On February 17, 2011 we rented a car from Thrifty (USA) on the InterNet on-line for our trip to Italy, commencing on Jun 02, 2011 at the Fiumicino Airport in Rome for 19 days. The total rent was Euro 635.76, plus the price of the gas (we could not find a gasoline station nearby), plus a penalty of Euro 14.62, total Euro 730.28. I paid this amount with my AMEX on June 21, 2011. Thrifty has had subcontracted the rental to Auto Europa, who made up their rental contract on site, with different break-down, but amounting to the same. The Rental Agreement # 0001695, dated June 02, 2011.
In Europe, and so in Italy too, the AMEX Gold Card guarantee for car rental insurance (CDW) is not accepted, you cannot decline it! So Hertz and Avis simply include the full insurance in the cost of the car rental, which makes it very expensive. Auto Europa advertises itself as "The Low Cost car rental", and as such they did not charge the Collision & Damage insurance right in the rental cost, but they took a security deposit on my AMEX card in the amount of Euro 1485.76. Upon returning the car without any damage, this deposit is returned to the Renter, as it happened last year also in Italy.
The car we got was a Peugeot 206 with 1.1l gasoline engine. The odometer reading at the commencement of the rental was 18098 km, i.e. the car was definitely not a new car. As a matter of fact, it had small dents and scratches all around the body at least in 15 different places. The rental agent told us not to worry, everything were marked on the Inspection sheet. When we went to the garage to pick up the car, upon noticing the scratches, we inspected the car ourselves and found another 10-15 scratches, which were not even marked on the inspection sheet. We marked these also on the inspection sheet, but since we could not find a single attendant around, it was around 7 o'clock at night, we drove off.
Upon returning the car, the inspection noted a small stone chipping on the windshield at the center of the driver side. I know, it happened, but it was so small, they would not have noticed it, if the rain downpour a day before had not cleaned the windshield. There was no crack around the chipping, just a tiny dent. They also noted another scratch at the rear of the driver side, which was allegedly not marked on the inspection sheet, I repeat, the inspection sheet had about 25-30 dents and scratches marked already all around the car, so I really do not know, how they could tell, if it was new scratch! Nevertheless, they refused to return my security deposit. A month later they charged me Euro 712.79. A detailed repair bill followed a month later by registered mail. Instead of repairing the stone chipping, thay replaced the entire windshield at a cost of Eu. 556.99. A small stone chip damage like this costs $45.00 to repair in Toronto. For the allegedly new scratch on the body, they resurfaced the body with 4 hours work, which was another Eu. 148.80, very probably fixing all the other 29 or so scratches that were already there before I picked up the car, using my safety deposit. Strangely, they did not do this before they rented the car out., but now it was I who paid for it. I belived that since my Gold AMEX card has car rental insurance coverage and will take care of the justified repair bill. Never believe it! AMEX refused my request to block the payment of this repair bill, until their Insurance company investigates it, so I had to pay it. So much about the AMEX Gold card car Theft and Damage Insurance guarantee.