Danish Car Rental Gone Bad


#1

I rented a car from Hertz at the Copenhagen Denmark airport. The car was a new Nissan with approx 15 miles.

I left the parking garage and drove less than 3 miles and the clutch froze.

I contact Hertz, they picked up the car and I rented another manual car for 3 days with absolutely no problems (yes, I know how to drive a manual car). Hertz is charging me $2,500 USD for the clutch damage.

I’m absolutely certain I didn’t do anything to damage the clutch, as I only drove the car for 3 miles and have owned standard transmission cars in the past.

I don’t understand my rights and it looks like this is common issue which the rental companies know how to pursue.

I would love some advice on how I can challenge this charge.

Thanking all of you in advance,
Lou


#2

You need to determine what types of Consumer Protections exist in that county. I have no knowledge of the Danish legal system, and I dare to say that few–if any–of the regulars in this forum are experts regarding the types of consumer-related legal protections that exist in Denmark.

If I was in your situation, the very first thing that I would do would be to contest that charge with your credit card company. Once you contest that charge, you will have a bit of a “time cushion” before the rental company attempts to press the issue further.

Sincere good luck with a resolution of this issue!


#3

You just challenge it on your credit card and let them deal with Hertz. You did charge it I hope. Always use a charge card on something like this.

Those Danes though. Weren’t they trying to tax or outlaw cow flatulence before California got the idea? Or maybe it was an extra tax on meat to deal with global warming.


#4

Sure the credit card challenge is a great option, but before it goes there call hertz, email Hertz, ask for a suervisor, or email a higher up with a complaint. contact a local Hertz and ask them for help, as to who is in a position to help. Reminds me of an old joke, want a hertz donught? Kick to the shin, hurts, don’t it?


#5

While all those steps with Hertz are good, challenging the credit card charge ASAP is also needed. Without the challenge the OP loses all leverage ($$$). Do both.


#6

I know Europe is a little different about vehicles then the US but with so many people that either don’t know how to use a manual transmission or just not a lot of experience why would you have manuals in a rental fleet.


#7

Manuals are expected in Europe, especially in smaller cars.


#8

If you contest the charge on your credit card, DO IT IN WRITING. A phone call is not enough. You can call, but send a letter, too, and keep a copy.


#9

Just another story but a few years ago my wife and sisters and her cousin visited Norway. They rented an SUV but it was an unmarked diesel. Her cousin filled it up with gas and made it about a mile before it gave up. So I’m sure there were very expensive repairs that needed to be made on the Mercedes but never got charged anything for the damage and they provided a replacement right away. That was Norway and don’t know the company used. The only extenuating circumstance was that it was not marked as a diesel like they usually are with warnings on the dash and so on.

Just about everything is manual transmissions over the pond so if you can’t drive a manual, best hire a driver. It would be like trying to rent a manual here.


#10

It may turn out that there is insurance for this damage through the credit card. Check to be sure. You can do it when you call the credit card folks and ask for the procedure to challenge the damage assessment. Maybe the credit card company will handle the whole thing for you.


#11

I’m afraid any useful advice can only come from Denmark. Laws, responsibilities, and liabilities are so different in other countries that it’d be impossible for anybody where I live to guess what steps you need to take. If you have contacts in Denmark, perhaps they could advise you on a useful approach.

I recall seeing in a PBS special some time back that in one country if the driver of a taxi you hire crashes, you’re responsible for the damages. Don’t remember the country, but it illustrates the point.


#12

Way back when my dads friend took off for a joyride in a postal truck, got into an accident, and got off scott free as postal vehicles were not responsible for damages. Probably in the 30’s, I am sure things are different now.


#13

There was another European-sourced poster here who had a similar problem OP, a while back. You might can find that thread using the forum search feature. Based on what you way, I think you have a valid complaint. The second manual car they offered you came back w/no clutch problems right? Common sense says like the most likely explanation is the original clutch was faulty from the factory, and you just happened to be the unlucky person who got stuck w/it. What your legal alternatives are, don’t know. But if you feel like you are in the right, suggest not to yield easily on this issue w/the rental company. I expect eventually it will get to the desk of someone there with some common sense.


#14

It wouldn’t surprise me if previous customers had complained about the car’s clutch

I don’t know about the rest of you, but if I’m renting a car, and something obviously isn’t right, I complain about it and make sure the guy at the counter enters it into the system. I don’t leave until I see his fingers typing. I’m talking about when I return the car and they go over everything real quick

I’ve even returned a few cars early, and demanded they give me another car that actually operated correctly.

Then again, I have no control about what the rental company actually does AFTER I complain. For all I know, they might hit the delete button on the keyboard, or throw the complaint form in the circular file :fearful:


#15

I’ve never rented a manual. I’d be inclined not to because they can be so easily have been damaged by a previous bad driver… and I don’t want to take the chance.

But, as I suggested, I have no idea how the Danes view liability for rental car issues… or if they have any consumer protection laws. It may be that their laws are more oriented toward protecting them from tourists than protecting tourists from them. I still think this needs advice from over the puddle.


#16

Thank you all! I have canceled my credit card as soon as they contacted me. And they haven’t yet tried to put the charge through, so I feel confident they can’t just automatically take money from me.

I am steadfastly denying that I caused the damage. I know how to drive a standard and only from three miles when I stopped and called for a new car. I drove the new car without any issues.

I’m also going to ask for all correspondence in English.

Great idea to keep going up the chain. I assume that the guy I’m talking to doesn’t have any authority to take the charge.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress and thank you for all your help !!


#17

really? what good does that do? What you should do is contest the charges.


#18

As far as I know you can’t cancel a credit card that has a balance or a disputed charge.


#19

I think the OP is making things far more complicated than they need to be

Attempting to cancel the credit car is not only going to complicate matters, as far as the clutch damage, but it may also ding his credit score, should he somehow actually manage to cancel it


#20

I’ve been in contact online with the Danish equivalent of the ombudsmand and it all depends on what is written in the contract but the fact remains that You can start a formal complain in here in Denmark with this institution ( www.forbrug.dk ). It will cost You 100.00 dkr to start it, timeframe will app. 3 months and they recommend that You pay the bill under protest now so You don’t rack up additional fees.
If You want, I can post the correspondance I had with the institution (in Danish).
If I can give You some additional help, ask.
If what You state is true, the clutch should be covered by the warranty (Nissan).
If You could elaborate a little more as to what exactly happened and where (You will need those details also, as You will be asked about a lot of details (traffic, adresses,roadconditions etc) in case of a complaint) it would be nice.
Good luck
PS I’m Danish and live in Denmark.