Hire vehicle insurance Scam ??

mikeythepikey1 Forumite Posts: 6
Part of the Furniture First Post Combo Breaker
Hello there,

To Try to cut a very long story short earlier this year my work vehicle was involved in an accident and ended up needing extensive repairs. This was a non fault claim on my behalf as the other party admitted complete liability as I was parked up at the time. I believe this happened on the 13th Jan 2023. 

I'd never been involved in an RTA or had to claim before as I've had a clean licence with no claims for 16 years since passing my test so I was completely unsure of the process. 

The other party responsible for the accident were part of a multi billion pound Company so they offered to cover everything for me to get my vehicle fixed. 

Anyway to get to the point my insurance and there other party's Insurance were notified. I was then contacted by a solicitors on behalf of my insurance to deal with claiming repair expenses and costs for my vehicle. This solicitors then offered me a hire vehicle while mine was being repaired. Me thinking this was just all part of the normal process and being told I was entitled to it as i needed it for work I agreed and said yes to a hire vehicle. As anyone would assume if the other party has admitted liability then the costs would go to them. 

The solicitors in question sent me a hire vehicle for work and I went back to work in order to keep up with my bills etc. They didn't collect my damaged vehicle until the 18th of Feb to take it for repairs. They then had my vehicle at the repair shop until the 28th of march. During this time my solicitors contacted me to ask for 3 months bank statements to show I couldn't pay for my hire vehicle myself. At first I thought it was a little weird but the solicitors ensured me that this was all part of the normal process and its nothing to worry about.

They then rang me on the 28th to let me know my vehicle had been repaired and was ready for collection. And that the hire company would be along soon to collect the hire vehicle. 

When I received my truck back it still had some faults that definitely were not there before the accident. Faulty headlights the doors wouldn't lock and the engine light kept coming on. So I rang the solicitors to inform them that my vehicle had not been fixed properly. 

They then rang the hire company to cancel collection and extend the hire period so that the repairers could take another look at my damaged vehicle. 

It took a further 3 weeks for the repairers to ring me to simply say were are not going to do any more work on your truck and we don't think those faults are to do with the crash. 

At this point I rang the hire company to come and get their hire vehicle as I know costs would be mounting up on the case and to be honest I gave in and didn't want to deal with them anymore I said I'd just get the truck fixed myself. 

Now a further 4 months down the line I'm hearing that the hire vehicle was charged at £400 per day and that the hire has run into £40,000. It was only a standard pick up truck by the way. Nothing special. 

The other party that admitted liability has refused to cover the hire costs and there is now a trial pending that I have been asked to attend at a further date. 

The other party are now asking for my last 3 years tax returns they want all my bank statements because apparently they believe I have hidden funds or I've lied about needing the vehicle. Baring in mind I never asked for the hire vehicle my solicitors literally sold me the idea and then chose the vehicle hire for me. I had nothing to do with choosing it. 

The other party are also saying I should have shopped around for a cheaper option even though I had no input in where the hire was taken out. 

Now my solicitors have changed their tune and said aslong as I am co-operative and truthful. Which I have been anyway, I won't incur any costs.

Now I've found out later that the hire company is the sister company to the solicitors 😄 and after doin more research I've found at least 50 people online who have had the same experience with these same two firms.

I was asked to sign for the hire vehicle and sign away my bank statement authorisation for the hire period. I signed because I was told if I didn't I could incur charges. 

This whole thing has stemmed from an accident that clearly wasn't my fault I was sitting minding my own buisness. The other party admitted full liability and now I feel like im being set up to be charged for vehicle hire that I was told I was entitled to and I wouldn't have to pay for.

Does anyone else have any experience with anything like this and any idea who I could speak to for advice. I feel like my solicitors has saw the fact that a large company was liable for the accident and have tried to milk them for almost 50k hire charges for their sister company  and it hasn't worked as they've refused to pay. I feel like now my own solicitors is turning on me to try and find a reason for me to pay it. 

This is all so crazy to me I've never dealt with anything like this before any advice would be greatly appreciated it stinks of a company trying to scam the system to me. 

