Is a rental car company liable for allowing a credit that did not match the name on lease and charged me for the car not being return?

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Is a rental car company liable for allowing a credit that did not match the name on lease and charged me for the car not being return?

I helped a friend get a rental car by using my bank card but I did not sign anything on the lease. Well the car did not get returned when it was due. It was found 10 days later abandoned on the side of the road. The rental car company say that there is nothing that they can do; this even after I told them that I read their policy about the name on the card not matching the name on the lease. Does the rental company owe me a refund or do I have to go after the friend for the money?

Asked on September 28, 2011 under General Practice, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

IF the rental agreement specifically says that the agreement is null and void (or something to that effect) if the name on the card does not match the name on the lease, you may have grounds for not being obligated to pay. (The rental car company, however, may still be able to proceed against you on the grounds to facilitated your friend causing a loss or damages to them--it's not clear they'd win, but they may be able to at least bring the case; they also could clearly sue your friend.)

However, I doubt whether that is actually what the lease provides, since in my experience of often renting a car for my father when he comes to visit me, or having my assistant rent a car for me, you *can* rent a car under name A, pay for it with a credit card under name B. So while you should double check the lease and other agreement(s) with the car rental place, I suspect that they can charge you for at least something. How much they can charge you for will again depend on the terms of the lease--what are you responsible for, as the person providing the payment? Is it only for the original rental? The full length of time the car was not returned? Etc. It is probably the full length of time the car was not returned, but again, you need to reference the terms and conditions of the documentation you agreed to.

You definitely can yourself proceed against your friend for the money, if you have to pay.


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