Ontario Man Told He Could Pay $1,000 for Damage to Rental Car He Never Drove

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An Ontario man who went to pick up a rental car and realized it has been broken into said the firm told him he might pay $1,000 when he reported the damage.

Toronto man Rares Pateanu said he tried to rent a car on Saturday from car-sharing company Zipcar so he could use it to transport home groceries from Costco.

The man (65) said when he went to get the vehicle from an underground parking garage, he noticed a window was broken and that wires were exposed under the steering wheel.

“I put two-and-two together and realized this is a break-in,” Pateanu told the media in Toronto on Monday. “It looked like they tried to wire the car somehow, but clearly they didn’t succeed.”

He said he immediately contacted Zipcar to report the matter and that is when they told him his account would be suspended.

“They were treating me like I’m responsible for this break-in,” he said. “Why would I want to break into a car that I paid for and have the key for?”

He said he was told to submit pictures of the damage and that the firm would be in touch.

When he arrived home, he said he got an e-mail from the company telling him he could be responsible for the first $1,000 in damages.

The man said he was told his account would as well remain suspended for many weeks to come while the matter is being investigated.

“Telling me I might be liable for $1,000 is hugely insensitive and very lousy customer service,” Pateanu said.

He also was not refunded the $40 it cost him to rent the car initially.

“The circumstances here were blinding obvious,” he said. “There was no reasonableness anywhere in the process.”

When the media contacted Zipcar on Monday to ask about the incident, they immediately called Pateanu to apologize.

The company reactivated his membership, reimbursed him the rental charges and added $125 of credit to his account.

Zipcar also told the media that they would

“learn from this incident and work to improve the experience for all members moving forward.”

The man said he is happy with the resolution, but said it

“shouldn’t take the intervention of a major news organization to be treated fairly.”

“But eventually they did the right thing.”

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