A stolen Mustang ruined the new year for a Nova Scotia woman, Kristen Cockerill, after she was left with $47,000 bill for missing car. In October, Cockerill rented the Ford Mustang GT convertible from Enterprise rentals in Dartmouth. Her husband returned the car at the end of the two-day rental period on a Sunday evening. The location was closed, but the keys were placed in a secure drop box as the contract had instructed. The next morning, Enterprise phoned Ms. Cockerill to say they had the keys but the car was missing. Halifax police later confirmed the car was stolen. Thinking that was the end of the story, Cockerill got rid of her paperwork and went on with her life
But on Monday last week, nearly 4 months after she returned the Mustang, she received a letter from Enterprise informing her she was going to be charged for the full $47,000 replacement cost of the Mustang. When she said that it had been returned in pristine condition and that the vehicle was stolen from Enterprise property, they reminded her that per their agreement she was responsible for the car until it had been checked back into the care of the rental agency. The unexpected bill for the stolen Mustang ruined the new year for the Nova Scotia woman, who says she declined the extra coverage offered by Enterprise because she thought she was covered by her own auto insurance plan. Cockerill’s broker is looking into the matter, and Enterprise says they are willing to work with all parties involved to reach a fair conclusion. However, if the policy is found not to cover the stolen Mustang, the credit card used to rent it will be charged the full amount required to replace the sports car.
Even if the bill for the car does end up disappearing, Cockerill is worried that other customers may encounter the same issue. Enterprise was quick to point out that there is a sign near the return parking spaces that reminds renters that they are still accountable for their vehicles until the next business day, but if the car is returned in the evening, it may be missed in the dark. Having never rented a car before, Cockerill feels that Enterprise should have been more forthcoming with the terms of her coverage, going over the exact point of transfer with her when the car was first rented.
After the stolen Mustang ruined the new year for the Nova Scotia woman, Cockerill says she would have rented the car an extra day despite charges, or purchased the extra coverage offered if it had covered this possibility. However, since she was unaware of the terms, she saw no need. Enterprise said in a statement that customers commonly believe that they are not responsible for damage they do not see or cause themselves, but the rental terms show that they are responsible for the vehicle as if it was their own. Cockerill’s insurance agency disagrees and the matter is still being reviewed by both parties.
By Daniel O’Brien