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  • FIRST POST
    • noisla
    • By noisla 22nd Sep 16, 10:16 AM
    • 126Posts
    • 27Thanks
    noisla
    0 WOW
    Car hire: charge for scratch
    • #1
    • 22nd Sep 16, 10:16 AM
    0 WOW
    Car hire: charge for scratch 22nd Sep 16 at 10:16 AM
    We recently hired a 4x4 camper for 2 weeks in Iceland, with their 'premium' insurance that included a 600 excess. We were extremely cautious drivers and cleaned it inside and out before return, but we had put a small scratch on part of the front (metal) bumper, and the car hire company said it would cost 2,500 to replace and insisted we pay the full 600 excess. At the time we felt quite bullied and ultimately had little time (beyond the 1.5 hours already spent) to continue to argue with them, and paid it.

    I thought insurance was meant to reimburse actual costs, not be a penalty, and this seems very steep. Is there anything we can do?


    Some more detail:


    Researching now, the bumper is $150 (~130) to replace from US distributors (it is a US made Ford vehicle). Postage and import duties to Iceland would push this up, but the hire company is a specialist importer of parts (its website claims) and has its own full-time in-house mechanic who could do the fitting as part of his normal day job, no extra cost to the company. Further, the scratch is actually on a small piece that fits to the bumper, so technically this could be replaced without replacing the entire bumper.


    The scratch itself is not noticeable unless you get really close to it - we took before and after photos of the vehicle from multiple angles so can prove this. (The company only noticed it at all as we pointed it out - with hindsight we realise the stupidity of our honesty...) Further, the vehicle already has small dings and stone chips all over the bodywork, the entire fleet does (visible even from the photos on their website), perfectly normal given Icelandic driving conditions. The mechanic himself (who quoted the 2,500 cost) said they would not actually be replacing the part at that time, and refused to provide any paperwork or other evidence to support his quote.

    For info, the company is Camper Iceland, owned by Swiss company the 1933 Group. We booked through an agent (with hindsight, not a good idea). So looks like we would not be covered by the European Car Rental Conciliation Service (ECRCS). All payments were made on a credit card, and we did not take any extra excess waiver insurance (with hindsight...).


    I realise (now) that a lot of hire companies fleece customers with extra charges due to competition to offer loss-leading competitive headline rates, but note that we paid 3.5k for the original car hire, not a too-good-to-be-true amount. From a common sense perspective, there was no incentive for us to look after the vehicle at all (without being negligent), if a scratch or gravel chip would cost us the same as more serious damage.


    Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.
Page 1
    • FunTime
    • By FunTime 22nd Sep 16, 11:19 AM
    • 288 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    FunTime
    • #2
    • 22nd Sep 16, 11:19 AM
    • #2
    • 22nd Sep 16, 11:19 AM
    You failed to purchase standalone Car Hire Excess Insurance. It's part of the advice here for almost every car rental.

    http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-car-hire#insurancetrick
    • noisla
    • By noisla 22nd Sep 16, 4:14 PM
    • 126 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    noisla
    • #3
    • 22nd Sep 16, 4:14 PM
    • #3
    • 22nd Sep 16, 4:14 PM
    Indeed, we now know that such a thing exists and that we should have taken it out - as noted in my post. I am not sure how this knowledge helps us now though...?! I was hoping for constructive advice, not "I told you so...".


    If we did have such insurance, the insurance company would demand to see a quote for the works. Is it only an outside insurance company that can hold a car hire to company, and stop this shameless fraud? Saying you have incurred €2,500 of costs when you have not, and will not, is a scam, plain and simple.


    I have now found this body who can perhaps help: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/solving_consumer_disputes/non-judicial_redress/adr-odr/index_en.htm
    • FunTime
    • By FunTime 22nd Sep 16, 4:26 PM
    • 288 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    FunTime
    • #4
    • 22nd Sep 16, 4:26 PM
    • #4
    • 22nd Sep 16, 4:26 PM
    You can also raise a dispute with your CC provider. Them reversing the charge will concentrate the mind of the company to come up with an invoice for the work.
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