They were never in a rush to get the hire vehicle back I never asked for it I only had it so I could go back to work while mine was being repaired. 

Any input greatly appreciated I'm so stressed about this I've never had debt in my life and its massively affected my mental health 


  • mikeythepikey1
    mikeythepikey1 Forumite Posts: 6
    Part of the Furniture First Post Combo Breaker
    Also I feel I have to add. My solicitors issued court proceedings to recover the hire fees and were aware that I may have to take the stand and be cross examined. Even so they sent me no copy's of my defence bundle or any aligations made against me by the defence as to why I could pay for the hire myself, or why I didn't need such expensive hire in the first place. I get the feeling I'm being used as a scape goat here amd they deliberately wanted me to look bad on the stand. 
  • mikeythepikey1
    mikeythepikey1 Forumite Posts: 6
    Part of the Furniture First Post Combo Breaker
    The only reason I know I had a defence bundle was my wife used to work in law and she overheard me on the phone to them. Since she has took over correspondence with them they have sent me lots of things I never even knew existed about the case.
  • facade
    facade Forumite Posts: 6,676
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 24 August at 6:07PM
    This is pretty standard.
    They signed you up for a credit hire vehicle.
    They are a huge rip-off very commonly forced onto provided to people involved in an accident where someone else is to blame.

    You are lent the vehicle on the knock (which costs ££££ more than a straight hire as you are borrowing the hire money). 
    You have to show that you couldn't afford to front the cash to hire a vehicle yourself much more cheaply (and then get the third party to pay you back), hence the bank statements.
    You have to be liable for the cost so that the third party has to re-reimburse you as a consequence of the accident.

    What happens now is the third party has told you (well your legal representative as they are dealing with this on your behalf) where to stick the massively inflated bill, so again on your behalf, your legal representative takes out a court claim for the fee.

    If the third party won't cough up, you have to go to court (on the 'bus in rags obviously :) ), but they usually counter offer a more sensible figure, which is what the Court would decide on anyway, and your side graciously accept it and suck up the difference from what they were trying to extort.

    So as your solicitor says you won't have to pay anything as long as you co-operate fully, by giving them bank details, turning up at court if required  (they won't actually want you in court as you will never keep a straight face when asked why you accepted a hire of £400 a day)

    If you refuse to co-operate, the small print that you signed without reading gives them the right to take you to Court for the £400 a day instead, although you will be able to get it reduced to a sensible amount, you will still have to pay something.

    The whole thing needs sorting out as it is one of the reasons that insurance prices are rising so much.

    I want to go back to The Olden Days, when every single thing that I can think of was better.....

    (except air quality and Medical Science ;))
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Forumite Posts: 6,336
    1,000 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
    An unfortunate lesson in reading what you sign. If you do that now you will almost certainly find that you signed a credit hire agreement.

    The plus side, if you read it properly, it should ultimately say that as long as you continue to support them your liability is capped to the liability of the other party (ie you wont have to pay any shortfall). Dont get overly caught up on court room dramas... civil law has a lot less pomp and ceremony compared to criminal law. Most cases dont ultimately get to court, those that do are often judged on submitted evidence without a hearing and hearings that do happen are normally in a basic meeting room around a table... no taking a stand infront of a jury etc. 
  • Herzlos
    Herzlos Forumite Posts: 14,367
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 24 August at 10:06PM
    That's just how "courtesy cars" work these days.

    Insurer A outsources it to an accident management company who charge a fortune. Insurer B balks at the cost and demands proof it's reasonable, you get dragged in and they settle for something more reasonable.

    Of course, Insurer B is doing the same thing and Insurer A is complaining about *that*.

    All the while, the accident management companies make a fortune and the driver gets harassed.

    Just provide the docs they ask for and you likely won't have to go to court and shouldn't have to pay anything. They really just want you to state that you needed the hire vehicle and that you weren't in a position to pay for it yourself as part of cost mitigation. You also obviously had no idea how long the vehicle was going to take to repair; it's not your fault it took months.

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