Please sign in to post.

letter from rental car company

I just received a letter from Sixt, the rental company we used last year (June 2019) on our trip to Italy, stating that they didn't receive payment for an overdue charge for a speeding ticket and if the fee isn't paid by 8/13/2020 they're sending it to their collection agency! This letter arrived on 9/3/2020. This is the first letter we received from Sixt, have others experienced this with rental car companies in Europe? Any advice? Thanks

Posted by
7209 posts

Things like that are the main reason for me taking trains and avoiding rental cars like the plague. People talk about the “freedom” that rental cars give...nope.

Posted by
4595 posts

This forum is rife with first time posters asking about parking tickets and speeding tickets that come a year or more after the event. It seems to take forever to find its way over the ocean to your mail box. Italy in particular seems slow (thus people consider, also suspect). If it makes sense, write them back stating it is a first notice - and pay the bill. You may want to try and state as you haven't been notified before, you don't want to pay overdue charges - but if nominal, just pay up.

Posted by
5428 posts

People talk about the “freedom” that rental cars give...nope.

I rent a car pretty much on every trip unless it's a weekend city break. It provides great freedom and in all this time I've received two speeding tickets from Spain, entirely my own fault and no complaint from me, paid the fine and took it on the chin.

There are no scams involved in renting a car from a reputable company, no scams by the local authorities or law enforcement, nothing deceitful or intended to catch you out, it just appears that some people don't bother to do their homework. There's no reason to avoid renting a car, just don't assume that driving in another country is the same as driving at home.

Posted by
3521 posts

Is the letter for the actual ticket, or is it for the fee they charge to provide your information to the enforcement agency so they can send the ticket to you?

JC, The problem is that most people from the US believe the only right way for traffic tickets is how it is done at home. The concept that traffic cameras can take an enforceable ticket and it doesn't have be issued to you by an actual police officer in person just seems to completely go over the head of people. If you broke the law, you broke the law, even if there was only a camera there to see it.

If you have not familiarized yourself with the traffic laws in foreign countries, don't be surprised by the results. I prefer letting someone else do the driving, after all if I am there on vacation why would I want the stress of driving in an unfamiliar country with unfamiliar laws and an unfamiliar language?

Posted by
6113 posts

I hire a car in Europe for on average 9 weeks a year and I take my own car to mainland Europe for 6+ weeks a year. Last year we had our first ever speeding ticket from Europe - France, driving our own car in an area where speed limits had recently changed.

I have used Sixt numerous times and have never had any issues.

If you were in the area where the offence occurred, pay the bill.

Posted by
23471 posts

The normal procedure (if anything is normal in Italy) is for the ticketing agency to contact the rental company asking for the id of who was operating the vehicle at the time of the ticket. The rental company will forward that information AND charge your credit card an administration fee upwards to 30,40 dollars for providing this service. Somewhere in all of the paper work you signed for the rental you agreed to that charge. You have to pay that fee. The rental company does NOT pay the traffic fine. That is a separate issue. Later you should received a notice of violation and the amount of fine to be paid. That will be mailed directly to you.

I guessing from your very limited information, that the rental company is asking for the administrative fee. You probably cannot avoiding paying that. It is pain. Unfortunately this experience is not uncommon.

Posted by
7463 posts

Travel forum life is returning to normal! We haven’t had our normal quantity of Italian driving & illegal parking tickets questions for months.

Do a search on the topic; there’s lots of previous answers that will be helpful.

Posted by
11511 posts

Odd that Sixt is sending you to a collection agency. The typical process is the rental company just runs their charge through on your credit card (the one you used to pay for the rental).

Its the police agency that usually might end up sending the ticket to a collection agency.

Have you contacted Sixt to find out the details are regarding the notice they sent?

Posted by
2 posts

Yes I received a notice for the speeding ticket (my son’s BTW) in May and paid that. I’ll call pay it, just suspicious of the fact that it says the already sent me notices, this is the last one and it was due three weeks ago.

What’s the best way to pay this? I used transferwise for the city ticket

Thanks

Posted by
2916 posts

Things like that are the main reason for me taking trains and avoiding rental cars like the plague. People talk about the “freedom” that rental cars give...nope.

It would be better if this poster would make an attempt to answer the OP's question.

