Car Rental Checklist - Protocol for Protection

Pre-existing body damage noted with rental agent after thorough inspection, outside and inside (probable liability without notation)

Pre-existing body damage noted with rental agent after thorough inspection, outside and inside (probable liability without notation)

SubscriberWise founder and fraud expert David Howe shares checklist to protect and empower car rental customers

Be cautious, thoughtful, and aware when renting an automobile. The stakes are high and the expense in time and money can be substantial. Carry the checklist and use it every time”
— David Howe, SubscriberWise CEO and national child identity guardian

TAMPA, FL, USA, November 12, 2017 / -- Before operating and leaving a rental location property, the following checklist details critical recommendations to protect personal property and minimize consumer victimization:

• Confirm all reservation details when contract is presented/revised by agent including the make and model of the vehicle assigned

• Confirm that the mileage indicated on contract matches the mileage on odometer. Take photo of odometer before leaving agency and take photo of mileage at check-in

• Take photos of entire vehicle, inside and out (note soiled/dirty/damaged interiors because agencies may charge hundreds of dollars for cleaning and repair). Open trunk and hood and look for evidence of damage. Take photos under wheel wells and under body. Look for ‘hidden’ damage and take photos of everything that concerns you. Lightly tap the body of the entire vehicle and note any parts that are loose, misaligned, or damaged.

Tip: Use the flashlight on your smartphone to check under wheel wells and underneath the car. Do the same for the interior to note any stains, spills, scratches, or other interior damage.

• Confirm gas tank is full and have agent note any exceptions. Watch for mileage minimums that trigger automatic refueling charges. Keep gas receipt to show agent. Double check the final receipt before leaving as “fuel” charges are often itemized with other charges and may be inconspicuous

• Have booth agent note any and all concerns. Write in plain language any damage, no matter how minor, on contract or ‘damage slip’. If agent dismisses claims, have individual record it anyway. If agent refuses, contact manager and make a video recording of event. If any predatory or criminal behavior is identified, take photos and don’t hesitate to contact police/port authority immediately. Document everything.

• Take photos of entire vehicle, inside and out, upon rental check in. If possible, upload photos of vehicle condition to independent server and save for at least 6 months. Otherwise, store images on your local drive.

• Carefully confirm total charges match estimated charges. Watch for fuel fees that are automatically charged despite gas receipts and full tanks.

• Carefully confirm the final mileage and confirm it matches exactly with the final receipt.

• Be aware of ‘Damage Evaluators’, particularly if minor wear and tear is identified at check in. Make sure required protocols are followed and damage evaluators are used. If agents and/or manager refuse protocol, call the police/port authority and ask for a report immediately (yes, airports have law enforcement officials on site if you need assistance and don’t hesitate to ask for help).

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