They all Walked Away!!!!


Oct 30, 2002
NJ to NC to FL
From 1983 until 1987, my Bride and I owned and operated an Rent-A-Wreck franchise car rental agency in our hometown. We started with used cars and one van and as the business grew, we added new cars. I frequented state auctions and often found great deals on used federal and state owned vehicles. I also had rapport with several dealers and bought cars from them that were difficult for them to sell so needless to say we had some oddballs in our fleet.
We had a strict code of maintenance when buying used cars in that every hose and belt, regardless of wear, was replaced. All brakes and tires had to have more than half tread or they were replaced. Every car was washed and cleaned inside and out before being rented again. It was also our practice to require renters return vehicles once a week for an inspection of normal maintenance items such as air pressure, water/coolant, oil, etc. . Because we were fastidious in keeping abreast of maintenance on the vehicles, we had very few break-downs or service calls.

One rule we had was no rentals to anyone under the age of 25. This was a hard and fast rule and no exceptions were made.
One day a lady came in, her friend waiting until she made arrangements to rent a car. We rented her a Chevrolet Citation with new tires all around and low mileage. She swore it was for her use only and went on her way wit ha clean, low mileage, Citation.

Two weeks went by and she had not returned the vehicle for a weekly checkup and finally she arrived and we went over the car recognizing everything was as it should be, received payment for rental and sent her on her way. But quite honestly, I had lingering doubts about this woman. There was something out of place and I couldn't get it, until, another two weeks passed and we received a phone call from the police department in the area where she lived. They reported our vehicle had been involved in an accident but no victims were found.

We later learned she had a son and she had rented the car for him. He was a typical teenager and one sunny afternoon, he and three of his friends were speeding on a secondary road when he lost control, went up an embankment on the passenger or the right side of the highway, the vehicle rolled on its side as it skidded along the embankment and hit a power pole. Miraculously, all four occupants escaped unharmed.

Arrangements were made to return the damaged vehicle to our lot and it was noted the drive wheel tires were down to the wire cords. The kid had run the crap out of the car despite his mother's denials he was using the car. Until we asked her about the tires being so worn and it wasn't until confronted with evidence she finally admitted he had been using it all along.

The lady renting the vehicle tried to worm her way out of paying for the damaged car but as it turned out, she had insurance that followed her and the insurance company settled with us.

After four years of running this business in conjunction with our other enterprises, we decided it was time to liquidate all but businesses but one and sold the car rental, glass and locksmithing businesses to lighten the load. As an aside, in the four years we operated the car rental business we only had three accidents involving our rental vehicles.



2021 Big Gator winner <Green Monster>
Feb 21, 2014
Great story Whizz!

We should exchange stories sometime - worked in a car rental place for 10 years. Seen guns under seats. Seen calls from police saying our car was alerted to by drug dogs. it goes on...and on


Team Owner
Oct 29, 2013
I can relate, in a way. (I worked part time at a Budget Rent-a-Car while I was in school).

We had some cars returned as wrecks, too, but one renter sticks in my memory. I never met this guy, but others at the dealership told me he was an average guy and very likable - and not the type you'd expect to return cars wrecked. He certainly was an unlucky guy!

Story starts with this guy renting a car because his own car had been hit while it was parked in a store parking lot. He needed the rental car while his car was in the body shop. They rented him a late model Cutlass, which was our standard rental car at the time.

About a week later, I was given the keys to that Cutlass for clean-up. When I found the car in our lot I found that it had been hit on the driver's side right at the front seam of the door. You could open the door but only partially. Was told that the guy had it parked at a strip mall and came out of a store to find it had gotten hit. Our rental folks believed his story, and his insurance was willing to pay for repairs, so they rented him another Cutlass.

About a week after that, a tow truck brought back that second Cutlass with the whole driver's side side-swiped. The guy had parked it on the street in front of his house, and a drunk driver hit it. Since he had a police report that verified this, and the drunk driver's insurance was paying, they rented him another car (at the time I didn't know what the third car was).

My school midterm exams came up, so I didn't work for a couple of weeks. When I came back, I noticed a new Honda Accord that was badly smashed sitting in the back of our lot. This car looked like it should have been a fatality - the front end was pushed back into the rear seats! I asked about that car, and found that it was the third car that had been rented to that same guy. This time, he'd parked at a store and while he was shopping a big rig lost its brakes and plowed into it. So fortunately that car was empty when it got squished. This time the trucking company was paying to replace the car.

Found out they still rented this guy a fourth car! But they did finally require him to buy the extra rental insurance, and they also gave him a car that was nearing the end of its rental life. Must have been the right thing to do - he brought it back just fine after his own car was repaired.
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