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Car Hire Scam - £2,000 stolen


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Hi,

 

 

Need advice. We've been scammed by a car hire company and we're £2,000 out of pocket.

 

 

My wife recently hired me a prestige car for a milestone birthday. We had a great day – it was a wonderful surprise. And it wasn't cheap. The hire company had put her through the mill by turning up without the car she specifically requested. But she reluctantly accepted their alternative car to make sure I had a great birthday.

 

 

When the car hire company came to pick the car up one of them kept me talking whilst the other inspected the car. He wanted to offer me a 50% reduction on our NEXT HIRE for the inconvenience caused by not having the agreed hire car!!!

 

 

Two minutes later after inspecting the car in the pitch black of night with a torch the other guy comes back claiming damage. He'd identified a "paint chip" smaller than a finger nail in the pitch black of night – and “scratches on one of the alloys”.

 

 

 

I refused to accept the damage. We simply didn't drive anywhere (motorway and countryside) where kerbs could have caused the damage. I only signed the release form reluctantly alongside the capitalised words 'NO DAMAGE' and the inspecting guys initials that no damage had been caused during the hire.

 

 

 

This weekend my wife opened the credit card bill to find £2,000 debited by the hire company about 20 days after the hire.

 

 

We have reported an unauthorised transaction with the credit card company. We have notified the police. We are writing to the hire company recorded delivery requesting a reason why they have debited £2,000 from our card. If they claim damage - we will send a written request by recorded delivery for detail of the damage, proof that we caused and accepted the damage.

 

 

What else can we do?

 

 

They are trying to [problem] us and I am determined not to let this happen. It's a matter of principal.

 

 

Thanks in advance.

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You've done all you reasonably can. Incidentally it is not classed as theft, and the police will view it as a ccivil matter. Your card company will need to investigate this, so their fraud department is the place to go, so that the funds can be held back from the hire company until the accuracy of the matter is established.

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Thanks Buzby.

 

I have discovered this today before your post - which is gratefully received.

 

I have also today discovered that the guy who owns the company has just completed a three-year stretch inside for car theft and fraudulent cash transactions.

 

Surely this changes things?

 

Well you'd think so. When I told the police they actually had the gall to tell me that just because he is a convicted criminal doesn't make him guilty on this occasion!!

 

And thanks for the legal definition advice. I know why you say that. But for me - legally speaking or otherwise - it's still 'stolen' no matter what the legals say!

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You can bet your boots the Card company will be well aware of what the proprietor is up to - and it does no harm in reminding them. The chances are you're not the first and they are pretty hot on scams of this sort as all it takes is a few disgruntled cardholders to mark the Merchant's (hire company) account and you may find the reversal back on your card. If it was a Visa, they also have additional protection against fraud, ahead of the usual Section 75.

 

What an end to a birthday, eh? For the next big one I suggest you and the wife sit down in a darkened room with a bottle of wine! :)

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I had almost a similar thing happen to me 6 or 7 years ago and ended up taking the Car Hire company to court (and won!).

 

Firstly, you have not accepted liability and they should have obtained estimates for the cost of repair which would need to be agreed by you(thats what my company told me they would do). Ask to see the estimate and report the matter to your Card company.

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