Get Gephardt helps Utah couple stuck paying for car rental crash damage they didn’t cause

Mar 11, 2024, 10:46 PM | Updated: Mar 12, 2024, 7:19 am

SANDY – A trip to Costa Rica started with a bang for a Utah couple.

Landen Powell and Kamryn Liiamatta said an 18-wheeler hauling concrete culvert pipes hit them at a toll gate with just enough force to push their rental car into the car ahead of them.

“We’d been in it for an hour,” said Liiamatta. “Less than an hour.”

“We were actually surprised we didn’t get injured,” said Powell.

One police report and a tow truck ride later, they were back at the Alamo counter, but not exactly making new friends.

An 18-wheeler rear-ended Kamryn Liimatta’s and Landen Powell’s rental car, causing $2,000 worth in damages. (Aubrey Shafer, KSL TV)

“They made us pay for the car damages,” Liiamatta said.

Liiamatta and Powell told KSL the Alamo reps at the counter demanded they cough up nearly $2,000 for damages, right there on the spot, even though the semi driver admitted fault and the couple was carrying a travel insurance policy from a third party.

They paid the bill, planning to work it out with the insurance later. But then their claim was denied.

“As the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident is not a driver listed in the rental agreement,” Liiamatta read in the denial letter from the insurance provider, “’no benefits are payable for your claim.’”

Powell was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash, and he’s listed as the driver on the Alamo reservation – so, what’s going on? Turns out, a switch happened when the couple paid for the rental at the Alamo counter.

Powell reserved the car in his name, but said when Liiamatta paid for the rental car with her credit card at the Alamo counter, his name got wiped from the rental agreement. (Aubrey Shafer, KSL TV)

The reservation was under Powell’s name, but Liiamatta used her credit card to pay. That somehow wiped Powell’s name from the paperwork – a change they hadn’t noticed.

“They never took my license,” Liiamatta said. “I never signed anything. It was just my credit card.”

Regardless, that switch is now costing the couple $2,000. With all their attempts to ask Alamo to fix the problem going nowhere, they contacted the KSL Investigators.

This time, we reached out to Alamo’s parent company, Enterprise Mobility, on their behalf. We asked their corporate communications team how Powell’s name disappeared, and if it’s typical to charge for damages on the spot.

And just like that, the weird switcharoo, “unswitacharoo’d.”

Liiamatta and Powell show KSL’s Matt Gephardt the denial from their travel insurance. (Aubrey Shafer, KSL TV)

A spokesperson told us after speaking with “the group in Costa Rica” that they “do have Landen (Powell) on file as an approved driver” after all. And they said they will now work with the couple “to come to a satisfactory resolution.”

“We thought that we crossed all the Ts and dotted all the Is,” said Liiamatta.

They tell us all those Ts and Is on their rental paperwork are now correct, and Alamo has helped them resubmit their claim to their travel insurance provider, which is now reviewing it.

Enterprise Mobility told us, “Customers are financially responsible for damage or theft that occurs during a rental transaction, regardless of fault or negligence – just as if they owned the rental vehicle themselves.”

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Get Gephardt helps Utah couple stuck paying for car rental crash damage they didn’t cause