Less-Pay, Old Cars?
Posted 30 September 2010 - 10:50 AM
I'd like to apologize ahead for any grammatical and spelling errors as I am trying to write this as quickly as possible.
I have no problem trying to answer some of your questions but please understand that writing, posting and following-up takes an incredible amount of time. Of course I realize the importance of trying to get the facts out there and my side of the story. Please believe me that it is NOT my intent in any way to try and "injure" someone's business and reputation. The fact of the matter is that I have had at least 4-5 "discussions" with John at Less Pay and the result over and over again is their flat out refusal to give me the name of their insurance company or insurance representative so that I would be able to make an insurance claim or step forward and help me as an injured party. Only once has John personally telephoned me to talk about the issue and that was only after numerous emails and phone calls. The result of that phone call was once again their refusal to do anything to try and work out some kind of solution. Currently, I have the equivalent of almost $5,000 in medical bills resulting from this accident.
First of all, I have been coming to this island for 17 years now and am a very active scuba diver and underwater photographer. I own a home here and am in the process of setting up my business here. I have many friends on this island and I love Cozumel. I am pretty much a local at this point. I first met John with Less Pay in the sales office of a condominium project here on the island. Previously, I personally rented several vehicles from Less Pay in the last few years and I have never had any issues with the company, their service, the vehicles or their employees. Until this accident, all my dealings with them were professional and I was happy with their service. I have referred numerous clients to them over the last 4-5 years.
On June 5th, 2010, I was involved in a car accident in Cozumel, Mexico. I was a passenger in a rental car (Jeep Wrangler) which was broadsided by another vehicle (Jeep Liberty) at approximately 7:00 pm in the evening in the Corpus Christi neighborhood at the intersection of 21 and 5. I was sitting behind the driver in the back seat of the Jeep. The driver, who was renting a small apartment in the Corpus Christi neighborhood had backed out of the driveway had accidentally turned onto a one-way street heading in the opposite direction. We had traveled approximately 2-3 blocks in the wrong direction when we were hit. I was sitting in the back seat behind the driver and I was wearing a seat belt.
I have to assume that the seat belt gave way as I do not remember what I hit, but I smashed into something that gave me a serious laceration to the occipital area of the back of my head. (I was told later that it was the vehicle's roll bar which thankfully kept me from being ejected out of the vehicle.) I was in incredible pain and when the paramedics arrived at the scene, I was stabilized and then transported by ambulance to the Clinica San Miguel, where it was confirmed that I had a serious gash in my head requiring stitches and a serious concussion. They stitched my head up and I was then transferred to the Medical Hyperbaric Hospital on 5th. I also had numerous contusions, along the entire left side of my body. I was in the hospital three days and then was on bed rest and extremely limited activity for another ten days. I was also not allowed to dive for two months. When I returned to the states, I had problems with my vision, massive headaches and now three months later I am still having problems with my neck. I am quite thankful that my injuries were not worse.I would also like to mention that I received excellent care at the Hyperbaric Hospital and was quite impressed at the level of care and how professional they were helping me deal with the insurance logistical nightmare. The total bill in USD for the hospital stay including CAT scans etc. was $3,876.00. They were extremely professional and reliable. I would also like to mention that I spent less than 3 hours at the Clinca San Miguel and my bill there was a whopping $10,329 pesos! As a matter of fact, while I was getting my head stitched up and laying there with a serious concussion, they insisted that I pay up front for all the services. I did, and after reviewing the bill later, was shocked to see that they charged me for an overnight stay at the hospital! But I digress... :-)
The reason I am writing about this accident is because of the questionable business practice of the car rental agency, Less Pay. I have personally used Less Pay many times over the past four years and frequently have sent referrals to the owner, John DeVries, who I have met a number of times. Sadly, I have always had pleasant dealings with the company until now.
The driver of the vehicle (Driver A) and his wife are scuba divers that I had been diving with during that week and they had asked me where they might be able to obtain a good price on a month long car rental. They were renting an apartment several blocks from my home. I told them about Less Pay and on June 4th, Driver A went to Less Pay and rented a Jeep Wrangler from them. The drive opted to pay for full insurance coverage. (I have a copy of the Less Pay contract) The driver and his wife had just finished a late afternoon dive. I met them at the pier and we decided to ride back to their house so I could see the place they were renting and they could get a quick sandwich before they returned back to the pier to be picked up for a night dive. Contrary to a little rumor circulating here on the island, the driver was NOT drinking and there are at least 10 witnesses that can support that including the other divers diving with them at the time, the dive shop owners and employees and the employees of the on-site restaurant establishment.
I would also like to point out that while I was in the hospital, the driver was taken to the police station where a report was written up. (I have the original police report.) As told to me by one of the witnesses, there were 5 witnesses including a police officer. In front of these witnesses, the manager of Less Pay, Victor arrived and told the police that Less Pay had insurance and that he was in the process of contacting the insurance agent. He signed the report and in front of the witnesses said that they would take responsibility for my medical bills. He stated that he could not reach the insurance adjuster at the moment but would contact him right away and notify them of the accident and that a passenger had been injured. This is why the police agreed to release the driver. I would like to point out that no one EVER contacted me in the hospital or the emergency room to agree to any of this!
Later, Less Pay tried to say that the Driver agreed to take responsibility for my medical bills and I have spoken with him, his wife and the other witnesses and this is unequivocally not true. This is the first hand account told to me from the people involved that were there at the scene of the accident and in the emergency room with me and then at the police station.
