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  1. Hi I'm currently in dispute with a hire car company over a refuelling charge. I have raised my query and they are, they say, investigating it. The transaction is for more than £100 and was paid for by credit card (Mastercard). The hire car company has already processed the charge for the disputed amount. What's people's view on whether or not I should inform the CC company now, or wait until I have a response from the hire car company? One twist is that the hire car company has processed two separate charges, each for less than £100 - does this change things or can I link the transactions? Thanks Abo
  2. Hello guys, I went on holiday to the USA recently, hiring a car from a well known international rental company in Massachusetts - although the vehicle I picked up was registered in the state of Pennsylvania. Whilst in the USA I made a left turn on an urban dual carriageway in the state of New Jersey - the weather was wet and it was night time, I approached the junction (which was lit with two overhead green lights and a green light on the right side of the road) with caution, in the appropriate lane, checked there was no oncoming traffic and made the turn. I noticed two camera flashes at the time but had no idea why or what I had done wrong. Upon my return to the UK I was sent a letter from the hire car company stating that Jersey City Municipal Court had issued an $85 fine for turning left against a red signal. I e-mailed the company (htallc.com) and asked for further information, and was sent a web link showing me turning left where there was, in the upper-left of the video, a single traffic light with a red arrow pointing to the left on the far side of the junction. As of today (months later) I have noticed that there was also an overhead light on the left hand lane which did not appear to be switched on either in my violation video or on google street view - 2643 JFK Boulevard West, heading left onto Montgomery St near St Peters University. I'm rather annoyed with this as before leaving for the USA I made an effort to read up on local driving laws and regulations and would never knowingly run a red light. If a similar junction existed in the UK I would certainly have contested the criminal charge in court on the grounds that it was not properly designed or enforceable. Furthermore, the red arrow is not included in the description of traffic signals in this particular states' Driver Manual (NJ page 186) so it hardly seems fair to require foreign drivers (allowed to drive for 1 year) to be aware of undocumented traffic signals. Legally, I was notified that all criminal fines to the court had already been paid by the hire company and that they would chase the debt as per a clause in the rental agreement. My options now appear to be to: try and contest the original fine on technical grounds, undoing the payment to the US criminal court by appealing via htallc (which I am sure would cost a fortune and involve unwanted travel abroad to a foreign court with no guarantee of success); to pay the charges and administration fees levied or to simply ignore the charges as they have become a civil rather than criminal matter and may not be enforced in the UK. I'm inclined to simply ignore the demand for payment (of just over $100) - can this debt be enforced against me in the UK, is it likely to be enforced and will non-payment affect my ability to travel to the USA or hire vehicles in the USA in the future? Bearing in mind I'm somewhat stubborn and not inclined to pay what I feel is an unjust fine, what action would you advise me to take and are there any unforeseen consequences of my current plan to simply ignore the debt?
  3. Hi Everyone, This is my first post and I'm really hoping for some advice. I recently (April 2011) went on a three week holiday to Australia. On this holiday we hired a Motorhome to travel across the country. At one point during the travels the vehicle was filled with unleaded rather than diesel. We immediately called the hire company, before starting the engine. They sent a mechanic, who towed the vehicle to his garage. The vehicle stayed at the mechanics all day and at the end of the day he came back from his various jobs and drained the tank of petrol. He then said it was safe to continue. I had to pay approx $200 for this rather than pay the $1000 excess. So we drove thought the night back to Melbourne, as it was approaching the end of my holiday. After about 1000km the vehicle completely broke down. The engine warning lights all came on and the car was driving extremely slowly with no power. So again we called the motorhome company. This time they were much slower but eventually sent a local mechanic who advised us to drive slowly and follow him to the nearest town. When we arrived at the town he said the vehicle was too big for him to have a look at. We called the company (Apollo motorhomes) who advised we should take the vehicle to a local VW garage who can determine the cause of the problem. We took it to the nearest VW garage who had the vehicle for the entire day, performing diagnostic tests. Eventually they came back to us and said there is no way the damage was caused by using the incorrect fuel. Apparently the fuel filter system was blocked to 99% which was causing the lack of power. This kind of damage could only be caused by years of build up. The VW mechanic explicitly confirmed that we did not cause the problem. The garage then called Apollo direct and told them the news. Apollo were not happy with this diagnosis so decided to tow the car to their own garage and perform their own tests to determine the cause of the fault. They said the tow truck would come the next morning and tow the car away but could only take 2 of us, despite there being three of us on the holiday. They also said we have to pay for the full cost of repair and the cost of towing the vehicle. We eventually decided to leave the vehicle and the keys with the VW garage and get an overnight bus to Melbourne. I checked my credit card and they had taken $1000 which was the excess on the insurance policy. They then attempted to take a further $1000 as apparently in the contract it states that if the damage to the vehicle was due to driver negligence then I would be liable for the full cost of repair. This charge was later cancelled and not taken from my credit card. After days of testing, surprisingly they determined the damage was my fault and I was liable for the full cost of repairs. Apparently they would bill me for the damage. I left Australia a few days later and returned to the UK. It’s only yesterday that my parents received a letter addressed to the address on my driving license which is my parent’s old address. The letter was forwarded onto them at their new address. The letter is from Debt Recovery Australia and threatens court action. There is no detailed breakdown of charges, no initial bill or opportunity from Apollo motor homes to pay and no evidence. The first contact we have had is from the debt recovery agency. I obviously do not feel I should have to pay this and don’t know how to proceed with a dispute. I am also wondering about their jurisdiction in the UK. The letter is outlined below: DRA Mercantile NOTICE OF INTENTION TO SUE Our ref: ***** Our Client: Apollo Motor Homes DRA Mercantile on behalf of Apollo Motor Homes, intends to issue a summons through the court for the recovery of $4,525.06 relating to damage sustained on 07/04/2011. In addition, we will be seeking recovery of legal costs, court costs and added interest. Please be aware that the potential consequences of a Court Judgement are: Seizure of property under Writ Of Execution Garnishee of Salary or Wages Bankruptcy proceedings You are advised to attend to this matter immediately to avoid legal proceedings and additional expenses that will be involved Payment is to be made to DRA Mercantile by Cheque or Electronic Transfer to ANZ Bank, BSB *** *** ACC ********* quoting Ref No: *****. Signed Rina ****** Legal Executive PH:**** *** *** Sorry it was such a long read but I felt I needed to fully explain the situation. If there is any advice anyone could give me it would be greatly appreciated. Many Thanks,
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