PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – There's a new app that claims to help you prove that you didn't dent your rental car.
By the time drivers get to the rental car stage in their day's travels, there is an inclination to get the keys and be off.
Document damage before you hurry off
But experts say rushing the documentation process could hurt you on the back end of the trip.
There are steps to take to protect yourself from a damage claim.
*Take pictures of every dent or scratch by examining the body of the car, wheels, glass and interior.
*Ask an employee to document pre-existing damage, scratches and dents before you drive away.
*If the company hits you up for a bill for damages you believe were pre-existing, ask them to prove it. Request time-stamped photos taken immediately before you drove off the lot and immediately after you returned the car. Also find out how many people may have rented the car from the time you dropped it off until the date on the damage claim.
"You want to look for preexisting damage, scratches, dents that could potentially be credited to you," explained former Enterprise Regional Vice President Damon Haber. "Pick it up at the time of rental so you are not accountable for that."
Rental company executive turned app co-founder
The Call Christina team caught up with Haber while he was in South Florida attending an industry conference.
Haber is the co-founder of Record360, an app that promises to put an end to damage disputes.
Haber, along with former rental executive Shane Skinner, said turning technology made sense to combat a recurring problem in the rental industry.
"And that problem was dealing with disputes that occurred because of the antiquated documentation process," Haber said. "It is 2015 and the majority of transactions that involve the exchange of property -- whether it be real estate, rental cars, equipment -- they are still using paper forms to document that conditions. Determining who did it, who is responsible for it (and) who's going to pay for it was really problematic."
Their solution is Record360.
The app records video and includes tap notation.
When you spot damage and tap the screen, the app will take a screen shot and circle what you are documenting. You can later review your photos and note the kind of damage you observed, whether it is a scuffed door, broken window, dent or scratch.
"So when you are returning, you have proof," stated Haber. "What's different about our application as compared as taking a picture with your own cellphone is that we are an independent third-party that documents the transaction. We also geo tag, time and date stamp every transaction."
He said that information is then uploaded to a secure server.
"So you eliminate the challenges associated with people saying, 'Oh, that may have been an old picture' … and it really takes the anxiety out of that exchange process."
'New tool for the sharing economy'
He said current clients include property management companies and equipment rental companies.
The company sees itself as "the new tool for the sharing economy."
As sites like VRBO.com and Airbnb.com grow in popularity, it is not just customers but property owners that may find relief in third-party documentation.
"It is a game changer, because on paper forms things are open for interpretation, but when we are looking at this, we are both agreeing on the condition," stated Haber. "We act as an independent third-party or an escrow, if you will, between the parties, which allows us to validate the exchange, peace of mind that they know it was documented and they are not going to be held accountable for something they didn't do."