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Advice needed: Claims management company court case

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Hello Caggers

 

 

I surely can't be alone in being in this position, but I can't find any other threads on the subject.

 

 

I was rear-ended by a third party (very little damage to my vehicle, but her's was a real mess), and I foolishly followed Admiral's advice in using their recommended Claims Management Company (Albany Assistance - I use the term advisedly!).

Long story short, they took five working days (spanning a weekend) to do a whole load of unnecessary investigation, and gave me a credit hire vehicle for the duration (nine days total).

Given that they were holding my car hostage, this was all outside my control.

 

 

However, the third party's insurers are refusing to pay up for the excessive car hire charges, so Albany (through one of their partner companies) have issued a county court claim against the third party herself, but as I have incurred the charges, I have ended up as the claimant.

 

 

Does anyone have any experience of this type of case, and can give me any advice as to what line to take in court (Monday 12th). Maybe transcripts of any case you might have been involved with or know of???

 

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

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Did they consult with you or ask your permission? Who signed off the statement of truth?

 

Surely, if they have decided to bring a claim – using you as the vehicle[sic] for the action, it is they who are doing all the work, providing representation et cetera et cetera… No?


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Are Albany providing you with a legal advisor / representative?.

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Thanks for the replies.

To be fair to them, they have provided paralegal support, and will provide me with representation at Court. However, it was put in place as a fait accompli as far as I was concerned. I have an insurance policy which indemnifies me against the third party not paying up (including, presumably, losing the case in Court), but that does rely on me cooperating with Albany in recovery of the costs.

They prepared (and I agreed and signed) the statement of truth.

 

 

I am assuming that Principia Law (who coincidentally occupy the same building as Albany Assistance) are experienced in managing claims on this subject (it may well be their entire business), so hopefully their appointed barrister will have some idea of case law.

 

 

I genuinely feel for the girl who is the defendant in this case, as the costs are out of all proportion with the amount of damage caused to my car, and relate to the massive money-making merry-go-round that is claims management: Accident Repair Centre, Credit Vehicle Hire company, Solicitors, etc, etc.

 

 

At the end of the day Admiral Insurance are to blame for steering me unwittingly down this route (no doubt they are in bed with Albany et al too), and I would recommend avoiding this approach.

 

 

Don't even get me started on the likely impact on all of our insurance premiums ...!

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I find it amusing that the Govt is grabbing headlines by promising to tackle injury claims whilst hire cases are just as bad as not worse. It sounds like the fault insurers feel either the duration or rate was excessive, they probably have a point. Sometimes I see cars worth £500 racking up hire bills of £5000.

 

You don't need to worry too much about tactics in court, it's worth going in with the paperwork provide plus a one-page note of basic info like when you got the hire car, when you gave it back and whether the vehicle itself was required. If you already have two other cars, probably not - if you have a Ford and they gave you a Ferrari, probably not.

 

You will not be subjected to any kind of aggressive examination so just keep it simple, stick to the facts and go for yes/no answers when you can. It will be more like a business meeting than a big criminal trial and you'll mostly be confirming the evidence provided by the accident management co.

 

There's probably only about a 5% chance it will run as far as you being questioned. It may well be agreed the day before or just before the hearing when the barristers meet.

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Thanks for the replies.

To be fair to them, they have provided paralegal support, and will provide me with representation at Court. However, it was put in place as a fait accompli as far as I was concerned. I have an insurance policy which indemnifies me against the third party not paying up (including, presumably, losing the case in Court), but that does rely on me cooperating with Albany in recovery of the costs.

They prepared (and I agreed and signed) the statement of truth.

 

 

I am assuming that Principia Law (who coincidentally occupy the same building as Albany Assistance) are experienced in managing claims on this subject (it may well be their entire business), so hopefully their appointed barrister will have some idea of case law.

 

 

I genuinely feel for the girl who is the defendant in this case, as the costs are out of all proportion with the amount of damage caused to my car, and relate to the massive money-making merry-go-round that is claims management: Accident Repair Centre, Credit Vehicle Hire company, Solicitors, etc, etc.

 

 

At the end of the day Admiral Insurance are to blame for steering me unwittingly down this route (no doubt they are in bed with Albany et al too), and I would recommend avoiding this approach.

 

 

Don't even get me started on the likely impact on all of our insurance premiums ...!

 

 

Credit hire does need some further regulation.

 

You don't need to prepare anything or supply case law. Just turn up and given your evidence.

