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Car Hire Charged for Repairs - not carried out

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Hired a car, freely admitted responsibility and liability for damage (a scratched allow wheel) on return.
Charged for repair plus "idle time" plus "administration.
Challenged by asking for proof that the repairs had actually been carried out.  Totally ignored by the car hire company - Avis Budget UK - and no proof of repair or idle time produced.
Escalated to BVRLA (vehicle hire company trade association)
They state that Avis not obliged to carry out repairs for which charges levied AND that if they do not, the charges are considered as "compensation" for loss of value of the vehicle on future resale.
Contract says liable for repairs/damage  NOT compensation for loss of value!
Potential is there for the same vehicle part to be damaged many times - and the renters charged accordingly - but only repaired once leaving the company with a tidy profit.
I take the view that to charge a customer for a repair that doesn't happen, is a fraudulent misrepresentation.
Does anyone agree/disagree?
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Comments

  • Herzlos
    Herzlos Posts: 14,863 Forumite
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    You did damage that'd cost £x to repair, so it's largely irrelevant if they chose to repair it now, repair it later or to take the hit on value when they sell it.

    If someone else did subsequent damage, then that'll cost £y to repair. It's possible if they keep the car running unrepaired for long enough the money raised will be more than the cost of a new wheel, but that's not relevant either.

    However, if the car hasn't been repaired, then there's no idle time since the idle time is the time the car spent unavailable to be hired which would only apply if it was in a workshop getting repaired.

    You can't do much about administration costs though, because they'll need to do some admin work to deal with it. You could argue that's just part of the cost of doing business, and if they aren't doing a repair there's not really anything to administer.
  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    Years ago I was told by the operator of a branch of a small car hire business that almost all the profit they made was in charges for 'damage repair's: going by the condition of most of the vehicles they had available, any cosmetic damage was never fixed anyway.
    A few months later they closed down.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • comeandgo
    comeandgo Posts: 5,767 Forumite
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    edited 22 February 2023 at 4:57PM
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    If contract says you are liable for damage then you are liable for damage, no need to repair it though I did think hire company could not charge for down time of vehicle as maybe it would not be hired that day it was in for repair anyway.  I would challenge the down time.
  • Aretnap
    Aretnap Posts: 5,268 Forumite
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    The basic legal position is that liability for damage to property is assessed in terms of the loss of value to that property. The cost of repairs is only relevant because it's usually as good a way as any of measuring that loss in value.

    So if someone drives into your car and causes damage that would cost £500 to repair at a reputable garage, then you are entitled to claim £500 from him or his insurer. It makes no difference whether you actually get the repairs done at a reputable garage, get your mechanic friend to fix it at mates rates, or just live with the damage and don't repair it at all - you can claim £500 in any event. I can't see why that dude of the equation would be any different for a car hire company.

    As the others have said charging for down time that didn't actually happen sounds a lot more questionable.
  • Grey_Critic
    Grey_Critic Posts: 1,341 Forumite
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    Not unusual for hire companies to defer repairs, often until they de-fleet. As many hire vehicles are themselves on contract hire then they will  be charged for the repairs at that time. The money collected from you and others is used to pay.
    That is the reazson you are advised to carry out a thorough inspection before taking the hire car out and the same on return. All those dings and dents you list on collection are those repairs someone has paid for and not been done.

