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Car hire - being chased for excess charges re overseas hire

chewmylegoffchewmylegoff Forumite
11.5K Posts
Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker

Not sure if this is the right place to post this - seemed the best fit within the forums. 

In Dec 19 I travelled to another country and hired a car through a global car hire company.  It got damaged in a carpark (minor paintwork/panel damage to a small section of the car, nothing serious but enough to need a localised panel re-spray).  Didn't take the car hire company's excess waiver insurance, just paid the basic rate and got my own insurance to cover any excess damage costs.  Reported the damage when I checked the car back in, they pre-authorised about £1,000 on my credit card.   

Then, didn't hear anything for ages, got a letter in February from the UK affiliate of the company attempting to invoice me for ~£1,000 mostly for the cost of repairing the car.  I asked for evidence that the repairs had actually cost £1,000.  About a month later they replied, not answering any of my questions and attaching another invoice, this one for slightly more than £1,000 with different items on it (including an element of the actual rental payment which was definitely all paid in advance).  Again I responded to this, querying the amount and asking for evidence of the cost of the repair and refusing to pay anything more than the actual cost of repairing the car.

Another month down the line, they replied, saying that they confirm that there was no balance outstanding and that the matter was closed.  Their email cites the rental agreement number and was in follow up to my email seeking a genuine invoice for the damage to the car rather than the list of unintelligible charges they sent.


Now, two months after sending that I have received an email from the group entity in the country of hire.  They have sent me a third invoice - which actually does make sense and appears to be reasonable - for about £200.  I have obviously pointed out to them that their company has told me no balance is owed.  They have given this short shrift and said effectively "unfortunately our UK company does not have access to the relevant information" and threatened to pass to a debt collection agency if I don't pay immediately.

Views on what I should do?  

Obviously I was liable for damage caused during the rental period - however, they have (i) confirmed to me in writing that I don't owe them anything after failing on two occasions to send an accurate invoice and (ii) their delays mean that I am now out of time to claim on the insurance cover I arranged, so had they invoiced me properly, on time, I would have been able to claim back the full £200. 

Should I try offering them part payment on the basis their delay / incompetence has resulted in me no longer being able to claim this back?

(I suppose it's not really relevant but I don't understand what the point of them getting me to pre-authorise an amount on my credit card was if they still need to invoice me and get me to pay - I assume the issue may be that the card expired last month so their delay in getting onto this has left them unable to do that).

Thanks for reading & any assistance.


  • TheRightOneTheRightOne Forumite
    479 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Ask your excess car hire insurance company, stating that you have only just now received the involice.
  • tasticztasticz Forumite
    575 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    From what I know you should inform your car excess insurance company within X (usually 30?) days of incident if it may lead to potential claim. Did you inform them? If yes, the file is usually kept open for 6 months to 1 year...
  • brianposterbrianposter Forumite
    925 Posts
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    You have misunderstood the basis of the charge - it is either in the contract or it covers the loss in value of the car. They do not have to repair the car.
    That said, I would pay and tell your excess insurance that this is the first sensible invoice that you have received.
    Please tell us how you get on.
  • chewmylegoffchewmylegoff Forumite
    11.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Thanks - they have repaired the car - that’s what the new invoice is for, it’s a third party invoice for respraying the panel which they have effectively passed on to me with a small admin fee (about a tenner) added on top.  That is what they explained to me they would do on checkout.  (It’s annoying as the repair was carried out six months ago and they were trying to invoice me five times the cost over a month after the date of the repair, but anyway I digress).

    But yes, I’ve paid up, will see what happens with the insurance now.
  • StuieUK34StuieUK34 Forumite
    2K Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    sooooooooooooooo...  did your excess cover , cover your cost ?
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