Q: I recently rented a car from Enterprise. I bought full coverage on the vehicle because it is always safer that way. When I returned the vehicle, a representative from Enterprise inspected the vehicle inside and out and gave me the green light that everything looked great and I was good to go.

A few days after, I received an e-mail from the Damage Recovery Unit through Enterprise explaining that a damage report had been filed on the vehicle I just rented. I immediately called the Enterprise location from which I’d rented the car to inquire about the claim. A manager said that it must be a mistake and to delete the e-mail and everything would be fine.

A few weeks later, I received a letter explaining that there was indeed a damage claim filed under my name. I called the Damage Recovery Unit and they explained that my local branch had filed the claim and that a manager said it was a mistake.

I was astounded at this news because I had not damaged the vehicle. I visited my local branch and a manager told me the same thing — the claim was a mistake. But the Damage Recovery Unit would not drop its claim.

Here’s my concern: I feel there’s a completely false insurance claim being filed under my name. Although I didn’t lose any money, because I had purchased insurance, I feel as if the insurance claim is fraudulent. Can you help me get this claim dropped?

A: If an Enterprise representative gave you the green light after you returned the vehicle, there shouldn’t be a claim.

A valid claim needs to be properly documented. Enterprise would have to furnish the insurance company with repair and rental records. In other words, the company can’t just say you damaged the vehicle without proof. But you say you had “after” pictures of the car that show no damage (good job!) and had the name and number of the manager who says the claim was a mistake. So something’s not right here.

Was this insurance fraud, as you suspect? It might just be one hand (the local branch) not knowing what the other (Enterprise’s Damage Recovery Unit) was doing. Then again, I’m looking at another Enterprise claim case right now that looks almost identical to yours. The miscommunication may be at the enterprise level (Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself).

Enterprise’s damage claim looked a little suspicious. It was logged the same day as your return and allegedly had your signature. You would have remembered signing that document, wouldn’t you?

I contacted Enterprise on your behalf. Separately, you also contacted the police and filed a report. Enterprise dropped its claim.

 

Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine. Read more tips on his blog, elliott.org, or e-mail him at chris@elliott.org.