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How to fight a UK company when we live in France?


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We are british, living in France, being diddled by a uk car hire company (trustpilot rating 0.5/5!) for a rental when we were in UK. Using a UK credit card.


We are using resolver.co.uk (which is good) as are the company. But it keeps going on, they keep charging semi-random amounts on the card which we have to get frozen and so on. It really has been a considerable amount of trouble by now.


We've got the "bill" down from £1450 to £85, so we are making progress. They are only claiming now for a valet charge which is baloney.


Can I use the uk small claimslink3.gif court procedure without having to attend? Should I? Is there some better alternative (like getting a hearing in France would be handy).


Is it correct the claim would have to be restricted to the £85 plus actual expenses, nothing for hassle and distress and time spent?



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No you can't make a claim in England without a UK address for service and also you would have to attend.


You could have a look at this:- https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_small_claims-42-en.do - The European Small Claim Service. I have only recently heard of it and I don't know how it works. You might like to let us know.


It would help us of course if you told us the whole story because you really haven't told us very much at all.


Whereabouts in France do you live?


Incidentally, what is the name of the company – or are you trying to protect them?

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seeing as you asked:


We hired a car from Europcar, dropped it off at Ebbsfleet eurostar station on a sunday, so just put the keys in a dropbox


a week later they sent us a bill for £1200, then charged £1450 (ie cashed the £250 deposit as well as charging the 1200). Their reasons were a damaged seat adjuster (never touched it - anyway they have abandoned this) and a full valet.

The valet is

1 ridiculous , the car was left in a very aceptable state

2 they claimed fag ash - not us matey, and mud and grass. True there was a bit of grass on the floor, We nearly picked it up ourselves it would have taken a couple of minutes at worst.

3 They've sent us now two sets of photos, taken at two different places, neither of them being the drop off car park. When I ran a company we had a Damage procedure with a witness called immediately if a customer returned something in a bad state. Nowadays any sensible company would take photos the moment they opened the car door.

The photos whenever they were taken show the floor in a much worse state than we left it, ie someone has sprinkled some grass cuttings and whatever, but still nothing that a vacuum wouldn't sort. No mess shown on the seats etc so no reason for a valet. My OH still boils at the pics of used tissues, she made a point of removing them as it wouldnt be nice for other people to have to pick up.


They sent us some hard to decipher copy bills, but there was an amount captioned valet for £60. It's for this that they are charging 85, but still no explanation as to the difference.


They've also double charged, cancelled bills and then charged them anyway and whatever. Hopeless. Dishonest and incompetent.


Like I said resolver.co.uk is useful. The card company have resisted a bit but have "put into dispute" all the various amounts charged, so ok so far.


But today Escrocar said they are sticking to the £85, so it's war. I'll look at the Europe procedure that seems v hopeful thanks

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You can make a claim against a defendant in England and Wales through the English courts. You can do this through the money claim online service. You would have to attend the eventual court hearing at the defendant's local county court.


A claim issued through the European small claim service would be allocated to the defendant's local county court and then treated as a small claim, so you end up in the same place. There isn't really any advantage to using the European procedure. I wouldn't recommend it because the procedure is so rarely used that court staff are unlikely to be familiar with how to deal with a European claim form - the chance of encountering screw ups would be very high.


Personally I think you'd be better off chasing the credit card company.




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  • 2 weeks later...

I used to work for one of the biggest car hire company. Always, Always, Always get a proper damage report before and after the rental. These are low margins businesses and when they are short on cash or profit they will try these sort of things, especially if you don't take their expensive damage covers - on which they make phenomenal profits.

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