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    • microstar
    • By microstar 4th Apr 18, 9:27 AM
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    microstar
    Green Motion car rental - Small Claims Court?
    • #1
    • 4th Apr 18, 9:27 AM
    Green Motion car rental - Small Claims Court? 4th Apr 18 at 9:27 AM
    Some friends of mine are from overseas but working in the UK for 2-3 years.
    They hired a car from Green Motion car rental for a couple of days.


    On return, Green Motion identified a 5cm hairline scratch on the top of the rear bumper, where the hatch closes. It is barely visible, and in fact not visible when the hatch is closed.


    Green Motion have billed my friend over 700 for this scratch, plus a 66 damage administration fee. More than the cost of a new, fitted and painted bumper from the car's manufacturer!


    Looking at online reviews this seems to be Green Motion's business model - particularly when the renter is from overseas. The charge is clearly ridiculous, but I don't expect then to back down. I also don't expect them to repair the scratch.


    My plan is to advise my friend to take Green Motion to Small Claims court on the basis that the charge does not relate to any costs or losses that they have suffered. It seems to me that making such a charge is fraud and when making these charges they should be able to demonstrate in some way that the costs are real.
    What do you think?
Page 1
    • Browntoa
    • By Browntoa 4th Apr 18, 9:30 AM
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    • #2
    • 4th Apr 18, 9:30 AM
    • #2
    • 4th Apr 18, 9:30 AM
    Can they prove they didn't scratch it...

    I expect the car hire people to turn up with photos and witness statement
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    • microstar
    • By microstar 4th Apr 18, 10:21 AM
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    microstar
    • #3
    • 4th Apr 18, 10:21 AM
    • #3
    • 4th Apr 18, 10:21 AM
    Its not so much the scratch as the charge to repair it. To charge more to repair a hairline scratch than to replace the entire bumper with a new one is surely not on?
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 4th Apr 18, 10:35 AM
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    • #4
    • 4th Apr 18, 10:35 AM
    • #4
    • 4th Apr 18, 10:35 AM
    Advise friend to tell their card provider that this is a fraudulent charge? That way the card shouldn't be charged and Green Motion would need to take said overseas friend to court to claim the alleged debt ... good luck with serving court papers to an out of jurisdiction defendant.
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    • Zandoni
    • By Zandoni 4th Apr 18, 11:54 AM
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    • #5
    • 4th Apr 18, 11:54 AM
    • #5
    • 4th Apr 18, 11:54 AM
    They have a bit of a reputation.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5789730
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 4th Apr 18, 4:04 PM
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    • #6
    • 4th Apr 18, 4:04 PM
    • #6
    • 4th Apr 18, 4:04 PM
    As a starting point, ask for itemised costs (including a copy of the repair invoice).

    But just to warn you, I've seen a bill from a car hire hire company for replacing a scuffed plastic hub cap that was itemised like this:

    Delivery driver's fee from rental office to main dealer: x
    Parts and labour: x
    Delivery driver's fee from main dealer to rental office: x
    Loss of one day's hire: x
    Mileage/Fuel costs: x

    The hub cap cost about 10 or 20 - but the total bill came to 250.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 4th Apr 18, 5:06 PM
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    • #7
    • 4th Apr 18, 5:06 PM
    • #7
    • 4th Apr 18, 5:06 PM
    Of course, it is perfectly possible to bring a small claim to challenge the deduction.

    The first step would be to write a formal 'letter before action' to the company requiring further details of the deductions made or court action will be brought if an acceptable response is not received in 14 days.

    The claimant would need to physically attend court in the UK if the case was attended.

    I wouldn't bother trying to allege fraud. Overcharging is not fraud unless the overcharging was intentionally dishonest. Claiming fraud has no benefit to the case and I don't see how you can prove that fraud occurred. Just stick to overcharging.
    • microstar
    • By microstar 5th Apr 18, 6:25 AM
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    • #8
    • 5th Apr 18, 6:25 AM
    • #8
    • 5th Apr 18, 6:25 AM
    Of course, it is perfectly possible to bring a small claim to challenge the deduction.

