Let us paint a picture for you: You and your significant other have a free weekend and a few extra bucks to burn, you head to your local Enterprise rental company and pick-up a new 2013 Ford Mustang to take on a cruise. You return the car the next day, a Sunday, when the rental store is closed. You follow the directions of where to park the Mustang and how to deposit the keys in the proper lock box. You then leave and expect everything will be fine. The next day you get a phone call from the rental company acknowledging it received your Mustang’s keys, but it has no Mustang. You panic, call the cops, they investigate, and later determine the car was in fact stolen. Relieved that you now know what happened, you move on and expect the insurance companies to handle it. Three months later, while checking your mail, you notice a bill from Enterprise for $47,000 for the replacement cost of a 2013 Ford Mustang. What do you do?
This is the exact scenario that took place for Kristen Cockerill, of Dartmouth, N.S., who rented a Mustang in October, 2013. Just recently she contacted CBC News out of Nova Scotia, Canada, where she lives, and they’ve been attempting to help her resolve the situation. What began as a fun getaway weekend, a day trip to the South Shore of the Canadian province, has turned into a financial nightmare.
“We are continuing to review the case," Enterprise spokesman Ned Maniscalco wrote CBC in an email. "It is our intention to work with the customer and her insurance company to achieve a fair and reasonable outcome."
Cockerill and her partner enjoyed the Ford Mustang convertible for a two-day rental, but was later billed for the car being stolen from the Enterprise parking lot. Her insurer said the car wasn't in her control, so it shouldn't be her problem. According to Enterprise, if her insurance won’t cover the cost, she’ll still be billed. The rental company plans to bill the $47,000 to the credit card she used to rent the Mustang.
"Sometimes customers mistakenly believe if they didn’t personally cause or witness any damage that they are not responsible," Maniscalco said. "This is one of the most common misconceptions," he said, "In fact, customers are financially responsible for any damage or theft that occurs during a rental transaction, regardless of fault or negligence — just as if they owned the rental vehicle themselves."
As of today, no resolution has been made. We’ll keep you posted if we hear the outcome of this dilemma. One thing to take note: no matter what happens to your rental vehicle, you may responsible for it even after you drop it off.