$452 bill charged after requesting help for lost engagement ring
$452 bill charged after requesting help for lost engagement ring

$452 bill charged after requesting help for lost engagement ring

Q: I recently rented a car with Enterprise in Miami. While I was using the vehicle, I lost my engagement ring. I told an employee about it, and he agreed to look for my jewelry.

The next day, I called Enterprise to see if they found the ring. An employee told me they would charge me for some repairs while looking for the ring and that the ring was “a hazard.”

Two days later, I found my engagement ring at home. Eventually, I received a bill from the Enterprise claims department for $452 for damage done to the car while looking for my ring. I told them I didn’t think that was fair. I returned the car exactly as I had picked it up. Can you help me? — Carmen Santos, Miami

A: I’ve had plenty of cases involving renters damaging their cars. But this is the first story of a car rental company charging a customer for its own damage.

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Enterprise’s bill is interesting. It charged you almost $100 for “scanning” the vehicle. Then there’s work to the glove box and the instrument panel, with almost eight hours of labor. It looks like the company took your rental apart to find your ring.

I’m not saying the charges are bogus. But someone from Enterprise should have apprised you of the extra charges for finding your ring. Unless you told the company, “Do whatever it takes to find the ring; I don’t care about the cost” — which you didn’t — Enterprise should have obtained approval before tearing the car apart.

Your case offers a lesson in the importance of effective communication. If you ask a company for something, make sure you get a price before it starts the work. If the price is right, try to get an estimate in writing. Otherwise, you could get broadsided by the final bill.

You might have written a brief, polite appeal to Enterprise, noting that you did not knowingly order the work performed. If the company insisted on charging you, then you could have appealed to an Enterprise corporate contact I list on my website, Elliott.org.

I contacted Enterprise to find out more about your charges. The company said it would drop the $452 bill.

Traveling on spring break? Get your flights now, because according to Hopper prices are diving up! Buzz60’s Maria Mercedes Galuppo has the story.

Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine. You can read more travel tips on his blog, elliott.org”>elliott.org, or email him at [email protected]

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