- I’m Taking My Mom To Greece!
- Guide To The UK Passenger Locator Form & Testing
- How & Why To Use VeriFLY For International Travel
- How To Complete Greece’s Passenger Locator Form
- A Perfect American Airlines Transatlantic Business Class Flight
- Grrr: Our Unlucky London Heathrow Misconnect
- A Lovely British Airways Business Class Experience
- Greece’s (Unfair?) Reputation For Bad Service
- I Finally Visited Crete: My New Favorite Greek Island?
- Review: Domes Zeen Chania, Marriott Luxury Collection
- Review: Blue Palace Elounda, Marriott Luxury Collection
- Ugh: I Was Accused Of Damaging My Rental Car
- Review: SeaJets Ferries Greece
- Our Unexpected Stay At Mystique Santorini #Bonvoyed
- Review: Canaves Oia Epitome Santorini
- Review: Katikies Mykonos Hotel
- Review: Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace
- Review: Emirates 777 First Class Athens To Newark
I suppose all’s well that ends well, but there’s still a lesson to be learned here…
In this post:
Always take pictures or videos of your rental car
There are many aspects of the rental car experience that I find frustrating. Most rental cars have some damage when you pick them up, and it can be tough to figure out what needs to be reported and marked, and what doesn’t.
While there are usually forms that can be marked to indicate damage, they’re often not very exact. The diagram of the car is maybe an inch big, so it’s never really going to tell the full story of damage to a car.
To avoid issues on your return, I always recommend taking pictures of your car when you pick it up, so that you have proof of the condition it was in. It can even make sense to take a quick video while walking around the car. Also always include a picture of the facility with the car in it, so you can prove that the pictures were taken when you picked up the car.
This is something I always do… well, almost always.
My Crete car rental damage disagreement
We rented a car for our week in Crete, picking up the car at Chania Airport, and returning it at Heraklion Airport. I rented through National (which I’ve grown to love), though in reality it was an Enterprise vehicle, since they seem to share inventory in Crete.
The rental car office was at an off-airport location, and the employee who helped us was exceptionally professional and kind. He was thorough, and explained that he had photographed the car in daylight (prior to our pick-up), so there was no need for us to mark damage. Personally I far prefer the concept of the car being photographed rather than damage being marked, so I appreciated that.
Now, I’d almost always take my own pictures, but go figure this was the one time that I didn’t:
- It had been a ridiculously long travel day, and it was approaching midnight (we flew from Tampa to Charlotte to London to Athens to Chania, and even had a misconnect, so we had been traveling for 30+ hours)
- I was with my mom and her partner, and as you can imagine, we were all exhausted at this point
- The car rental office was in a poorly lit area, making it tougher to get good pictures
Anyway, the car served us well for a week, and when I returned the car at at Heraklion location, the employee carefully inspected the exterior. She looked at every scratch, and then eventually focused on the rear left bumper.
As you can see below, there were a couple of scratches and a small dent there, and it also seemed like there may have been more substantial bumper damage at some point, because the panels underneath the left tail light weren’t attached in a perfectly aligned manner (I don’t know how better to describe that, but hopefully the picture explains the situation better than I can).
Based on the piece of paper she had, she suggested that I was responsible for the damage, and that the car didn’t previously have that damage.
Let me state that I’m 100% sure that was there when I picked up the car. If I were responsible for it I would own my mistake. On top of that, I have car rental coverage with the credit card I paid with, so while some paperwork would be required, I wouldn’t be out of pocket for the damage regardless.
Fortunately I remembered that the person who rented us the car in Chania had taken pictures of the car, so I reminded the employee at the Heraklion location of this. She asked me to follow her into the office, so that she could pull up the pictures.
Sure enough there were several pictures of the car, which we looked at together. Yay, this will vindicate me, right? Well, not quite…
Go figure none of the pictures definitively showed whether that bumper damage was there, due to the angles at which the pictures were taken, and the glare.
We both agreed we couldn’t tell one way or another whether the damage was there based on the pictures. Her takeaway seemed to be that I was therefore responsible for the damage, while my takeaway was the opposite. 😉
I explained that:
- I was certain the damage was there when I picked up the car
- I was assured that any damage to the car was documented in pictures
- The pictures didn’t show that this part of the car wasn’t damaged
She kept looking at the pictures and typing, and eventually told me I could leave, though she clearly wasn’t happy. I assume that means I’m in the clear, because I haven’t received a bill, but who really knows…
And I just want to be totally clear, I don’t think there was any foul play here on the car rental company’s part — the employee who rented us the car was professional and did indeed take pictures of the car, they just didn’t end up capturing everything that needed to be captured.
Always take pictures or a video of your car rental when you pick it up, and take close-in shots of any damage. Stupidly I didn’t do that in Crete, due to a combination of being tired, the lighting being bad, and generally being trusting of the rental car company having taken pictures of the car. Go figure the one time I don’t take pictures it backfires.
Fortunately in the end the issue seemed to resolve itself, but I’m not going to make this mistake again.
Have you ever (incorrectly) been accused of damaging a rental car?