  • Stubod
    Stubod Posts: 2,216 Forumite
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    ..don't really see the problem. You damaged a car, they advised a cost to repair and you paid. Whether they actually choose to carry out the repair or not is irrelevant.
    .."It's everybody's fault but mine...."
  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 15,403 Forumite
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    Hired a car, freely admitted responsibility and liability for damage (a scratched allow wheel) on return.
    Charged for repair plus "idle time" plus "administration.
    Challenged by asking for proof that the repairs had actually been carried out.  Totally ignored by the car hire company - Avis Budget UK - and no proof of repair or idle time produced.
    Escalated to BVRLA (vehicle hire company trade association)
    They state that Avis not obliged to carry out repairs for which charges levied AND that if they do not, the charges are considered as "compensation" for loss of value of the vehicle on future resale.
    Contract says liable for repairs/damage  NOT compensation for loss of value!
    Potential is there for the same vehicle part to be damaged many times - and the renters charged accordingly - but only repaired once leaving the company with a tidy profit.
    I take the view that to charge a customer for a repair that doesn't happen, is a fraudulent misrepresentation.
    Does anyone agree/disagree?
    Something to be aware of. You can arrange & pay for the repairs yourself if you want. 
    Life in the slow lane
  • Ectophile
    Ectophile Posts: 7,453 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
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    Hired a car, freely admitted responsibility and liability for damage (a scratched allow wheel) on return.
    Charged for repair plus "idle time" plus "administration.
    Challenged by asking for proof that the repairs had actually been carried out.  Totally ignored by the car hire company - Avis Budget UK - and no proof of repair or idle time produced.
    Escalated to BVRLA (vehicle hire company trade association)
    They state that Avis not obliged to carry out repairs for which charges levied AND that if they do not, the charges are considered as "compensation" for loss of value of the vehicle on future resale.
    Contract says liable for repairs/damage  NOT compensation for loss of value!
    Potential is there for the same vehicle part to be damaged many times - and the renters charged accordingly - but only repaired once leaving the company with a tidy profit.
    I take the view that to charge a customer for a repair that doesn't happen, is a fraudulent misrepresentation.
    Does anyone agree/disagree?
    Something to be aware of. You can arrange & pay for the repairs yourself if you want. 

    But would you then have to extend the hire of the car for the amount of time it takes to do the repair?
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 12,125 Forumite
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    Ectophile said:
    Hired a car, freely admitted responsibility and liability for damage (a scratched allow wheel) on return.
    Charged for repair plus "idle time" plus "administration.
    Challenged by asking for proof that the repairs had actually been carried out.  Totally ignored by the car hire company - Avis Budget UK - and no proof of repair or idle time produced.
    Escalated to BVRLA (vehicle hire company trade association)
    They state that Avis not obliged to carry out repairs for which charges levied AND that if they do not, the charges are considered as "compensation" for loss of value of the vehicle on future resale.
    Contract says liable for repairs/damage  NOT compensation for loss of value!
    Potential is there for the same vehicle part to be damaged many times - and the renters charged accordingly - but only repaired once leaving the company with a tidy profit.
    I take the view that to charge a customer for a repair that doesn't happen, is a fraudulent misrepresentation.
    Does anyone agree/disagree?
    Something to be aware of. You can arrange & pay for the repairs yourself if you want. 

    But would you then have to extend the hire of the car for the amount of time it takes to do the repair?
    Which is similar to the Loss of Opportunity they are claiming they'd suffer by not being able to hire the car out whilst its in for repair.

    Plenty of claims involve future things that have not yet happened... you'll see on here many people saying you should claim 5 years worth of premium increases if you are involved in a non-fault accident and thats far more tenuous and difficult to prove than the LoO claim. Similarly if someone has life changing injuries their loss of earnings will be paid potentially far into the future (or an annuity setup if a periodic payment order is made)... if its not a PPO you may be paying 10 years of loss of earnings as a lump sum but the person dies of cancer 2 years later.

    Most vehicles do not lose value if repaired appropriately and if they use a poor garage that doesnt repair it properly that is between them and their garage. 

    Depending on how much they are charging for the LoO will dictate if its worth fighting or not... its certainly worth checking their figures though as most "forget" to include the utilisation rate as no hire car company has 100% of the vehicles on hire all the time and so the LoO needs to be stepped down to consider this. 
  • Robservationist
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    Stubod said:
    ..don't really see the problem. You damaged a car, they advised a cost to repair and you paid. Whether they actually choose to carry out the repair or not is irrelevant.
    I have to disagree.  If they choose not to repair it and then suffer loss (of value), how am I responsible for that?  Put another way:  If I put a whole in your window, gave you the money to fix it, but you didn't bother.  Would I be liable if someone later reached through the whole and stole your wallet?
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