Amy’s response…

This gas guzzler could be yours!

This gas guzzler could be yours!

First we’d like to thank so many of you for writing in and leaving your comments! Good debate.

Okay, so on to the right answer… Well, after questioning Paul a little further on the subject, and having determined that 1. He could not prove definitely that the rental car president had sex with a goat (Paul admitted it could have been a large dog or small seeing eye pony) and 2. Everyone has a different definition of “perverse” so best not to be too judgmental on the subject, Amy decided she should simply tackle the rental car damage issue, the proverbial “he said/she said” aspect of this kerfuffle.

Here’s her response:

Dear Paul of Brooklyn,

You’d be surprised how many people, when faced with harassing calls or seemingly completed investigations, simply send in money. The rental car company may have figured it was worth a shot.  If you did not cause the damage you are right to fight the matter. You are also well within your rights to tell them not to contact you again and that should stop the phone calls (although if you want them to send you a release, you’ll now have to go back and tell them you were just kidding about them not contacting you again and that you would in fact like them to send you a release letter. More on the release letter below).

If they continue to hound you by telephone, you can let them know that since this is an attempt to collect a debt and that you believe the calls are harassing, you’d like to speak to a supervisor because you believe they are violating fair credit and collection practices.

That said, if they really believe that you caused the damage, they may stop calling you but they would not be prevented from filing a small claims action against you. You didn’t say (or perhaps I missed?) how much they claim the damage cost or how they arrived at that figure but assuming that it’s less than a few thousand dollars, they do have the right to go to small claims court and file a complaint.  And honestly that would be fine because it would allow you to highlight their complete lack of evidence (as an aside, that would give you the opportunity to file a counterclaim for the carpet cleaning as well as the cost to get the hoof prints off the ceiling).  But since their attempts to collect a dubious debt have been unsuccessful and they should be aware that they have no proof that you caused the damage—since you did not—this will likely be the end of the matter.

It is unsettling to have a threat hanging over your head and it would be great to get them to send a release letter if you are willing to re-engage, but it’s not necessary if it doesn’t make you too nervous to take the no-news-is-good-news view of the situation and hope that it goes away.

I am not a New York attorney (and in the spirit of legal disclaimer I need to add that I am not your attorney), but if they do file a suit or if they hound you further, you can speak to a lawyer in your area.

Best,

Amy

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