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Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

Salt Lake City, Utah
posts: 6
Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

I recently travelled to the DC Metro area and rented a car through Alamo. Upon pick-up at the Dulles airport, I was brought out to the dimly lit garage where the attendent asked me to choose a car. Upon choosing a car, the employee simply handed me the keys and asked me to sign. He performed no inspection of the vehicle, and did not ask me to perform any sort of inspection. I was in a hurry, and I've never had trouble with rentals in the past, so I didn't think about how odd it was that the employee did not inspect the vehicle or ask me to. I drove the vehicle to my parent's home in a quiet, safe neighborhood where it remained parked for nearly a week. No damage whatsoever occurred to the vehicle, and I returned it at the Baltimore BWI airport, where I was to catch my return flight. There was no Alamo employee on duty, and signs simply directed me to park the car in a garage and leave the keys in side. That was it! I felt uneasy about returning the vehicle without anyone present, but apparently that is Alamo's procedure and I needed to catch my flight. 2 weeks later, with-out a phone call, I received a letter in the mail from Alamo's "damage recovery unit" claiming I owed $914 in damages to the vehicle, with 2 pages detailing all the extensive work that would need to be done, which was absolutely ridiculous. I know that no damage occurred at all, and I feel like I was taken advantage of. I feel like it was the employees responsibility to inspect the vehicle or at least ask me to inspect it upon check-out. I've never had such a problem with other rental car companies. Upon further research online, I've found that this sort of scam is common with Alamo/Enterprise, as many consumers have been ripped off and scammed into fraudulent "damage" charges. I can't believe this company is allowed to carry a business license. I've since filed complaints with the BBB and the Attorney General in the state of Maryland. I refuse to pay these fraudulent charges. I'd just like to warn other consumers about Alamo/Enterprise and their scamming techniques. Be careful!

Washington, DC
posts: 957
reviews: 13
21. Re: Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

Believe it or not, the *exact* same thing happened to me at Alamo -- except in my case, it was at the Alamo location in Washington, DC, not at BWI.

I picked up the car at a dimly lit garage, and the attendant gave it to me without inspecting the car or filling out a vehicle condition report. I had the car for less than 24 hours, but when I returned it, they found a tiny dent and claimed that I did it (which I didn't -- I drove the car lightly and at no point did I park in an area where it could have been dented).

Because Alamo didn't inspect the car when I picked it up, they have no proof that I caused the dent -- but they essentially told me that they don't care and I'm responsible for paying it anyway. The garage where I picked up the car was extremely dark and I wouldn't have been able to find this dent, even if I was hunting for it.

I am now working with my auto insurance company to get this paid for. The claims agent sounded surprised when I said that they didn't prepare a vehicle condition report when I picked the car up. I can't recall any other situation where I rented a car and didn't get a vehicle condition report. Does anyone know of any other rental agencies, other than Alamo, that don't do this?

Washington, DC
posts: 957
reviews: 13
22. Re: Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

The funny thing is that, whenever I rent a car in Mexico City, I inspect the car for damage very carefully, because Mexican car rental agencies are notorious for this scam. Yet, I've never actually been hit by this in Mexico -- just by Alamo in the US!

Albany, New York
posts: 1
23. Re: Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

Same thing happened to me at Detroit Metro Airport. I booked a full size car via Hotwire, but was told that there was no car available at rental office, so I took an upgrade to a minivan with FL license plate. (The last time I rented a vehicle it was 4 years ago, so I forgot all the drills. There was no walk-through and no paperwork and I just drove it off.) I did notice a light scratch on the driver side but I thought it was no big deal. Now it comes back to haunt me. Alamo's Damage Recovery Unit sent letter asking for credit card/insurance information and wanted me to pay for 'damage or loss to the vehicle'. What Alamo has been doing amounts exactly to insurance fraud and there must be things we honest consumers can do to fight back: 1) contact BBB; 2) contact Attorney General's office; 3) contact the insurance commissioner in the state you rented the car. More suggestions?

