Car Hire - Pre-existing damage to front spoilers

coastalexshoreham Forumite Posts: 4
Second Anniversary First Post
I recently hired a car for a weekend with Europcar.  I purchased a separate Excess insurance policy, and therefore didn't take their CDW and ignored their hard sell to purchase one.  

Collecting the car was a nightmare as they only had one car available with some damage to the front spoiler. They pushed me to take the car as it was an upgrade too.

I took photographs of the damage, and the agent also added the damage to the rental agreement and signed it.  I returned the car in the same condition at the end of weekend, early. They didn't want to check the car (despite asking) as they were busy so I took photos again and I hadn't back the keys.

Yesterday I've received an email scheduling major damage to the spoiler and a claim pack.  They are assessing the cost for repairs. 

I've immediately sent them a scanned copy of the rental agreement with the damage written on the form and their signature at the rental pickup location.  I've sent them photos too of the damage.

They aren't replying to my messages or emails to find out what's happening and I'm petrified I'm going to be billed up to £2K for damage I've not been responsible for.  To make matters worse I've noticed the date they checked the car back on their documentation was a 3 days after the rental ended.  

Does anybody have any experience of what else I can or should be doing?  I'm already preparing for them to ignore my evidence - I just don't trust them.  I called up the excess policy administrators and they've said unless I caused the damage, the I couldn't use the policy, and as they've dated the return of vehicle later, it was outside of the policy dates.   I wish I'd never tried to save money with a separate excess policy!


  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Forumite Posts: 6,175
    1,000 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Having patience, unfortunately.

    It's a big deal for you but the person at the other end probably deals with more than a thousand cases a year and hundred or more concurrently. Emails will be answered in the order they're received generally. 
  • HillStreetBlues
    HillStreetBlues Forumite Posts: 1,907
    1,000 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Agree with above.
    You have photos from before and after and form stating there was damage. All they seem to have is a photo from 3 days after the return.
    Easy for me to say, but I wouldn't be worrying about having to pay, it's just the hassle of sorting it out.
    Let's Be Careful Out There
  • born_again
    born_again Forumite Posts: 11,678
    10,000 Posts Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    Did you take photo's on return?
    Did you get the sheet on return detailing damage & that this was already there @ pickup?
    Life in the slow lane
  • coastalexshoreham
    coastalexshoreham Forumite Posts: 4
    Second Anniversary First Post
    Did you take photo's on return?
    Did you get the sheet on return detailing damage & that this was already there @ pickup?
    Thanks for the comments.  Yes I took photos on return and have provided them, as well as photos and the sheet on collection showing the damage. I hope that's enough evidence for them.  I fear not reading other reviews of how Europcar operate.  They didn't want to inspect the car on return as they were 'too busy' despite asking at the desk and the garage at the rear.  I could only take photos.  I really just don't trust them at all.

    What really upsets me, as they pushed me hard to take the car with damage, and were 'you won't get charged' as its existing damage - and yet 2 weeks later, they have started the process.  The excess policy people (taking MSE advice to do this separately) don't want to know as the damage wasn't caused by us.  

    I think all you can do in the future is pay their extortionist CDW excess reduction fees.

    I have a feeling I can kiss goodbye to £1,600 Excess they have a hold on my credit card. 
  • Goudy
    Goudy Forumite Posts: 1,174
    Fifth Anniversary 1,000 Posts
    edited 9 August at 12:49PM
    Europcar are members of the BVRLA and you can open a complaint with the BVRLA if you feel Europcar are treating you unfairly.

    BVRLA Making a complaint (ADR)

    BVRLA should mediate a complaint like this.
    Europcar might not be that aware of what is going on if the branch you used was a franchise, a fair few of them are.

    As you have the original form signed by both you and the hire companies representative at the time of hire, with that damage marked on it, I think you stand a good chance of getting your deposit back but you might have to jump through a few hoops first if they ain't playing fair.

    Also, with that form you could also approach your credit card company if/when they process any of that on hold as a payment.
    You only really authorise that payment if you have triggered the excess section of the rental, which you say you haven't.
    Your credit card company should share responsibility of that payment and might work with you to get it back if it is authorised as a payment.
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