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    • ChocolateCough
    • By ChocolateCough 12th Feb 18, 1:34 PM
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    ChocolateCough
    To sue or not to sue?
    • #1
    • 12th Feb 18, 1:34 PM
    To sue or not to sue? 12th Feb 18 at 1:34 PM
    Whilst at work last month I had the misfortune of receiving a phone call from a policeman informing me that my girlfriend's car had caught fire.
    What I have been told is that a local roofing company, who were doing work on a neighbouring property, had left their equipment unattended (according to a neighbour) which then somehow caught fire and their large gas canister took the form of a flamethrower and incinerated the front of my girlfriends BMW. The car is a write-off and the roofing company have accepted full liability for the accident.
    The problem is, for reasons known only to her, she did not take GAP insurance when taking out the finance deal on her car. The insurers have valued the car at 6k and there is still 7.5k outstanding on the finance deal. So through no fault of her own (she was 5 miles away!) she will be left 1.5k out of pocket and no car to show for the past two years of payments.
    We are considering taking legal action as their is clearly a strong case for gross negligence on the part of the roofing company, what are your thoughts?
    Thanks!
Page 1
    • Johno100
    • By Johno100 12th Feb 18, 1:51 PM
    • 3,723 Posts
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    Johno100
    • #2
    • 12th Feb 18, 1:51 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Feb 18, 1:51 PM
    A Diminution Claim I believed they are called, very popular in the US but don't know about here or whether it is one of those things you can do yourself or you really need a solicitor to fight your corner.
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 12th Feb 18, 1:57 PM
    • 1,462 Posts
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    IanMSpencer
    • #3
    • 12th Feb 18, 1:57 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Feb 18, 1:57 PM
    Whilst at work last month I had the misfortune of receiving a phone call from a policeman informing me that my girlfriend's car had caught fire.
    What I have been told is that a local roofing company, who were doing work on a neighbouring property, had left their equipment unattended (according to a neighbour) which then somehow caught fire and their large gas canister took the form of a flamethrower and incinerated the front of my girlfriends BMW. The car is a write-off and the roofing company have accepted full liability for the accident.
    The problem is, for reasons known only to her, she did not take GAP insurance when taking out the finance deal on her car. The insurers have valued the car at 6k and there is still 7.5k outstanding on the finance deal. So through no fault of her own (she was 5 miles away!) she will be left 1.5k out of pocket and no car to show for the past two years of payments.
    We are considering taking legal action as their is clearly a strong case for gross negligence on the part of the roofing company, what are your thoughts?
    Thanks!
    Originally posted by ChocolateCough
    Interesting. I think it is a tricky one. If this is a PCP deal, so the finance is specific to that car and as it is a total loss the finance house has to be re-imbursed then I would say that the roofing company should be liable, as through no fault of her own, the daughter now has a debt to clear assuming that the 7.5k will be paid back by the insurance plus her contributing another 1.5k.

    On the other hand, if this was just a car loan, then presumably the loan will simply continue and although there is no car to secure it against I would expect the finance house to allow it to continue. In which case, assuming a replacement vehicle can be bought for 6k she is no worse off and the roofing company could not be made liable for betterment (though they could still be liable for any excesses).

    It would not be unreasonable to claim for a hire car in the meantime, and a contribution towards the hassle of replacing a car.

    I'd suggest seeking advice from a solicitor - you can normally get a free consultation.

    Before using the magic word "sue" your other path is to talk to the roofers or their insurers and they may be happy to do a deal as they will recognise that any legal claim would involve them in the expense of solicitors. Legal action is a last resort, and you should firstly show you have taken reasonable steps to resolve the problem. I would expect the roofers to be using their public liability insurance, but of they are covering it themselves, then first port of call is a friendly phone call - they may be highly embarrassed and willing to resolve this amicably.
    • martinsurrey
    • By martinsurrey 12th Feb 18, 2:08 PM
    • 3,340 Posts
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    martinsurrey
    • #4
    • 12th Feb 18, 2:08 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Feb 18, 2:08 PM
    I think it is a tricky one.
    Originally posted by IanMSpencer
    Not a tricky one at all, OP lost a car worth 6k and will get 6k back. How they financed the car is irrelevant

    Civil claims are not to punish people they are restorative, if the OP gets 7.5k back they will be in a better position than they were before the fire, as they could buy a similar car AND clear the finance, which is betterment.

