In April 12, 2013 - Wilmington DE, We (My wife & myself-she added as co-driver free) rented Red Hyundai Accent (Licence-295367) from Enterprise (4616 KIRKWOOD HIGHWAY,WILMINGTON,DE 1980850).
Enterprise employee "Tom" Kirkwood Highway-Wilmington, myself and my wife inspected the car I had been assigned on that day. He said we need to wait for 20 min before we could actually go to car, because it was at different location and then they will wash-vacuum before delivering the car. After ~20min Mr. Tom called us and escorted to their CAR WASH facility to do quick walk to evaluate car condition and fuel level.
There were many dings, dents, scratches. Especially passenger side front bumper to passenger side rear door and driver side rear bumper had large scratch and dent. [continued below]....
..... My wife and I were obviously concerned about the poor condition of this rental car. After about the 5th or 6th item we pointed out, Mr. Tom said "Don't worry about it - if it is not larger than the circle on our damage evaluator (which is a circle drawn on the contract), it does not matter. You will not have a problem." However, later on he said, he had them noted and marked. Neither Mr. Tom, nor we inspected underneath the car (the area was wet, since it was wash facility and lower illuminating than normal sunlight, also entire car body was wet, water dripping off the body).
On 04/14/2013 Sunday evening we returned (parked) the car at Enterprise, 4616 KIRKWOOD HIGHWAY,WILMINGTON,DE 1980850 and Dropped key in their after hour drop box. On 04/15/2013, Monday at 11.23 am Nicole (Branch Manager) from Enterprise called me and reported damage to passenger side "Rocker Panel". She then explained me there is significant scratch at passenger side Rocker Panel. I immediately asked her, "wait a second, how do know it happened to us?". Mrs. Nicole then said it was not there when they did pre rental inspection. I explained and confirmed we never looked underneath or Rocker Panel area as the area was wet and relatively low light. She then insisted Mr. Tom did as he is their employee and trained in spotting damages. I affirmed Ms. Nicole, that we never invested bending our knees on water and looked underneath. Further explained to her that "all these dings, dents and scratches were detected by my wife and me. Mr Tom noted them after saying small area issues are not troublesome".
Eloquently she did not agree and insisted, "rocker panel scratch is visible from normal viewing level and since you signed/initial in rental agreement - You will have to be responsible for this and repair works as it was in your possession. Had you opted for our CDW (collision damage waiver) coverage from us, we would not have called you and instead would have sent to body shop". I told her, its not fair since those could be pre existing as the car had dings, dents. She then mentioned "We should have checked and Mr Tom did not find those". Ms. Nicole then informed she has to sent the car to body shop for repair works and estimates. I informed her that I can come next day to investigate and take photo. She said, they will not for a day. I was frustrated with this answer and said "if you can rent a car with ding and dent then why can't you wait for me to take snaps?". Ms. Nicole stated "We have certain parameter based on which we decide which one to repair, and which not". That was ridiculous explanation, I told her you had big enough dent, scratches yet you rented that car and now you are telling me rocker panel scratch is one of those parameter. She re-iterated same words. I then informed her, "My wife will reach there in few and inspect the defect". She said, she will not wait more than 30 min.
My wife upon arrival took couple of snaps of newly reported damage and pre existing dents. My wife explained all saying we did not investigate rocker panel area properly instead mostly investigated outer body. Ms Nicole said, "Mr. Tom did as he is our specialist trained to do so". My wife then wanted to speak with Mr Tom. Ms. Nicole informed, "this issue right now being handled by her". After several request and insisting to speak with him, Mr Tom came and explained "I did inspect underneath the car and did not find anything". My wife differ to agree saying "I did not notice you doing so, while we were looking outer body". Mr. Tom said, "Your husband saw me, while you were at other side". Then my wife's friend (who went with her), pointed another big scratch at passenger side rear rocker panel. My wife then asked Ms. Nicole, "why that is not noted and spotted by you? Do you have this in your record?". Ms. Nicole hesitated and said she will check with other Enterprise (form which the car came, they would have inspected that before dispatching the car tho them) and would confirm if this new one was also reported to them.
then they hurriedly sent the car to body shop. My wife shared snaps immediately to me and I called Enterprise, Mr. Tom picked the call and said he will transfer to Ms. Nicole, since she is now handling this (that's very surprising). I told Ms. Nicole "you said the defect is visible from normal viewing level but looking at picture doesn't reveal so and the scratch you are talking about has rust on it, which denotes that's aging and previous defects". And then Ms. Nicole said "She can not judge that if it is old one" This is so funny. Earlier she mentioned Mr. Tom and her are trained professionals to spot defects, but now she is not smart enough to determine old, rusty scratches from naked eye. Ms. Nicole also mentioned "photographs are not right to judge and they evaluated closely, naked eye". Amazing!!!
I called Ms. Nicole today and found they have no answer yet. Still waiting for other Enterprise to send record and outcome of body shop. I am planning to file complaint to Visa customer benefit before its too late and would file dispute before its late, because - over internet research found, I'm not the only who had this painful experience, there are quite few others like this. I am very de-satisfied from the Enterprise, Kirkwood highway and would never rent a car from them and ensure my friends don't fall in similar trap. It is painful to go through all these when you have proof and visible evidence. Fortunately We were able to to take pictures of old scratches, dings, dents and claimed new defect with rust near rocker panel. We also have picture of the car wash facility where we inspected the car before rental. Firmly believe, enterprise has our conversation recorded. With all these evidence, we hope Delaware Division of Consumer Protection would be able to help us and bring justice.
Any advise and wise suggestion is highly appreciated.