Fortaleza, CE
posts: 8,058
reviews: 378
24. Re: Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

Alwlays believe their customers? How many customers admit they caused the damage, even if they did? I rented a car at Alamo at BWI and had no problem. I've quite often had rental agents just hand me the keys. I always-- always-- make an inspection. You didn't do this, and can't say for 100% sure that the damage didn't happen while you had the car. I have twice had dents in cars caused by people in parking lots while I was not with the car. I was responsible. I have rented cars for many, many years and have never had a problem like you had. You can file a dispute with the corporation and your insurance company etc., etc., but by not making the inspection you, unfortunately, caused yourself problems. Lesson learned. But what do you really expect to happen now, other than hoping to cost them some customers? Thouslands of people post complaints, fair and otherwise, so I doubt they'll cave becuse you did so, but good luck to you.

posts: 392
reviews: 11
25. Re: Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

this is one reason why God made cell phone cameras. BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE RENTAL GARAGE.

Manitou Beach
posts: 2
reviews: 8
26. Re: Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

Alamo has no one to check you in at the Clearwater Airport. After renting an Alamo car for 4 days we returned the car with no scratches anywhere. Two days after we returned the car, we got a call at home stating there there was $ 563.00 worth of damage done to the car. This such a scam. Our insurance company is looking in to it. I don,t know how 2 days later someone can say we did the damage. They should either hire some people to check the cars in and out, or have to prove who did the damage. How do I know someone in the lot where it sat for 2 days didn't do the damage.

Asheville, North...
posts: 3
27. Re: Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

I rented a car t O'Hare late at night in a dimly lit parking lot where they tell you just go get any car from the area marked Mid Size or something like that. The cars were packed in like Sardines and I had to wait for the car in front to pack up and leave as there were several people getting cars at the same time. Had I walked around the car I could not have seen the tiny black(totally able to buff it out) black paint that was on the rear bumper. The car was used very little and never in a crowded parking lot. I can't say for certain it was there when I got the car but as I was never given a form to fill out any damage and nobody inspected the car and the parking lot is so dimly lit, they can't say I wasn't. Truce ALAMO! STOP this. When I returned the car I was almost run over by an Alamo employee backing a car out of the return line at a rapid rate od speed, slamming on the brakes and making a harsh three point turn around. A girl ran uhp to the car and started taking pictures of the bumper within minutes. When I tried to ask her what she was doing she wouldn't talk to me but said there was damage and I she was supposed to turn it in. I would hear from thier claims dept if I was to be charged. She ran off. I assure you I will NOT pay this no matter how many notices they send.

Bring it on ALAMO! Yes, it may take a Class Action to stop this. I WILL lead the charge if they try to send me to collections and upset my credit.

All I did was GOOGLE alamo rental car damage scam and there is a lot of activity. I really don't think you want to get this started Alamo. But as a retired man I have the time and am game. It would be best to stop this practice and work to repair your reputation.

Asheville, North...
posts: 3
28. Re: Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

PS - After she took pictures and ran off I also took pictures and the picture on my phone does not match the one they sent...Strange huh?!?!?! OK, not really. They are only trying to charge me $175. I'm guessing they just expect people to roll over and pay. No way. It's principle and what's right. Not rolling over here.

Destination Expert
for Baltimore
posts: 3,628
reviews: 14
29. Re: Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

Can anyone name a car rental company that DOESN'T return a lot of results when you Google "(name of company) car rental damage scam"?

Asheville, North...
posts: 3
30. Re: Beware - BWI Alamo Rent A Car "DAMAGE" Scam

I see they have an employee or PR agent monitor thier mess. Diversion tactic.

This is about Alamo. Spent 30 years traveling 30 weeks a year and never...let me repeat, NEVER had this happen in all that time. We had corporate agreements with Herts/Avis/National.

From the moment I walked out to that crowded tight lot and waited 5 minutes for the people in front of me to load thier car so I could leave, I had a bad feeling.