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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 34530
Experience:  12+ yrs. of legal experience.
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I rented a car from a major company at a local office (non-airport).

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I rented a car from a major company at a local office (non-airport). The day after we returned the rental car, the office called to say that there was a big scratch on the lower left rear that had been attempted to be covered by white-out (it is a white car) and that the scratch was not noted on our contract when we picked up the car. The car was rented out immediately after we turned it in yet the rental car company did not notify us until the day after we turned in the car. However, they said that the scratch was noted on the new renters contract. I personally hand washed the car before turning it in and did not note any scratches; I did not use any white-out. We did not purchase auto insurance from the rental car company since our auto insurance covers rental cars. I do not want to turn in a claim to my auto insurance company. What can I do to resolve this without paying for damage, without turning it in to my auto insurance company?
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

Good question.

If you can resolve this with the car rental company, then you can avoid notifying your insurance. It may be if you offer to "settle" this matter, that you can pay a fee and escape any liability. You will want to ensure you get a waiver from them in writing, that the money you pay settles the claim in full and that they (the rental company) is not allowed to pursue any further money from you.

Otherwise, the car rental company can sue you. ANd if they do, you will have the choice to submit this to your insurer or to defend the claim on your own.

Frankly, you would be better off to submit to your insurer, since if they sue you, they can seek their lawyers fees as well if they win (if you look at the contract you have with the rental company, I bet it allows this).

But I would sure try and settle this...offer them a few hundred dollars to settle this. That protects your insurance and settles the matter completely.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you! That's the not the answer I was looking for, but you're probably right. I will pursue a settlement option. However, I believe the rental car company committed fraud by entering the damage on the subsequent renter's contract after the fact. The fact remains that someone (not me) deliberatley tried to cover the scratch. Would this fact have a bearing on the case?
It will

I would use that as leverage.

At the end of the day, if they want to sue you to make you pay, they have to prove you did it.

If they can not, they can not make you pay

That is why I bet they are willing to settle this with you..hopefully for a reasonable fee.
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