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Rental Car Refund for Ferry Crash Family

Rental Van in Newport HarborA Taiwanese family was initially told that their car rental wouldn’t be refunded, nor replaced, after it was rear-ended and fell off the Balboa Island Ferry into California’s Newport Harbor last week. However, now Fox Rent A Car says that the family will get a total refund, as the incident didn’t happen like they were initially told.

A Taiwanese couple was taking their young ones on a whale-watching tour on Friday morning when they boarded the Balboa Island Ferry. Witnesses say that a black Mercedes-Benz accelerated when it boarded the ferry after them. The second vehicle rammed their van in the rear and shoved it off the end of the ferry. For just a few minutes, the van floated upright, and local boaters hurried to the vehicle to help rescue the parents and children. Just moments after the mother was pulled out, the van sank in about 15 feet of water.

The woman driving the Mercedes-Benz told investigators that the accelerator of her vehicle stuck, and police have confirmed she didn’t get a citation. A Newport Beach police officer called Fox Rent A Car after the crash and tried to arrange for the vehicle to be replaced, but the Newport Beach Police Association says that this was refused. The association and Newport Beach Police Management Association went to a different rental agency to make the arrangements for a replacement and paid for another van so the family wasn’t stranded. Police association president Michael O’Berine says that they didn’t want to see the family stranded. They covered the $84.99 per day rental from their general fund, which generates cash from member dues and fundraises.

The decision by the rental agency not to issue a refund or replace the vehicle sparked anger in phone calls, online comments and emails to newspaper The Orange County Register. However, Fox Rent A Car managers say that there was a mis-communication about the accident that sent the rental van to the bottom of the Newport channel. Trent Dennis, the manager of the group’s office in Orange County, said that, when the company’s roadside-assistance line received the call, they were told that the van was driven into the ocean. There was no mention that the car was bumped or anything. They will definitely take care of customers in the event that an accident isn’t their fault.

On Monday the company had confirmed that the Taiwanese family rented the van from its location in Los Angeles. Managers say they tried to contact the family that day but couldn’t reach them, as all they have is an international number. Vice president of operations Sean Busking says they are investigating what happened, but they will refund any deposit or other charges the family has paid up front. The family won’t incur any charges at all, he added.




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