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VIC Car Insurance Dispute with Rentalcars.com - Sue through Small Claims?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Peter Horton, 4 August 2015.

  1. Peter Horton

    Peter Horton Member

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    In May this year, I travelled to England to visit family. I normally do this every other year. I always hire a car and did so this year, in fact 2 hires, both using rentalcars.com.

    When I went to pick up the first car at Heathrow airport, I was advised that there was no car insurance on the vehicle and that I would have to buy insurance before I could take the car. This left me no choice as I had prepaid the rental. The insurance ended up costing $1316.48.

    The 2nd hire had standard insurance included with an excess of $1500 (which I always insure in Australia).

    I contacted rentalcars.com via email the following day and many days since all to no avail.

    The story according to them is that it is my fault that the booking went through their US systems and did not include insurance as most people hiring in the US have insurance with their credit cards.

    "Please be advised that the location you made your booking from depends on the IP address used to make the booking, which is detected automatically when you access our website.

    How do I go about suing them? Can I do it through the small claims or do I need to use the UK system?
     
  2. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi Peter,

    Did you make the booking in Australia?
    Does rentalcars.com have an Australian office/branch?
    What does the terms and conditions say about insurance? Did the website represent to you that insurance costs would be included?
     
  3. Peter Horton

    Peter Horton Member

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    Hi,

    Both bookings were made from my home in Melbourne.
    rentalcars.com have a NSW phone number but a UK address.
    I booked both cars after checking out the best deal which was rentalcars.com, for some reason one of the bookings went through their US website. They think I should have realised this.
    I just assumed that both bookings had included insurance as stated on the website. There is not an option to select "NO" insurance when you book through rentalcars.com from Australia. The problem is they did not pickup the fact that it was a UK hire from Australia when it hit their US system.

    Regards
     
  4. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi Peter,

    It seems unreasonable for the company to expect you to realise you're booking through the US system unless it is clear from their website that you are paying through the US route. Contact Consumer Affairs Victoria as you may be protected under the Australian Consumer Law (if the total cost is less than $40,000). The CAV is a free service set up to enforce and oversee the ACL in Victoria. They offer free dispute resolution services between consumers and businesses and at the very least, can provide you with some helpful information.
     
  5. Peter Horton

    Peter Horton Member

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    Thanks,
    The extra insurance for the 26 day hire was just over $1,300.
    I sent consumer affairs an enquiry last week, I will contact them again tomorrow.
     

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