The Accident Squared

What started as a second insurance claim within a few weeks ALMOST got very ugly, but fortunately, it was resolved without the “worst” happening.

As I returned the rental car to the collision repair company our insurance company told us to use (Service King), I thought everything was fine.  I gave the clerk the car keys, and I went over the “fixed” car with the my service rep.  All seemed fine. (I did eventually have to take the car back due get the A/C recharged; it was fixed without incident.)

Unfortunately, 3 hours later my wife (it was her car) was contacted by Enterprise Rental cars.  On the rear driver panel of the car, there was a small dent.  I knew I was not responsible, and after some texting/talking to my service rep, he also confirmed he had no memory of the damage to the car.  (Because the car was turned in at Service King and Enterprise did not have a rep located [they do rent space from Service King, but if it is not staffed, it doesn’t count] in the lobby of Service King when we turned in the car, the “check-in” was not official.)  So, by Enterprises standards and according to their contract, we were responsible for all of the damage to the vehicle.  (When I contacted Service King, they were told the vehicle had already been taken to another different collision repair company.  The car could not be looked at.  We were just told we were responsible for the damage. Also, we also had damage to the car caused by a neighbor backing into our car the previous summer.  We were leaving on vacation the next day and we noticed it at 10:00 at night.  When we returned, the suspected neighbor whose house was for sale, was gone and we were stuck with a dented rear driver panel.)  Service King said they would have fixed it for free, but since Enterprise had already moved the car, the option was no longer available.

Once we found out we were supposed to make another claim with our insurance company to get the damage fixed, we took quite a few actions:

  1. Since this was the second claim this year on our policy and since we had the same rep, I tried to get him on my side by having him vouch for my character.  And, he did same something like, “He is a stand up guy.”  Not sure if this helped at all, but our continued insisting in our innocence couldn’t hurt.  I know it was stated more than once, “If we caused the accident, we would not be going through any of this.”
  2. We checked the Service King website.  The site claimed all Service Kings had the Enterprise people on site.
  3. On the folder given to us with our Service King bill, it has Enterprises logo and mentions them a couple times.  My lawyer wife seemed to think (I agree) this implied Service King was an agent for Enterprise.
  4. We received a letter from Enterprise claims settlement.  We filed a dispute with them.  They said they would let us know in a couple of weeks.
  5. I tried to go directly to Enterprise to talk to the responsible manager.  (I ended up helping a very disoriented man find the Wells Fargo bank behind the Enterprise location.)  He was not there.  And, the Service King manager brought this up with the Enterprise management over lunch.  Enterprise seemed very content to maintain there stance of us being fully responsible for the accident.
  6. After additional conversations with Service King, I found out SKs new policy is they will no longer take the keys on behalf of Enterprise.  (i.e. they have changed their policy because Enterprise is not responsive to customers)
  7. During the same conversation, I mentioned how on the Service King website states “Satisfaction Guaranteed”.  And, how at this point, I was not satisfied.  In regards to the survey, he told me I should do what I needed to do.  When I did complete it, I tried to be complimentary to the service rep, but for the “recommending” part, I graded low.
  8. I had a conversation with the Enterprise manager.  He wanted to make sure we understood what was in the contract.  And, he restated, “You are responsible until it is checked in by an Enterprise rep.”  I commented to him, “So, if the Enterprise logo is not on their shirt, I shouldn’t give them the keys.”  I also stated how a very false impression is created when the keys are taken.  A “normal” customer would quickly believe their responsibility is completed at that point.
  9. My wife called Service King customer service complaint department.  She felt it went well.  Her comment of, “No one seems to be denying this accident happened on SK property after we dropped it off.” At the very least, they said all of the right things.  It gave us hope that something might still happen to save us having to pay the full $1000 bill.

A couple of days later, a miracle did happen. Service King called back.  I was told the bill would be covered by both Enterprise and Service King.  If I received any more bills or correspondences, I should pass them to Service King.  Of course, we were quite pleased with this outcome.  Now, we hope to give the $1,000 to a charity of some type rather than waste it on an accident we weren’t responsible for.

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