    The first step would be to write a formal 'letter before action' to the company requiring further details of the deductions made or court action will be brought if an acceptable response is not received in 14 days.

    The claimant would need to physically attend court in the UK if the case was attended.

    I wouldn't bother trying to allege fraud. Overcharging is not fraud unless the overcharging was intentionally dishonest. Claiming fraud has no benefit to the case and I don't see how you can prove that fraud occurred. Just stick to overcharging.
    Originally posted by steampowered

    The reason I mentioned fraud is that in June 2017 Europcar UK were raided by Trading Standards in relation to charging inflated repair costs to customers and are currently being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.
    Green Motion seem to following the same business model and particularly when overseas renters are concerned. In the case I am discussing the renters are actually overseas postgraduate students studying in the UK and so resident here for a few years.
    Looking at online reviews it is clear that Green Motion have been operating in this manner for a good few years and I think its time customers challenged them, rather than just paying up. The damage is barely visible (a hairline scratch in the clearcoat lacquer on the bumper) - and even if my friends are responsible (which I think is unlikely) it could be wet-mopped out or even have a smart repair done for under 100. This is not a 700+ repair. Its just a very brazen attempt at extortion and I suspect that the same damage is generating income over and over again, without ever being repaired. The fact that the damage is not visible until the rear hatch is opened would mean that it would not be picked up on a pre-rental 'walk around' inspection by the customer, which is normally done with doors and hatch closed.
    • takman
    • By takman 5th Apr 18, 9:55 AM
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    • #9
    • 5th Apr 18, 9:55 AM
    • #9
    • 5th Apr 18, 9:55 AM
    The fact that the damage is not visible until the rear hatch is opened would mean that it would not be picked up on a pre-rental 'walk around' inspection by the customer, which is normally done with doors and hatch closed.
    Originally posted by microstar
    This is a common omission made by a lot of people who rent cars. Most people focus on the outside of the car in detail but rarely look inside the car. Any damage inside the car can still be expensive to repair so you should always open all the doors and tailgate when doing the inspection. Obviously this won't help your friend but it's a good point to bring up for anyone reading this thread.
    • TW1234
    • By TW1234 7th Apr 18, 10:36 AM
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    TW1234
    It is unlikely that any hirer would be able to identify every single spot of pre-existing damage, including any on the underbody. It is this difficulty which lies at the heart of the matter.
    However the absence of a record of pre-existing damage is not conclusive evidence of that possibility. It could have existed but not been noticed and recorded.

    If car hire companies were just paid for the car hire, the driver could refuse to pay for damage charges claimed at return; this would place the onus on the rental co to prove damage and claim a reasonable amount. For obvious reasons, they prefer to demand a pre authorised credit card deposit whilst offerring a contract that has "agreed" high charges for any damage, regardless of the value of the loss.

    The response required is to request a charge back and submit a claim to the credit card provider, on the grounds that the contract is an unfair contract ( penalty not loss, unequal parties, onerous terms & condition, quantum excessive) and that the damage pre-existed. If the credit card charge can be voided, then the car company will need to try to recover the alleged cost of damage and this will be subject to the normal claims process. Research the grounds for your request. (fairness and common sense are not grounds!)

    In the OP case, can you confirm that when you say "billed", the payment has already been taken from the credit card? If taken, you will need to approach the credit card provider. If ( unlikely) it is invoiced but not yet paid you can reject the claim and pass the ball back to the hire co.

    If paid and the cc provider will not void the transaction, you will have an uphill struggle to obtain a refund via a small claim, although it would not be impossible and would not be much more cost risk.
    Last edited by TW1234; 07-04-2018 at 10:39 AM. Reason: Clarity
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 17th Apr 18, 8:25 PM
    • 2,519 Posts
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    Johnmcl7
    My sister is having a similar issue with Green Motion car hire, she's been billed 800 for a tyre and can of sealant which they've taken out of her credit card account.

    Have your friends made any progress?

    John
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