What should I do if I have a problem with a rental car?

The car is amazing… well, especially when it’s running! Having any problem with your own vehicle is already painful, but driving in a rental car, you prefer to avoid it! If we are more or less able to estimate how much a car rental costs by using the good reflexes described in this practical guide and avoiding the pitfalls, we are talking much less about dealing with unforeseen events. Here is an overview of the most common situations and our advice on how to react if a problem arises with your rental car.

What should you do if you receive a fine?

Nothing or almost. Whether you are driving a car rented from an agency or from an individual: same highway code, same fight! The only difference is that in addition to your reason for the treasury and other possible costs (in connection with an immobilization for example), vyou pay administration fees to the landlordbecause he is the one who receives the report and sends your information to the authorities.

Once the ticket is in hand, you have the right to dispute the offense if another driver named in the contract was driving, if the car was stolen, or if you circumvented the law in a case of force majeure.

What if you lose the keys?

Yes, it happens… And much more often than you might imagine! Unfortunately, this is considered gross negligence, which the insurance does not cover.

Contact the rental company to resolve this inconvenience that you would have avoided. He will often be able to provide you with a duplicate of the keys, which must be collected from an agency or received. Depending on where you are, it may take 48 hours for a traditional company to ship them to you (potentially more for a person-to-person platform that needs to find the owner). If this action is not possible, the lessor will have the vehicle removed. This removal will be invoiced to you as well as the return of the keys (between €150 and €300, depending on the circumstances).

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What to do if you have an accident?

Given the importance of the topic, we have devoted an entire article to it what to do in case of an accident of which we give you a summary here, so that you can react well.

From conditions for renting a car and the landlord’s obligations, there is a contract to be drawn up, clear, substantiated and transparent. You will find it indicated in black and white the emergency number to contact in case of a problem. Once the perimeter is secured and the emergency services alerted if necessary, it is indeed imperative to notify the landlord as soon as possible.

You must then complete the report stored in the glove compartment. In case of deep disagreement with another driver involved, note the registration of his vehicle, his insurance and the number of the contract written on his green sticker to continue each on your side.

Based on the circumstances of the accident explained to the rental company, the latter will decide whether you can return to the road or whether it is necessary to organize an emergency assistance, a towing or even a replacement. In any case, never leave the vehicle and do not initiate repairs unilaterally, you will not be refunded.

Know that if you are not responsible, you have nothing to pay as it is the opposite insurance that takes care of everything. If you are, the bill will depend on your insurance coverage.

rental car accident

What to do if you break up?

A rental company is legally obliged to deliver a car in perfect condition as well as all the useful information and other technical characteristics of the model.

During the rental period, you are responsible for the routine maintenance of the vehicle (fuel, oil and water level, tire pressure, etc.). The landlord is responsible for its general maintenance. So a little reminder: during the check-in, remember to check the turn signals, these are by definition good clues about the car’s health.

In case of breakdown or mechanical failure, call the assistance number specified in your contract. The landlord must offer you solutions and pay for the repairs, or reimburse you if you have to pay the bill. This also applies to other costs that arise as a result of this breakdown, such as a hotel room or a transport ticket for example. In connection with a rental between individuals via Getaround or OuiCar, the assistance takes care of everything, including emergency assistance and transport home. In both cases, you can provide a replacement vehicle under certain conditions.

rental car breakdown

What to do if your vehicle is stolen?

In case of theft (or even attempted theft) of your car, file a complaint within 48 hours at a police station and quickly inform the agency or rental platform. The police report will confirm the exact circumstances of the offense and clear you of any gross negligence (which would make you liable for the price of the car, “a detail”!).

If it is included in the contract, or if you have taken out additional cover against theft, the insurance covers the costs (unfortunately excluding reimbursement of personal effects that may have been on board). However, the excess will be deducted from your account if you have not redeemed it in whole or in part in advance.

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What should I do in the event of a dispute with the landlord and/or a retained deposit?

Regardless the type of car rental you have chosen, a disagreement may arise and it is better to resolve it amicably.

That procedure in the event of a dispute with a landlord is the same as the one to be activated in the event of non-repayment of the deposit (illegal by the way, if the return statement does not show any damage).

To sum it up in a few words:

  • First discuss with the rental company’s customer service or the person-to-person platform.
  • If your attempts fail, contact the consumer intermediary whose contact details you will find in the contract or the DGCCRF in case of incorrect or missing information, misleading advertising or abusive pricing.
  • Depending on the size of the dispute, you must finally enter the Tribunal d’Instance or Tribunal de Grande Instance knowing that it will potentially be long and expensive.

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Credit: istock

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