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hi there not sure i am in the right place but if anyone can help i would appreiciate it.

 

I have a business which has non regulated hire agreements on about 8 vans and cars. I paid a lot of cash up front as the first intsallment for the vehicles and then the agreement was to pay by 23 monthly installments for the hire. The agreements started 07/07/08 and end 07/07/10.

 

Not one month has been missed.

 

The company i hired them off and whose name is on the agreement has gone bust...into liquidation and the insolvency company dealing with it has instructed bailifffs to come and collect all the vehicles and the bailiffs are claiming they have a note for repossession.

 

I would like to know wether this can be done given that i agreements and also i have no copies of the t & c on the back of the agreements to check wether they can do it.

 

any advice would be gratefully appreciated.

 

thanks

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Hello Angelsmile

 

this is happening more frequently than you would imagine - car and van rental is a risky business!

 

Your situation and outcomes is one of two scenarios:

1) You have signed a flexible leasing agreement with the hire company, detailing the two year payment plan and the deposit amounts etc. The document must conform to the Road Traffic Act to actually be legal (Most hire agreements are only available up to a limit of 180 days, yours must state it is for a longer period). You are more likely to have entered into a flexible lease if you have taken out your own insurance policy(ies). If you are using the hire firms insurance then in all probabilities you are not on a flexible lease.

 

2) You are spot hiring the vehicles, and although you have paid the deposit up front and signed what looks like a two year deal, in fact it will be rolling over every month or so and renewed at the hire firms end. This sounds more likely, especially as you say you haven't signed agreements which is very unlikely for a flexible lease.

 

If 1) applies then you are fine. The administrators/liquidators of the hire firm have an obligation to honour existing contracts, or buy you out. You have signed a two year deal, and the vehicle is yours, providing you keep up your end of the bargain and pay promptly etc, they can't take it back. Most hire firms have their vehicles financed, and it is that finance company who is now seeking to repossess the vehicle - if 1) applies to you contact the administrator or finance company and explain the situation. They will allow you to see out the term of your agreement if you are paying promptly - effectively they take over management of the contract you had with the hire firm.

 

If 2) applies you need to return the vehicles immediately. If the hire firm has only spot hired the vehicles to you, they are not yours to retain and at any time the hire firm, the liquidator or administrator, or court order can take the vehicles back. As the firm is bust you are unfortunately unable to claw back your deposit - the monthly payments you wouldn't get back anyway as you have enjoyed the use of the vehicles.

 

If 2) applies you should contact the adminstrator and register yourself as a creditor and see if you get anything back. If at a later date you can show the hire firm gave you the vehicles in bad faith - ie. they took the deposit off you when they knew they were going bust soon - you may be able to get the police involved against the proprietors for wrongful trading, but this is always a longshot.

 

If 2) applies and you take the view that you'll keep hold of the vehicles and just not pay the monthly installments until you have recouped your deposit, then be warned that if the company is in adminstration/liquidation the court dealing will authorise repossession orders / return of goods orders and the police will pull you and your drivers over as they will show up on the lost and stolen register. You would not be able to plead ignorance as the repossession agent who has been in contact with you will inform the court of this. Ordinarily the police don't get involved in repossessions, but when a company is going through the insolvency courts the judge can order the vehicles as effectly being 'stolen'.

 

 

I hope for your sake its option 1, but if its option 2 then I'm afraid you've probably been burned.

 

 

Regards

 

Rental Company

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hi there....

 

thanks very much....i do have contracts for all the vehicles but on my copies the agreements have not been signed.

 

The title of the agreement is Non-regulated hire agreement.....it then says...this is a vehicle hiring agreement made between us .....having our registered office at........and you the person(s) identified as hirer below.

 

It has the make , model, reg, chassis no, engine no etc detailed.

 

Then says...period of hire: 24 months commencing on the 8th July 2008 and ending on the 7th July 2010.

 

Then says ...Rentals: A first rental of £....(inc vat) payable on the date of this agreement followed by 23 monthly rentals each of £...(incl vat) commencing 1 month after the date of this agreement.

 

Then asks about maintanence included....which we dont...gives excess mileage charges...

 

Then a final box with a summary of payments and vat

 

Then the signature boxes.

 

I have our own insurance through Axa and not the lease company.

 

Any further assistance would be great before I contact the administrators.

 

thanks ever so much

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hi again....im getting a bit confused....i thought it was the administrators who were trying to recover the vehicles....however i have just realised i have not heard from the administrators and it is a debt collection co who are working on behalf of barclays who are trying to collect the vehicles. I assume they have financed the vehicles and this all makes sense now.