    OP you wont get any more than the cars worth, negligence or not.

    you are right about a hire car in the meantime though.
    • ChocolateCough
    • By ChocolateCough 12th Feb 18, 2:36 PM
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    ChocolateCough
    • #5
    • 12th Feb 18, 2:36 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Feb 18, 2:36 PM
    How would she be able to buy another car and clear the finance though if she receives 7.5k? That would only clear the finance and leave her nothing leftover.
    • loskie
    • By loskie 12th Feb 18, 3:18 PM
    • 1,263 Posts
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    loskie
    • #6
    • 12th Feb 18, 3:18 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Feb 18, 3:18 PM
    As the car is the property of the finance co get them to take up the issue with the roofer's insurer.
    • Shaka_Zulu
    • By Shaka_Zulu 12th Feb 18, 3:19 PM
    • 1,431 Posts
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    Shaka_Zulu
    • #7
    • 12th Feb 18, 3:19 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Feb 18, 3:19 PM
    Ah the joys of PCP jiggery pokery. Have you done your homework on what the car is really worth retail from a dealer?
    • glentoran99
    • By glentoran99 12th Feb 18, 3:19 PM
    • 5,248 Posts
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    glentoran99
    • #8
    • 12th Feb 18, 3:19 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Feb 18, 3:19 PM
    As the car is the property of the finance co get them to take up the issue with the roofer's insurer.
    Originally posted by loskie


    that's not how it works
    • ChocolateCough
    • By ChocolateCough 12th Feb 18, 3:25 PM
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    ChocolateCough
    • #9
    • 12th Feb 18, 3:25 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Feb 18, 3:25 PM
    Ah the joys of PCP jiggery pokery. Have you done your homework on what the car is really worth retail from a dealer?
    Originally posted by Shaka_Zulu
    As the car is the property of the finance co get them to take up the issue with the roofer's insurer.
    Originally posted by loskie
    She looked online and similar cars are up for between 8-9k.
    • Car 54
    • By Car 54 12th Feb 18, 3:32 PM
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    Car 54
    As the car is the property of the finance co get them to take up the issue with the roofer's insurer.
    Originally posted by loskie
    It's their property, but they will have passed the responsibility for insuring it to the OP's friend.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 12th Feb 18, 3:35 PM
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    Tarambor
    How would she be able to buy another car and clear the finance though if she receives 7.5k? That would only clear the finance and leave her nothing leftover.
    Originally posted by ChocolateCough
    In law she only has to be put back in the position she was in and if she had a 7.5k car then that is to give her 7.5k. If she ends up with no car and no money after paying off the finance then that is a situation she has created for herself by buying a car on finance. Had she bought one with money she had then she would have a 7500 cheque to buy another. But she didn't, she bought it with borrowed money so has to give that cheque to the finance company.

    You mentioned GAP insurance so I'm assuming she is on a PCP deal. I'm assuming she doesn't have the money for the balloon payment so she was always going to end up with no car unless she took out another deal, this just brings that date forward.

    If she wants a car she'll have to do what she would have had to do at the end of the PCP deal and take out another deal. If she can convince the insurers her car is worth 8k-9k she'll have a 500-1500 deposit.