The next day the Driver and his wife went to the Less Pay office. They paid to Less Pay a deductible of $1,500 USD in cash. I have the receipt from this transaction which clearly states "Deductible paid". They were told that day that Victor the manager handles all the insurance claims and were assured that he was "following up". Two days later, my neighbor and friend stopped by the Less Pay office to speak to the manager, Victor, about the situation and to try and get the insurance information for me. He was very adversarial with her. She told me that he said to her: "You are in Mexico so speak Spanish" and he refused to discuss anything with her at all. She left the office and then returned with a Mexican friend to interpret for her. At this point, Victor refused to speak with either of them and told them both to leave.
A couple of days after I was released from the hospital, my neighbor brought me to the Less Pay office so I could personally speak with John and to inquire why no one had contacted me from his office. John, was not aware that it was me that had been injured. I can tell you that I was very polite with John but he turned and called my neighbor a "b---". I asked her to please walk down to Rockin Java and I would meet her there before things escalated. So John and I chatted and the only thing he said to me was "You don't appear to be injured". I was still wearing a neck brace and I showed him the gash and stitches in my head and told him I was still having a pretty rough time of it. I told him about my medical bills and expressed my concern that no one had gotten in touch with me or my friend regarding the insurance claim. He told me that he could not recall the name of the insurance company or the agent and that his manager Victor handled all these matters. He took down my local cell number and told me that Victor would be calling me. He never did. I made several more attempts to contact John and his manager and all my calls and emails went unanswered.
Some time around June 16 or 17 I saw John outside in front of our building. I walked down to speak with him. Our talk was very nice and John was polite to me. Again, he would not provide any insurance information to me and kept repeating that he had no idea of the name of the insurance company for his business! He also inquired as to whether or not I had medical insurance. I explained to him that although I did have medical insurance, my insurance company refused to pay as they said that the car rental company would be first in line to pay. In addition, I also have DAN insurance but they are a secondary coverage and only kick in after the first insurance company pays out. therefore, I explained to him, that a claim would have to be made.
I told him that I was greatly concerned and would like to find a way to amicably work this out. I did not believe it fair that I was the one left with the responsibility to pay these bills. I begged him to sit down with me and come up with some type of solution. I told him that it was not my intention to hurt him or his business but many, many people knew about the accident (both on and off the island) and I had a responsibility to follow-up with the truth. I told him that the more they cooperated with me and tried to work out a solution, the better it would look for him and his company. I was extremely polite and he promised me that he would call me the next day. I have never received any more calls from him.
I would like to point out that Liability and Comprehensive coverage COVERS Bodily injury regardless of who is at fault. That is WHY you purchase coverage. Less Pay collected $1,500.00 USD from the driver for the deductible but has continually refused to provide insurance information or to make a claim.
At this point, I have had no other option to file a claim with Profeco. I do not wish the company any harm and I am aware that he has already lost some business because of this situation. If he had just done the right thing and tried to work out some kind of solution or at the very least COMMUNICATE with me I would not have to sit here and write about it and voice my complaints. I have NO desire to hurt anyone's business or reputation but this company is simply avoiding me and refusing to cooperate and do the right thing.
I do want to say that all of my conversations with John have always remained very polite and I think he's a good guy and I have no issues with him personally. I am just extremely disappointed in Less Pay's lack of professionalism, care and respect to me, as an injured passenger in one of their "fully-insured" vehicles.
I apologize for the lengthy post, but I felt it was time for me to speak up and make sure the real story was aired.
Thanks and I appreciated you letting me tell my side of the story. I rarely post here and I appreciated you allowing me to discuss a very personal and sensitive issue here. I would greatly appreciate your respect.
Jennifer (aka J_CozDiver and JenLoves2Dive)
Posted 30 September 2010 - 11:13 AM
I drink to forget, but I eat to remember.... so it all balances out
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Posted 30 September 2010 - 11:20 AM
Posted 01 October 2010 - 12:10 PM
That would imply that they did NOT have the type of insurance they said they have.
So, if they are paying a deductible, they had no collision insurance.
Next is, what was the insurance your driver had? You where a victim in a accident, with no fault of you or the diver of your vehicle.
I guess there is another question, why did they allow the Driver, who was at fault to leave the island?
From what you describe, this does need to be addressed, there are way to many questions.
Before, I write anybody off, I would like to hear, and understand all sides to the story.
I wish you the best, and hope for a complete recovery.
The most important thing in life is not knowing everything, it's having the phone number of somebody who does!
Posted 01 October 2010 - 02:32 PM
Posted 02 October 2010 - 10:26 AM
She is the injured party, and is out the expense of her medical care.
There has got to be something that is not being disclosed by the other party(s)that is not know, or been discovered yet.
The best course of action is to do what she must do, and that is to have Profeco sort through all of this, and make a finding in her favor.
I have learned something from what Jennifer has shared.
I will never again take for granted that I understand what insurance I have just purchased for a rented vehicle verbally.
I am going to read the fine print, and have the agent show me where it is written that I am in fact, covered. This goes for here, as well as anywhere else in the world.
The most important thing in life is not knowing everything, it's having the phone number of somebody who does!
Posted 04 October 2010 - 01:15 PM
I am a little baffled at this "no deductible" thing that other people have mentioned. I can tell you that I have all my contracts from previous rentals and NONE of them spell out the amount of the insurance coverage or the amount of the deductible. I have spoken with the agency here on the island that "polices" the rules and regulations for car agencies and by LAW they have to spell out on the contract the following:
How much you are paying for the insurance per day, How much the deductible is (even if it is zero it needs to show that) and the amount of coverage. I have copies of my last 5 Less Pay contracts which show this section partially empty. The contract also states that the insurance covers up to $100,000 for bodily injury as part of their "medical expense policy".
Like I said, I do not post too often but I really appreciate your words. I just wish there were some way that I could come back and report that the company stepped up and cooperated in seeking a solution and doing the right thing. But at this point, it is pretty clear that this is NOT going to happen. Such a shame that they can not see the bigger picture.
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