In late April of 2007 I moved from Virginia to Utah. I rented a U-Haul trailer from Rainbow Rentals in Springfield, VA. When I picked it up, apparently all of the people who normally hook up the trailers had gone for the day, so one of the other guys hooked it to my jeep for me. He seemed a little... twitchy and he forgot a few things (I needed a ball hitch and an outlet adapter that would handle U-Haul things). He also hooked the lights up backwards so that the left turn signal made the right side blink and vice versa. I was pretty much just happy to be on my way.
Thing is, it turns out he hadn't tightened the connecting joint enough. Just a little bit down the road were railroad tracks. When I went over those the trailer popped right off my hitch. Of course, to stop it had to hit the back of my car. I got out and inspected the bumper very carefully but couldn't see anything wrong. Some guys from the same industrial park happened to be behind me and hooked up the trailer properly. Thinking no harm no foul, I went home. At almost exactly 5:00 my friend came over and said, "Um... there's a big dent in the back of your car."
I know it sounds ridiculous, but I seriously did just miss that. I was too focused on checking the bumper and making sure the trailer was connected properly, and it didn't occur to me at the time that the trailer tilted forward to hit my car. (Also in my defense, my car is lifted so that dent is round about lower ribs height for my 5'8" self.) Of course the rental place was closed by that time, but first thing the next morning I call. They tell me I have to go through U-Haul. I call U-Haul and after getting the runaround for a bit, I managed to explain the situation and they opened an insurance claim. I call the rental agency back and explain what's going on, and they tell me no problem.
Fast forward a little. My claim is denied. I'm shocked, and that's when U-Haul informs me that the rental pamphlet has instructions about properly hooking up the trailer and it's actually my responsibility. The only problem with that? What pamphlet? I was never given a pamphlet and had no clue that it even existed or that it was my responsibility. Trust me, if I had any indication that I had to do the hook up I would have made damn sure the thing was hooked up. Hell, I managed to fix the reversed-lights problem when we stopped for gas! Without any damn pamphlet.
I call the rental place, and apparently the guy who I need to talk to is out of town. In the meantime, I get an estimate on fixing the damage. Yeah, I would have to get the entire tailgate replaced, which would run me about $2,000. At the time I just sigh and give it up. The damage is purely cosmetic, I sincerely doubt U-Haul would be willing to re-open the claim even if the rental place takes responsibility, and I figure that there's no way the rental place will shell out $2,000. I really don't have a legal leg to stand on, either, since I signed the paper that says in the fine print I did receive the pamphlet. (ETA: I know I really should have read everything on the contract, but I was stressed by the move and in a hurry to get home and start packing the trailer. *sighs*)
I thought I was okay with it, but as time goes on I realize I'm not. I kept getting frustrated every time I notice the huge dent. And recently I realized that the damage will undermine the resale value of my car when I get a new one. It's been 9 months, though. I don't know if I even can do anything about it, even though I still have pictures of the damage and witnesses that I didn't have a pamphlet. (Sadly, no witnesses from when I actually picked up the trailer, and there's no way I could find the guys who helped me hook it up on the road.)
So that's my rant. I really hope it helps me get over it.