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syriansteve's avatar

I rented a car, and the Valet Parking person at the Hotel hit the car. I didn't know about the damage until I returned the car. How can I make him pay for the repair?

Asked by syriansteve (41points) June 11th, 2011

I rented a car from Enterprise, and the Valet Parking person at the Sheraton Hotel hit the car. He didn’t tell me about the damage, and I didn’t know about it until I returned the car to the rental company. It’s going to cost over a $1,000 to fix it and I don’t have the money. Besides, neither my credit card company nor my insurance policy covers it. I really feel terrible to be responsible for something I didn’t do. How can I make him pay for the repair?
Please share if you have ideas.

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8 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Welcome to Fluther!

May I ask two questions first?
1.) Enterprise does not rent to a person without proof of insurance or a contract with a company where potential costs from damage will be covered by that company. So, I am assuming that you have car insurance, but that the deductible is set for a minimum of paying out $1000. Is this correct?
2.) How do you know that it was the hotel valet that caused the damage? The reason I ask is that I used to work at a hotel where guest cars were valet parked, but as an employee, I had access to the garage and could park my own car. In either case, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove that a hotel employee is the guilty party, unless you have proof or the employee confesses.

If you answer these two questions, we might be able to help you build a case in your defense.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

A big hotel like that often has security cameras. Maybe there is evidence on tape. If their cameras were good enough even a license plate number. I would start there to see if I could find out just how and what vehicle struck the car you rented.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I would beg to differ. Not all hotels that have valet parking are large. I’ve stayed as several that are relatively small that offer this service, and I have worked for a few large hotels that allow guests to park their own car in the garage.

The suggestion of asking that security camera tapes to be viewed is a good one. In reality, it is unlikely to produce evidence. Hotels, even large ones, do not always have security cameras. Some have fake ones mounted in order to deter crime, but they do not record. Others that do have them do not save the recordings, but have them re-record over an extremely limited period of time. They aren’t often strategically pointed in directions that cover all areas of the garage. The incident might not have happened in the garage or on the hotel’s grounds. This is all offered as a ‘don’t get your hopes up’. It is still worthy of investigation.

@syriansteve The last time I rented from Enterprise, they walked me through a basic investigation of the vehicle that included marking off existing damages and noting them on the contract. When I returned the car, I mentioned the chip in the windshield that I didn’t notice until I was heading out of town. The agent pointed out on the contract drawing of the vehicle that they were already aware of it. If it hadn’t been, then I would consider it my fault for not looking more closely out in advance. As much as I hate to read the fine print, I have learned to do so.

john65pennington's avatar

Go to the manager of the hotel. Tell him what happened. Before you go, write down the chain of events of how the damage occured. Does the valet driver still work there? If so, have the manager call him in for a talk. You will have to fill out some paperwork for the hotel and they also may require a delayed police report. Some police depts. do this, others do not.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@john65pennington I’m going to take a wild guess on this, but here goes. The OP probably does not live in the same town as the hotel since a rental car was involved. It is a good suggestion to contact the hotel manager armed with dates of the stay and hotel room number. As a former manager, I would want to know about this.

The challenge is that since the OP wasn’t aware of any damage until the car was returned, there is no way to prove when it happened or by whom. The hotel manager/owner, at best, will talk to the valet parkers in private. The chances of one of them admitting to guilt is slim to none, or they would have already done so, and the guest would have been alerted. Even if records are kept about which valet attendant parked/retrieved each car, which is highly unlikely, it cannot be proven that this employee was at fault. Another employee might have damaged the car when they were parking another.

JLeslie's avatar

This is why I hate to valet. Especially with a rental car. I have had several friends tell me how ridiculous I am. I have also been teased for not letting somoen move my rental car out of the driveway to let another car out, I insisted on doing it, because if they crash I am screwed, they are not a driver on my policy for rentals, and even those 20 feet I don’t want to risk because it will be an awful situatiin if something bad does happen. However, there have been times I have allowed a valet to park my renyal when it was very impractical not to, sometimes there is no other choice.

Valet’s at a hotel most likely have insurance, but since you had already left the premises it is like a he said she said. Even when you see a hit they can try to say it was there already. That happened to a friend of mine who left her car at a dealership to be repaired, and she noticed when she picked up the car. I would try calling the management, I think that is a good idea. Also, is it $1000 because that is your insurance deductable?

AshlynM's avatar

Usually I try to avoid all valet parking simply because of the trust issue.

You’d need to prove it was that particular employee who caused the damage.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

You need to get a report from the parking company’s manager.

Parking services are independent from the business they service.

Give the report to the rental car company.

I avoid these headaches by opting to fully insure my rentals.

Terrorists could blow the car to pieces and I would be able to just walk away.

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