Posted by
2916 posts

Car vandalism, break-in, and theft are big problems in Europe

In 30+ years of renting cars in France, I've never had that experience; I've had several at home though. Having read enough on this forum, I know it occurs, but I don't worry about it.

Posted by
2916 posts

The puzzling thing about the OP's situation is that the letter came from Sixt, not the authorities. If, as some have suggested, it's the administrative fee for sending the driver information to the authorities, why didn't Sixt just charge that to the credit card used for the rental. The one time I got a ticket in France, that's exactly what happened.

Posted by
27431 posts

I would guess the OP has gotten a new credit-card number since he rented the car. Sixt probably tried to charge the old card, but it didn't go through.

Posted by
91 posts

Mark Replied "The problem is that most people from the US believe the only right way for traffic tickets is how it is done at home. The concept that traffic cameras can take an enforceable ticket and it doesn't have be issued to you by an actual police officer in person just seems to completely go over the head of people. If you broke the law, you broke the law, even if there was only a camera there to see it."

That may be the problem in some cases.

In my experience, and it sounds like the OP's, is how long it takes to notify the driver of the infraction.
With mstcare's case, sounds like Sixt didn't get payment for providing the renter's information to the Italian police. As others have stated, this fee is agreed upon when you rent, and is typically automatically charged to the card you used for the rental. Maybe her card expired, or was canceled.

In my case, EuroCar charged me 35E, provided my info to the Portuguese Police, and I am still waiting from my ticket 8 months after I was initially notified. I have no problem paying the ticket, nor the fee asses by rental company.

MY PROBLEM is when late fees are tacked on and you haven't even been notified of the offence. I ran a red light camera in Netherlands, and I got the fine letter 10 days after my return. That is crazy fast, maybe a 30/60 day window is reasonable. But to start the fine from day one is a bit much.

And I agree trains are neat, and I've had cars broken into (Germany, Italy, Ireland), but there is no other way to see the countryside, and stop where ever you want, unless you want to bicycle or can afford a private driver.

Posted by
2916 posts

I think targeting of tourist cars is pretty common.

I'm sure that's true, but it also depends on where you are. For example, while I've almost always rented a car in France, I haven't done so when I've stayed in a large city. Nor have I parked very often in heavily touristed places.

I would guess the OP has gotten a new credit-card number since he rented the car. Sixt probably tried to charge the old, but it didn't go through.

I had thought of that as a possibility, although if that's the case, the communication Sixt sent seems kind of strident.

Posted by
19170 posts

I've almost always rented a car in France,

I can understand for France, because their rail network has some big under-served areas, but not so for Germany, which has the largest rail system in western Europe, and the second most dense, by 1%, to Switzerland's. I've spent over five months in Germany (and Austria) over 11 trips since 2000, and I have never needed a car to get to where I wanted to go - and 85% of the towns I've stayed in had 20,000 or fewer people - public transportation's not just for big cities.

It would be better if this poster would make an attempt to answer the OP's question.

In other words, don't bring up things I don't want to hear.

Posted by
1225 posts

I have rented cars twice, once in England and once on the Orkney Islands, and haven't had any issues. And if Covid hadn't cancelled my April trip, I would have rented one in France as well. So I haven't experienced what you have, but it does happen, and I imagine that if I had been in the location they cite on the ticket at the time they site and it isn't an over the top fee, I would just pay it. With lots of documentation of course.

I too like the freedom of having a vehicle for getting to more out of the way places, but depending on my type of trip and where I'm going and want to see, if I don't have to use a car, I don't. So it really depends.

Posted by
174 posts

Still waiting 2 1/2 years later for our supposed ticket from Germany, car also rented from Sixt. We had to pay Sixt a fee for processing(?) of approx. 30 euros and they said we would be receiving a ticket in the mail.....has never happened. Don't think I will ever use Sixt again!

Posted by
19170 posts

Until Sixt turned you in, the jurisdiction in Germany didn't know who it was that had exceeded the speed limit, [added] just that they were driving a rental owned by Sixt. Maybe when they found out that the car renter was from the US, they decided it wasn't worth trying to collect.

Posted by
20461 posts

Like Lee said. And Sixt is still my go-to rental outfit in Europe.