What to do about a false damage claim on a rental car?

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What to do about a false damage claim on a rental car?

I rented a car for 1 week; There were documented pre-existing conditions when I picked the car up, otherwise tthere were no problems. I returned the car in the same condition with a full-tank of fuel. Again, no poblems. Everything was fine. Now, 5 months later, I receive a notice from them saying they want to charge me over $700 for repairs charges incurred to due to hail damage There was no hail damage nor were there any hailstorms durning the time I was renting the car. This is insane I’m not sure what I should do. Should I contact their claims department, call a lawyer or throw the the notice away? There’s no way I’m paying this totally fruadulent claim.

Asked on September 29, 2012 under General Practice, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You would not be liable for hail damage even if it were true--you are only liable for damage you are responsible for and cause, and it's rather doubtful that you caused the hail. (Note though: IF the rental contract you signed specifically stated you would be liable for all damage, regardless of cause, you could be financially responsible for it--in that event, you agreed to be held liable even for the weather.)

You should hold onto the notice--you don't need to do anything unless and until they take legal action (e.g. sue), but it's good to keep all documentation. If you are sued, for $700, probably the best thing would be either to act as your own lawyer to defend the case, or see if you can't settle for some modest amount you're willing to pay to save your time. It's unlikely to be economically worthwhile to retain an attorney over $700.

 


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