    Personally I'd learn the lesson from this, buy a cheap car outright that she can actually afford to pay for in full and save up for a newer one so if she ever ends up in a total loss situation again at least she'll have money to buy a replacement instead of having no money and no car.
    Last edited by Tarambor; 12-02-2018 at 3:39 PM.
    • ChocolateCough
    • By ChocolateCough 12th Feb 18, 3:49 PM
    • 4 Posts
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    ChocolateCough
    In law she only has to be put back in the position she was in and if she had a 7.5k car then that is to give her 7.5k. If she ends up with no car and no money after paying off the finance then that is a situation she has created for herself by buying a car on finance. Had she bought one with money she had then she would have a 7500 cheque to buy another. But she didn't, she bought it with borrowed money so has to give that cheque to the finance company.

    You mentioned GAP insurance so I'm assuming she is on a PCP deal. I'm assuming she doesn't have the money for the balloon payment so she was always going to end up with no car unless she took out another deal, this just brings that date forward.

    If she wants a car she'll have to do what she would have had to do at the end of the PCP deal and take out another deal. If she can convince the insurers her car is worth 8k-9k she'll have a 500-1500 deposit.

    Personally I'd learn the lesson from this, buy a cheap car outright that she can actually afford to pay for in full and save up for a newer one so if she ever ends up in a total loss situation again at least she'll have money to buy a replacement instead of having no money and no car.
    Originally posted by Tarambor
    I've just spoken with her and it's not on a PCP deal. She would have had ownership of the car at the end of the loan period. When she initially called up her insurance company they mentioned that her GAP insurance, which it turns out she doesn't have, should cover the difference - hence me mentioning it.

    As you may be able to tell I'm not particularly experienced in the ins and outs of car finance deals and claims having never taken one out personally. It just seems mad that she could be left out of pocket in this situation.
    • glentoran99
    • By glentoran99 12th Feb 18, 4:03 PM
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    glentoran99
    In law she only has to be put back in the position she was in and if she had a 7.5k car then that is to give her 7.5k. If she ends up with no car and no money after paying off the finance then that is a situation she has created for herself by buying a car on finance. Had she bought one with money she had then she would have a 7500 cheque to buy another. But she didn't, she bought it with borrowed money so has to give that cheque to the finance company.

    You mentioned GAP insurance so I'm assuming she is on a PCP deal. I'm assuming she doesn't have the money for the balloon payment so she was always going to end up with no car unless she took out another deal, this just brings that date forward.

    If she wants a car she'll have to do what she would have had to do at the end of the PCP deal and take out another deal. If she can convince the insurers her car is worth 8k-9k she'll have a 500-1500 deposit.

    Personally I'd learn the lesson from this, buy a cheap car outright that she can actually afford to pay for in full and save up for a newer one so if she ever ends up in a total loss situation again at least she'll have money to buy a replacement instead of having no money and no car.
    Originally posted by Tarambor


    The position she was in was with a car and with finance outstanding on that car, If she is given 6k she has no car and still has finance outstanding, that's not the same position.
    • rudekid48
    • By rudekid48 12th Feb 18, 4:09 PM
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    rudekid48
    The position she was in was with a car and with finance outstanding on that car, If she is given 6k she has no car and still has finance outstanding, that's not the same position.
    Originally posted by glentoran99
    You buy insurance to cover the vehicle - not how you choose to finance it.
    The insurer will settle based on the market value of the vehicle - the amount of interest that has been accrued on any loan is immaterial.

    If I bought a car for 5k and took out a loan with 100% interest, the car is still worth 5k - no more...
    All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves.
    • Head The Ball
    • By Head The Ball 12th Feb 18, 4:10 PM
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    Head The Ball
    ..It just seems mad that she could be left out of pocket in this situation.
    Originally posted by ChocolateCough
    Although I can understand her frustration, she isn't out of pocket.

    Before the fire she had a car 'worth' 6,000 and she owed 7,500 to a finance company. She had negative equity of 1,500 overall.

    After the fire she will have 6,000 and will owe 7,500 to a finance company. She still has negative equity of 1,500 overall.

    I put 'worth' in quotes as the insurance company may have undervalued her car.

