an X in that same spot but the woman said this was a "new place". Next time I'll be following George's suggestion of a video. And there won't be a next time with Discount.

Last edited by cbinparadise; 09/13/2019 01:40 PM.
Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: cbinparadise] #204479
09/13/2019 01:45 PM
09/13/2019 01:45 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,375
Finger Lakes Region and Mexico
crmoores Offline
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Yes besides a thorough examination (as you I’d) I always video the entire vehicle, from the wheels to the trunk to the interior. But it is very hard to contest this, especially long distance...
Thanks for the alert. You left a review as well?


"Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.”
-Anthony Bourdain
Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: crmoores] #204480
09/13/2019 02:02 PM
09/13/2019 02:02 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
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Perdido Key, Florida
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cbinparadise Online happy OP
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Not yet but I will...once I cool off.

Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: cbinparadise] #204481
09/13/2019 02:25 PM
09/13/2019 02:25 PM
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sail445 Offline
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Originally Posted by cbinparadise
Not yet but I will...once I cool off.

I had a similar experience. Is the car rental up the street from Crown bay Marina and if so are they also car dealership?
I rented a car for the day and they charged me for a ding on the rear fender and a ding on the front fender which was clearly marked before I rented car and was charged $800 +
You could see the look on their faces as they thought they got me. At the time AMEX took care of it but I did tell AMEX the we’re ripping us off.

Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: sail445] #204483
09/13/2019 02:53 PM
09/13/2019 02:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
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Perdido Key, Florida
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Yes that's the one. Interestingly enough...they wouldn't take AMEX. I paid with my Visa card. I would have disputed the charge had I not just disputed a $10,000 charge from a company that resurfaced my pool deck and really made a mess of it. I had to pay someone else to redo the job. I just didn't feel like fighting about the car repair charge too.

Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: cbinparadise] #204498
09/13/2019 09:34 PM
09/13/2019 09:34 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 556
Apex, NC
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Thanks for the heads up!


Life's short - sail more!
Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: cbinparadise] #204499
09/13/2019 09:37 PM
09/13/2019 09:37 PM
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sail445 Offline
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Originally Posted by cbinparadise
Yes that's the one. Interestingly enough...they wouldn't take AMEX. I paid with my Visa card. I would have disputed the charge had I not just disputed a $10,000 charge from a company that resurfaced my pool deck and really made a mess of it. I had to pay someone else to redo the job. I just didn't feel like fighting about the car repair charge too.


Glad to hear they didn’t take AMEX it tells me AMEX probably didn’t pay the scam artist.

Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: sail445] #204528
09/14/2019 06:49 PM
09/14/2019 06:49 PM
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BaardJ Offline
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Cbinparadise - Thanks for the heads up. I will NEVER EVER rent from Discount Car Rental!!! I have been using Avis hassle-free for past several years to rent minivans, and recently rented a minivan from Budget with no problems.

George - I am dealing with the same issues with Sixt. I've been renting from them in Norway for the last several years and they have started to ridiculously charge for repairs of minor scratches.

Moral - use a credit card that offers rental car coverage.

Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: cbinparadise] #204556
09/15/2019 12:29 PM
09/15/2019 12:29 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,216
Somewhere out there
kneafseym Offline
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Discount and Economy operate in many cities and you have to be very careful, very cheap online rates but bait and switch on fees. Generally a very hard sell on insurance. At one office in FLL they wanted me to take insurance at $35/day because I did not carry proof of insurance from my car, I walked out.

I carry a Chase Sapphire card and had 1 windshield crack issue and it was very easily handled. The bill was just $35 CDN, but I wanted the experience in dealing with CC insurance and mine was as good as advertised.


Mike
Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: kneafseym] #204562
09/15/2019 02:24 PM
09/15/2019 02:24 PM
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Posts: 296
Perdido Key, Florida
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The rate we paid was just under $200 per day (including taxes), I believe...so not cheap but we needed something large. The daily rate would have been less had we rented it for a week. We had the Durango for 1 day prior to going to St. John and 1 day on the return. In the past I always use AMEX for rentals when I'm down there but they refused to take it. So I used a Visa card. The "damage" charge was bogus. They knew it, I knew it and they knew I knew it. But I was in a hurry to get to the airport and also in a huge dispute with Visa/a merchant in Florida that did some work to our pool deck ($10,000) that had been going on for 3 months and that was a nightmare. So I decided not to contest the charge. If it hadn't been for that situation I wouldn't have let it slide.
When they refused my AMEX card I was suspicious and asked them how much per day for insurance and they said "we don't offer that anymore." I felt like something was up but had people waiting for me. Lesson learned but I feel others should be warned.
I have to say that in all of my years of visiting 3-4 times a year since I moved back to the States in the late 80s, I let a lot slide when I'm there. Rude servers, taxi drivers who overcharge, restaurants who add "tax"....you know. This is not the behavior of the Virgin Islanders of the 1970s and 1980s when I lived there who appreciated the fact that I was even there. I decided a long time ago to try and have a different mindset and not get upset when things are not as I would expect in the US. Consequently I expect less. Sometimes I'm disappointed but usually not. But when something like this happens I don't go back for more.

Re: Disappointing car rental [Re: cbinparadise] #204678
09/17/2019 01:05 AM
09/17/2019 01:05 AM
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Posts: 296
Perdido Key, Florida
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[quote=cbinparadise]But when something like this happens I don't go back for more.

To clarify.....I don't go back to that place of business for more. I'll always go to the VI. I've been addicted since the 1st time I set foot on the old ferry dock in Cruz Bay.


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