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Thwarting rental thieves and fraudsters

by Brock Huffstutler

Detective Sergeant James Dietz of the Michigan State Police, Special Investigations Division (left) and Michael St. Hill of the National Equipment Register (NER)

Detective Sergeant James Dietz of the Michigan State Police, Special Investigations Division (left) and Michael St. Hill of the National Equipment Register (NER)

On Dec. 7, ARA members gathered at Doosan Bobcat in Statesville, N.C., to learn from the experts about how to avoid falling victim to costly equipment rental thefts.

The “Strategies to Prevent Rental Theft” event featured guest speaker — and ARA Insurance/National Equipment Register (NER) Outstanding Service Award winner — Detective Sergeant James Dietz of the Michigan State Police, Special Investigations Division, who detailed:

  • Best practices to keep track of and qualify customers before they rent
  • Red flags to be on the lookout for
  • Handling refusal to rent situations
  • Identification type you can and should collect from customers
  • Identifying fraudulent state identification and credit cards
  • Methods to properly document rental transactions
  • Building relationships with other rental businesses and law enforcement

In addition to Det. Sgt. Dietz’s presentation, Michael St. Hill, director, sales and insurance services, NER, discussed how to protect your equipment using the National Equipment Registry.

The event also included tour of Doosan Bobcat, live music, local food truck fare and craft beer.

Food/beverage vendors outside of Doosan Bobcat

Food/beverage vendors outside of Doosan Bobcat at the ARA of North Carolina meeting

Chris Whitesell, sales coordinator with True Value Rental, Greensboro, N.C., says he picked up a lot of helpful “red flag” pointers from the evening’s presentation.

“The first one is when a box truck rental comes to your store to pick up rental equipment: red flag. The second was if they are using many different credit cards or trying to pay over the phone and someone else comes in that you do not know to pick up the equipment: red flag. It was absolutely beneficial for my team to hear Det. Sgt. Dietz speak. It is great to be prepared for the worst when it comes to dealing with the public. These days, we have to be overprotective on the counter. We were able to take key points and bring them back to the True Value team to spread the ideas on preventing rental theft,” Whitesell says.

Whitesell also enjoyed the peer networking opportunity associated with the event. “It was great to see other ARA [American Rental Association] members I have met over the years. A band played awesome music while we were eating and socializing. It was great to be a part of the Doosan plant tour — what an awesome facility. We appreciate them letting us see their production lines,” he says.

“I do not get a lot of time to attend these events; however, I am very appreciative of the time and effort that the ARA of North Carolina puts into these,” says Dennis Limberg, president, Eagle Rentals, Statesville, N.C. “The plant tour was fascinating; the compressor manufacturing process is highly technical.”