 

Is there a personal injury claim too?

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No, absolutely no injury claim! They tried to ask me if I wanted to pursue that angle, but I am honest and upstanding enough to say no.

 

 

Thanks for the advice re: the case. The last I heard from the paralegal handling things, they were still confident of a settlement before court.

I'm pretty sure I have rebutted their defence that the car wasn't required (the only other car in my household is my wife's, who needs hers for work too). The sticking point is that they claim I could have afforded to hire a car privately, rather than get an extortionate vehicle on credit hire, so I have provided 6 months of bank and credit card statements to show I couldn't.

The problem was they never offered me a list of cars, but assumed a "like-for-like" replacement for my knackered old thing was a top of the range premium marque. That wasn't in my control, so I hope that will work in my favour, as I did everything in my control to mitigate my losses.

 

 

Cheers

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Nothing wrong with a PI claim if you were genuinely injured.

 

If you can show a need and that you were impecunious then I wouldn't worry.

 

9 days isn't long and would be a reasonable time to get your vehicle examined and the settlement cheque out to you.

 

A lot is made about "like for like" but what do the other side expect? No hire company rents out old bangers and are usually 2-3 years old at most.

 

Worst case is that the daily rate of hire is knocked down and your hire company just take the hit.

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Thanks, that is encouraging.

 

 

Absolutely agree with legit PI claims being chased, but they always try to make out that you could get more if you over-egged it a bit!

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Slimm has summed the situation up very well.

 

As they mention, these rarely make it to court as this racks up court and legal costs that are avoidable by some negotiation on the total hire costs.

 

If you're not happy with Albany, please leave a review for them on on reviewcentre or trust pilot, their reps fr

review and this is at odds with their reputation.

 

N.B they have rebranded themselves as Auxillis to distances themselves from Albany

 

 

http://www.reviewcentre.com/Car-Insurance/Auxillis-www-auxillis-com-reviews_1985835

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For those of you who have kindly contributed to my thread, I thought you might be interested to learn that the parties settled out of court yesterday. While I was (probably) indemnified against losing the case, by virtue of a policy taken out at the time of signing my contract with Albany, the third party driver (a young woman) would not have been, so I am happiest for her, especially just before Christmas (assuming it is her insurer that has agreed to cough up).

 

 

Cheers

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Glad it got sorted out.

 

The third party driver was never at risk of having to put her hand in her own pocket though, assuming she was properly insured. Her insurer is obliged to pay for all claims which are successfully made against her, so while they can say to Albany "you're having a giraffe - take it to court if you like", if Albany do take it to court and win then they can't continue refusing to pay. So while on paper the claim might be you vs the other driver, in practice it's actually Albany vs her insurer, and it's her insurer who ends up paying if she loses.

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I'm glad to see someone else has mentioned this on here, though not as glad as I might have been a few months ago to have seen it –*I'm in a near situation to the OP, albeit via Hastings.

 

Passed onto Albany when, after being hit by a third party with the amount of damage virtually guaranteeing the car, an 2002 Ford would be a write off, I asked Hastings about a courtesy car –*Albany were too happy to help and said I needed to check a few documents online and once signed they'd be able to send a car, albeit a hire car, though they were at pains to point out that it wouldn't cost me anything and that anything about fees on the documentation I should avoid as it wouldn't apply. So that done that passed me onto Helphire who arranged for a 2015 Vectra to be delivered. Only kept the car two weeks as I bought a new car then and cancelled the hire car which was then picked up. Seemed like the end of the matter.

 

However after Albany saying in October they were submitting the costs, just over £950, to the third party insurers, the third party insurance have refused to pay so Albany then instructed Principia to act and get the money back and have issued a county court claim, with myself named as claimant and third party as defendant. They sent a questionnaire about the accident and whether there are other cars I could have used or if I have credit cards before sending out the county court form. As with the OP I have an insurance policy which indemnifies me against the third party not paying up (including, presumably, losing the case in Court), but that does rely on me cooperating with Albany in recovery of the costs.

 

Stressed doesn't begin to cover it, it's one of those "had I known then" situations really....

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Bob, sorry to hear of your only-too-familiar tale. I had the indemnity policy too, and I had sort of assumed it would cover me against even losing the case in court, but I don't know if they can get out of it by accusing you of lying when "signing" the online agreement. The third party's solicitor went down various routes of defence, including requiring me to produce 6 months worth of CC and bank statements. When that one didn't look like it was going to stand up in court, they tried to claim that the contract wasn't binding, as there was no evidence I had signed it, until Albany produced a digital footprint of me having done so.

