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Odd dent - cause and fix? Rental charges


Can anyone help me. I rented a car for one day only to later receive a bill of 1,100 eur ($1,250). While I am certain the damage did not happen when I had the car, there are several things that seem suspicious from the damage and repair (as well as many other suspicious circumstances).

Firstly, the dent on the bottom of the passenger side seems to be a very odd shape (2 long, thin dips). Can anyone tell me what the cause might be?

Secondly, the price I was charged seems to be very expensive for what it is. Can anyone tell me if this seems right?

The break down is like this:
Body work (exchange) 129,27€
Body work 419,43€
paint work 379,44€
paint material 111,92€
anti-rust work 38,13€
minor parts 27,44€

Finally, can someone explain what anti-rust work is? It is my understanding that rust occurs in dents that have been around for some time, therefore if there was rust the dent was around for a while before I had the car.

I have attached a picture showing the damage (sorry about the quality, it was taken by the rental company). The car is a 2015 VW polo 1.2
Thank you for any help!!

It is amazing how much little dents cost, was there a pre rental inspection done, or a post rental inspection from the previous renter? Things could be worse, some companies charge for time of lost service. Would this be covered by your insurance or credit card? Many cards have complimentary rental insurance. Is it a reputable company as far as you can tell?

Car rental companies have been known to take a vehicle that has slight damage that isn’t noticed easily and charge each renter for the damage.

That’s why you do a walk-around of the vehicle to check for damage before leaving the rental lot.


The damage is from rubbing against a tall curb, like a fuel station island that the pumps are on.

The rental agent that issued the vehicle may not have noticed the damage when you were given the vehicle or perhaps there was no damage, unfortunately the damage was noticed upon return.

The anti-rust material is the textured area on the bottom half of the damaged panel, sometimes called gravel guard.

A right turn too close to a tall curb might do that.
BUT . . . my curiosity is with Tester.
Was it. . just maybe . . already there ?
Is it being charged to every customer , of which you could easily be number six or seven or more ?
If YOU didn’t right turn too close to anything. . then be very curious yourself.
Call their bluff and accuse them of this.
If they back down easily, we’re right.

Kinda outta luck now. Need to do a walk around before and after noting any pre-existing damage and that all was fine when you turn it in again. They rush you pretty fast at turn in so makes it hard but that’s how you prevent it. You can try just disputing it on the charge card and see what they say but don’t get your hopes up.

Any time paint is scraped or they have to penetrate the surface (such as welding nibs or drilling holes in the rocker to pull the dents out) they have to replace the rust preventive coating again.

Thanks everyone. I just wanted to check these facts.

I mean if it was likely caused by a tall curb it was definitely not me as the car was driven only in the country side where there were no curbs and the gas station I filled up at was a small one with low curbs (I just double checked on google streetview)

They have also charged me for the days that it was out of use on top of this but I have called them out on this as the T&Cs only say I would be liable for damage

I’ve already called them out on many things such as the huge delay between the return of the car and the production of any paperwork showing the damage, the fact that the photos are taken almost a mile from where I dropped it off, the photos have no time stamp, and that they didn’t check the car, or ask me to, before they gave me the key.

Well, if it was in the EU…and you’re not (?)…why not tell 'em to pound sand? You’re not getting extradited over this, and (I would certainly hope that) they can’t try you in absentia.

OF course, consult a lawyer first!

You must have used a credit car, check to see if it is a card that gives you rental car coverage in Europe. If not, get one for that purpose before you rent another car.
A few years ago 4 of my family had made a trio to Europe and my grandson had rented a car in Dublin. He put a large gouge in the side in a parking garage but he had called and checked with his credit card company before we left so all was well.

meanjoe75 fan- they don’t have to extradite you, they have already charged your credit card.

Yep, they tack on charges in reserve when you rent the thing to cover any damages, just like at a restaurant when they are waiting to see what the actual tip is. So the charges are already paid out from the CC company. So the only way to fight it is through the CC company such as Visa, Mastercard, etc. They do the same thing at hotels. That’s why you never use a debit card for this kind of stuff because they can lock your money up for days.

Maybe it happened after you returned the car. But I can also see how it might have been there before you rented, and you might have not noticed the damage, since it appears you have to be almost at ground level to see it. Not sure what the rental companies expect. You’d either have to crawl around the car on your hands and knees or remember to bring a mirror with you that you could glue to a stick to make an under the car inspection whenever you rent a car, sigh … I’d be frustrated by this too. Sorry you are having this difficulty.

My advice is to complain and make yourself a big time consuming nuisance, and maybe they’ll reduce the fees just to get you to go away. It seems their position is a little over the top on this one. After all rental cars get some dings and dents in them in the course of renting them out, just like any car owner experiences. And the location of this one makes it very hard to see, so it would be easy for a renter to overlook it. I think they’re not treating you well as a customer. That’s my considered opinion. I guess you already know not to do business with this company again. In the future when you rent a car you should probably both get prior insurance for this problem and bring along an inspection mirror or be prepared to crawl around under the car. And take a cell phone camera of everything you find before driving away from the lot.

The repair cost is reasonable as it doesn’t take much damage at all to hit a grand.

I also agree with Tester about some car rental agencies being a little less than honorable.

In the future if you rent a car again you might do a walk around before driving off and taking pics of any dents, scrapes, door dings, or whatever no matter how minor it appears to be.

If the car is straight then when you return it do another walk around and take pics of both sides, front and rear, etc just in case the rental agency tries to pin damage on you later.

My credit card doesn’t give me coverage but they are now disputing the issue with the rental company as well. They have frozen the money so neither of us have it.

Trust me, I am fighting it big time. I’m a student, this charge would mean that I’d have no where to live and nothing to eat for the next 2-3 months, I need this money back.

Also I’m British so am in the EU but thanks for the suggestion, haha

Well @burned695 you are in the EU for now…

Sorry for your problem, I’d fight this hard, too. Good Luck!

If the OP used an actual credit card and not a debit card they can make payments so I don’t see where the statement ( I would have nothing to eat or live ) comes from.

A pre-inspection before the rental is always a good idea. A reputable car rental business will insist on it.

Every vehicle I’ve rented…the vehicle was inspected by me and the renting agency before and after to ensure there weren’t any problems. I’ve rented well over 100 cars for business and vacations over the years.

THAT…is almost surely SNOW damage…more specifically snow n ice… Just my 2 cents… Lol Plowing the car over snow drifts that you think are soft and wind up being frozen…this leaves no scratches mind you…just dents…dents just like those.


Yeah, Honda may be on to something. Its unusual that there are no scratches or paint transfer. A curb would cause a lot of scratches, and with snow damage, you wouldn’t necessarily be aware of it.

MikeInNH: That’s the way it has always worked for me. I only use the name brand rental agencies, especially in foreign countries. I have only encountered one minor problem when turning in a Jeep CJ-7 in Mexico. The lady doing the turn in inspection noted the fuel gauge was at 3/4 full so there would be an extra charge. I had filled it to the top at a station 3 blocks away! I removed the cap and had her look in the tank. She agreed it was full and the gauge was incorrect. Now, 28 years later due to this discussion I wonder if the rental agency (AVIS) was in no hurry to fix the gauge when they could get a few extra $$ for gas not added?