    She should do some research on what an equivalent car will cost her and negotiate with the insurance company. She should also negotiate a temporary hire car while she sorts out a replacement car.

    She could also attempt to come to some agreement with the roofing company, who may be willing to voluntarily cover some or all of the 1,500, but they are not legally obliged to do more than make sure that she is compensated for the loss of her car and their insurance are doing that with an offer of 6,000.

    Suing them is pointless. Her losses have been covered by insurance so there is no substantive basis for successful legal action.
    Last edited by Head The Ball; 12-02-2018 at 4:16 PM.
    Every Village has its Idiot.

    If you don't know who your Village Idiot is

    it is probably you.
    • es5595
    • By es5595 12th Feb 18, 4:42 PM
    • 74 Posts
    • 87 Thanks
    es5595
    Hang on, we've missed two vital pieces of information from OP;
    She looked online and similar cars are up for between 8-9k.
    and
    When she initially called up her insurance company they mentioned that her GAP insurance, (which it turns out she doesn't have,) should cover the difference - hence me mentioning it.
    Maybe we actually need to be questioning the insurance payout, as there is the definite possibility that they have undervalued the car and are happy to let the GAP insurance pick up the difference.
    The potential option is she had a 8500 car, which the insurance should have paid out 8500 for, allowing her to clear the remaining finance and have 1000 to put towards the new car, but is getting well and truly stiffed by her insurance.
    She needs to look at like-for-like replacements, and then challenge what she is being offered if it is less.
    • Car 54
    • By Car 54 12th Feb 18, 5:24 PM
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    Car 54
    Hang on, we've missed two vital pieces of information from OP;

    and

    Maybe we actually need to be questioning the insurance payout, as there is the definite possibility that they have undervalued the car and are happy to let the GAP insurance pick up the difference.
    The potential option is she had a 8500 car, which the insurance should have paid out 8500 for, allowing her to clear the remaining finance and have 1000 to put towards the new car, but is getting well and truly stiffed by her insurance.
    She needs to look at like-for-like replacements, and then challenge what she is being offered if it is less.
    Originally posted by es5595
    The prices she has researched are asking prices, not actual selling prices. These can be wildly optimistic. That's why the Ombudsman's guidelines tell the insurance companies to use the trade guides for valuations.

    That said, it can do no harm to negotiate. Don't ask, don't get!
    • dawyldthing
    • By dawyldthing 12th Feb 18, 5:28 PM
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    dawyldthing
    How would she be able to buy another car and clear the finance though if she receives 7.5k? That would only clear the finance and leave her nothing leftover.
    Originally posted by ChocolateCough
    Is some of that 7500 the interest charged? As its like anything it takes a while to start paying the balance off and for a while you are just paying the interest off
    My targets to end 2018:
    1) To get down to 11 st 7lbs then treat to a safari. At start 17 stone 7 lbs *61lbs lost* *30lbs to go*
    1st started SW16st13lbs tues11/7/17 - 38 weeks -53lbs
    2nd -> target 11 st 7lbs
    2) to find new challenges
    • dacouch
    • By dacouch 12th Feb 18, 6:02 PM
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    dacouch
    As a side note, roofing companies Public Liability almost always stipulate that heat equipment cannot be left unattended to prevent this type of situation.

    As a result, the Insurers are likely to deny any claim payment which would leave the Roofing Company without Insurance
    • glentoran99
    • By glentoran99 12th Feb 18, 6:06 PM
    • 5,248 Posts
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    glentoran99
    You buy insurance to cover the vehicle - not how you choose to finance it.
    The insurer will settle based on the market value of the vehicle - the amount of interest that has been accrued on any loan is immaterial.

    If I bought a car for 5k and took out a loan with 100% interest, the car is still worth 5k - no more...
    Originally posted by rudekid48


    the insurer however (not the op insurer incidently) should be giving them enough to purchase the same spec of car though, that way she is in same position
    Last edited by glentoran99; 12-02-2018 at 7:00 PM.
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