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NSW Rental Car Company Claiming Full Amount After Car Accident

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by S Mahmood, 18 August 2015.

  1. S Mahmood

    S Mahmood Active Member

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    I rented a rental car while travelling in Australia in July 2013 and got into a car accident near Canberra.

    The rental car company is claiming accidental damages, over two years after the car accident. The next day after the accident I paid them the car insurance excess of about $1,900 at their Airport Office and confirmed that I am free of all liability, before leaving the country the day after. I also paid the traffic infringement notice that the police gave me for running over a give way sign. This was quite arguable but as I was a traveler on short visit, perturbed after an accident I did not contest it.

    At the time of the car accident I had travel insurance and credit card insurance against accidents, which cannot be claimed after such a long time as I have moved my country of residence and and not with the same bank any more. They are claiming in excess of $19,000 for the total damages and loss of business.

    I have not been residing in Australia for more than 10 years and live overseas. I cannot follow legal proceedings if they take it to court. I was explained at the time of renting the car that the Insurance Excess amount covers full damage.

    I will be very grateful to any one who can help me.
     
  2. Amanda E

    Amanda E Well-Known Member

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    Did you get something in writing confirming that you had settled the excess and no further charges were owed? It may be a longer shot to ask if you have kept all the relevant paperwork including the rental agreement and the excess/damage settlement paperwork..

    Have they stated why they're trying to claim such a large amount 2 years after the fact? It might be worth contacting NSW Fair Trading and potentially reporting the rental car company if they're being dodgy - see: Car Rental - NSW Fair Trading
     
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  3. S Mahmood

    S Mahmood Active Member

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    Thank you Amanda,

    Ironically about a month ago I moved my country of residence (from one Asian country to another) and got rid of the old paper work. I do have my credit card statement through which the Excess amount payment was made.

    The have not given me any reason why they are pursuing this amount after 2 years.

    Can you please answer one more concern, in case, if they take legal action against me and am not residing in Australia, what will be the consequences. Will the court summon me, or these proceedings can be delayed. I suppose the the question is can you take such a legal action again a person, who is a resident of another country in Australia where the accident occurred.

    After two years I am in no position to dispute my liability in the accident.
     
  4. Amanda E

    Amanda E Well-Known Member

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    Has the rental car company given you a break down of the costs? Did you total a whole car??

    NSW Fair Trading would be the organisation to contact at first instance.

    I think that the car rental company would be hard pressed to get a court to order you back to Australia if you've legitimately paid the car insurance excess, and they had confirmed you were not otherwise liable.
     
  5. S Mahmood

    S Mahmood Active Member

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    Many thanks again,

    I will be proceeding with a complain/inquiry to NSW Fair Trading. There was significant damage to the car (hood damage upto the radiated) if the decide to total the car, I would not have contested the decision.

    My concern is that after over two years I do not have a written confirmation from Thrifty's that my liability if over with the Excess Payment. The fine print they are referring is updated November 2014. (well after the accident)

    As an international traveler, I came to Australia on a short visit, Rented a car from the airport, asked for the best deal, when inquired about the insurance they told me that it will be cost the above stated Excess in case of the accident. Paid the stated Excess + plus some admin fess. Went to their city office, confirmed with them that I am free of liability, cut short the trip and left.

    I am a little skeptical that my complain to NSW Fair Trading would not have much supporting documentation, other than my passport showing my travel dates.

    Can't think of any other supporting documentation to add except for the Email claim made by Car Company. Can you suggest any thing else.

    Your comment/help is much appreciated. I live in a country where it is not possible to get legal advice for Australia.

    Thanks a million,
     
  6. S Mahmood

    S Mahmood Active Member

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    Hi,

    I have their current rental agreement terms, which clearly mention the possibility of me paying for the whole damage in case of an infringement.

    The company has not given me any reason to pursue the claim after 2 years, apparently they have a limit of 6 years.

    I have paid for the insurance and excess at the time of the accident. I do not live in Australia.

    Do I have case to defend in court?

    Thanks
     

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