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Can I Sue a Rental Car Company That’s Trying to Charge Me for Hail Damage?

with 2 comments

Joe EscalanteHi Joe,

I rented a vehicle on a long weekend to Texas. When I returned the car, they asked if I went anywhere where there was hail. I said no. They said there was damage to the rental vehicle. I said it rained for approximately 3 minutes and there was no hail. They said there was and now want to charge me $513.00 for the damages. I am not planning on paying this, can I sue them?

– Cynthia Elliot


Barely Legal Radio w/ Joe Escalante

This is a good case for the Small Claims division of your local county court. It will cost you a hundred dollars or so to file, but if you win, you can recover this cost.

The judge should demand some real proof from the company that the car left without this damage and returned with the damage. If they can prove this, they win. If they can’t, I think most judges would rule that, as a professional operation that does this every day, they have the burden of establishing a system that doesn’t leave it up to the opinion of some rental car guy who woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

You may have to pay it, then go to court. Or dispute the charge with the credit card company, then go to court.

That’s better than showing up to court without paying it. Bring evidence. Bring weather information for where you went on the dates in question. That will shut them up and really impress the judge.

In case they lie in court and change what they think caused the damage, send them a letter confirming what they said. That will limit them to some extent to that defense. If there was no hail, there is no charge. Good luck.

Attorney Joe Escalante answers your legal questions for free on our Facebook page every Tuesday and Friday at 10 a.m. PT.


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Written by

May 23rd, 2014 at 8:59 am

Posted in Legal News