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Hello again

 

sounds about right. Barclays will now know the rental firm is in administration and under their finance agreement with the rental firm they are entitled to end their finance agreement and recover the vehicles. HOWEVER as previously stated the contract you made with the hire firm still stands and either needs to be honoured, or you need to be bought out - ie have your deposit returned.

 

Now you know who you are dealing with contact both the administrator and Barclays and explain your situation. You'll need to fax both copies of the lease agreement, and put a covering letter proposing to either carry out the contract to the end, or return the vehicles subject to getting your deposit back.

 

Barclays have a good legal team you can contact, there asset finance office is Churchill Plaza, Basingstoke. contact numbers can be googled.

 

You can try talking to the repo men as well but as they are not Barclays employees they only get paid if they recover the vehicles so they probably wont be interested in what you have to say.

 

Let me know what the administrator says, but legally speaking the contracts entered into by the hire firm before going bust, be it customer contracts, employee contracts etc are still live but are being administered by the court, and it is them that have to sort them out.

 

Again sorry for your inconvenience you have suffered, its a bit like the people who rent and then haev their landlord get repossessed and they get kicked out.

 

Finally meant to say earlier the repossession agents are not bailiffs and you need not assist them in any way if you don't want to. They are contractors working on behalf of Barclays and if you choose not to help them then that's your choice. If however at some point the court orders you to return the vehicles then you must comply otherwise you could be jailed for contempt of court.

 

Please keep me up to date.

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hi again...

 

right i spoke to barclays today and they are not interested in doing a deal i.e taking over the contract...nor are they interested in the fact that i have paid a deposit and have a contract and said they will get a court order to get the car back. I am going to write to them tomorrow and the administrators just so that i have something in writing to prove i have corresponded with them. They are no interested in any vehicle excpet a jag that I have. I told them i had lost a deposit and they said they ahd lost a lot more and want to recover some of the money.

 

Any ideas on what to do next would be great...

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hello again

 

your contract takes precedent over the administration of the company and barclays. You either need to be bought out or run the contracts length. Barclays do want to cut their losses and liquidate the vehicles immediately as it draws a line under the matter, but you still cannot be bullied around. I would recommend going to a solicitor and asking them to write a letter on your behalf, will cost around £100 but will be money well spent if you get to keep the vehicles.

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hi you...i did just that and have hidden the car for now. Letter was faxed last thurs to barclays and administrators and had no response yet. Fingers crossed

 

thanks for all your help...will keep you posted.

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hi again.....i have had an email from barclays and would really appreciate you looking at it and gioving any advice. I have not stated at any time to them that i am hiding the vehicle and I have no terms and conditions attached to the contracts as they are asking for. i am not denying they have title but am disputing the fact that the first month payment was in fact a deposit. I am going to write back today and ask for bank details to pay this months rental and say reinterate the fact that i want to keep the vehicle and pay for it or they give me some money back for it.

 

Here is the email....

 

We are in receipt of your letter dated 12/3. Please provide a copy of the terms and conditions associated with hire contract number 5525.

We would observe as follows:

- We have title to the vehicle.

- The first rental of £2816.48 is not a deposit.

In light of your clients' stated intentions of hiding the vehicle we have placed the vehicle on the security register with HPI, and are reporting it stolen to the police.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards

 

any advice greatly appreciated.....thanks

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hello again angelsmile

 

The first payment you made is such a large amount it is hard to see how Barclays or anyone else could reasonably assume it is anything but a deposit.

 

I would try and find the documentation, and definitely get your solicitor to write a letter to Barclays.

 

The HPI register alert is only there to flag up the vehicle if you try to raise finance against it or you try and sell it and someone checks on the register. Barclays do hold title to the vehicles so in theory can register them as stolen.... BUT here's the kicker. Go to your local police station tomorrow, take all the paperwork you can relating to the agreements and the hire firm going bust, and explain that at the moment you are trying to negotiate with Barclays and the administrators. Explain that the vehicles are insured under your own policy (take the certificate) and that the vehicles have not been stolen or lost, and that the issue with Barclays is completely civil and not a case or criminal theft. Tell the police to make sure that your statement is attached to the police national computer, so taht if B does report them as stolen, its flagged as a civil dispute and that they aren't actually stolen.

 

Write again to barclays explaining what you have done, quote the police reference, and state that you believe it is triable issue, ie. it needs to be decided by a judge. Again you should discuss this with your solicitor.

 

Good luck

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thank you very much i will do that. i am so grateful. Have not heard from barclays since i sent them an email last week asking for the bank details to pay this months rent.

 

will keep you posted.

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