I don't know how much of a foregone conclusion the out-of-court settlement is in this type of case, but it's bloody stressful. I feel sorry for the young mother who was the TP, facing close on 3 grand of debt just before Christmas.

 

 

Good luck with yours. Let me know if you need any pointers.

 

 

PS I got a cheque on Friday for the only money I actually had to shell out for the damage (£60 for a light cluster!) - a YEAR to the day since the collision!

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Good to hear from someone else who's been through similar

– I had the letter through about any court date I couldn't make so that's raised the stress levels a bit again.

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I defend claims from credit hire companies on a regular basis. It's interesting to see this from the Claimant's point of view. You can imagine it goes on but a first hand account like this is eye opening.

 

All I will get to see is the standard witness statement the accident management company prepares for you and you rarely get an actual insight into how the referral came about.

 

Interesting whether your ATE insurance for the Court case would cover you if you wanted to put the whole truth, as above, into the witness statement and lost. Maybe that would not be deemed as co-operative.

 

I won't mention specifics about the law firm mentioned above but recently noticing a pattern of them throwing losses into Court proceedings which were fully paid long before they were even instructed by the hire co.

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Hello,

 

I've a similar story where my car got rear ended.

 

I've decided to use Sytner (Mercedes dealer) Insurance to claim for me in order to repair the car in the official dealership.

 

Sytner then uses Auxillis and everything was taken care properly but after 1/2 months I've received the contact from Principia Law where they will act for me to recover the HIRE CAR loses.

 

I'm concerned about the terms and conditions where it's mentioned the costs (success costs + police report etc) that I've to pay that I was not aware!

 

I was not aware of the need for an external company and hidden fees, can someone explain a bit more how this works ?

 

Thanks in advance

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In brief, you have ultimate liability for the hire charges, that is the nature of the credit hire agreement you have signed.

 

Your agreement with Auxillis will mention somewhere regarding your obligation to assist them in any litigation to recover the hire charges.

 

To do this they instruct a law firm, in this case Principia, to deal with that side of things.

 

How much did the hire charges total (i.e. was it over £10k)? And do you know if the other side's insurers have formally admitted liability for the incident?

 

Without seeing the T&Cs it's hard to say what your obligations under that contract are. Maybe you could copy/paste the specific sections that concern you, however I would not suggest posting up the entire T&Cs on here without first consulting a member of the site team to check that it's ok to do that.

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The dreaded accident management companies. In 2011 I was in the same position as the OP and in the end everything got sorted out of court.........................THEN today i have come in from work to a solicitors letter stating that they still have not been paid for the car hire charges from an accident in 2011.

 

Hate them with a passion.

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When was your accident? 2011 was 6 years ago so they must be bordering on the claim being statute barred if they haven't already issued proceedings...

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Yep it will be 6 years in July. Really dont know why they are lettering me about it.

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Because if it was a credit hire agreement you signed then you are personally liable for the charges if the other side's insurance company doesn't pay them.

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For those of you who have kindly contributed to my thread, I thought you might be interested to learn that the parties settled out of court yesterday. While I was (probably) indemnified against losing the case, by virtue of a policy taken out at the time of signing my contract with Albany, the third party driver (a young woman) would not have been, so I am happiest for her, especially just before Christmas (assuming it is her insurer that has agreed to cough up).

 

 

Cheers

 

well I've now received the request recently for financial details at the other party, or their insurance/solicitors to be more precise don't want to pay up, though I"d rather not someone else into my financial details not that theres mcc there to look at or be interested in (quite literally) it seems that the sooner it's done the better for the case – though with my stress levels hitting the roof every time I get contact about the case it's not much of a fun time of life, made wise by my parents both being ill and needing hospital treatment at the moment too

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Impecuniosity - one of the credit hire buzzwords.

 

the vehicle you hired, being subject to a credit agreement, is provided at a (sometimes much) higher daily rate than if you went to a hire company like Enterprise or Thrifty and hired normally. The legal position is that if you are impecunious (i.e. you couldn't have afforded a hire car from a regular company) you/the hire co are entitled to recover the full credit hire rate. If you could afford to hire a car from a regular company, you/the hire co are only entitled to recover the lowest of the normal rates available at the time.

 

So you have to disclose financial information (I ask for all bank, building society, credit card and savings account statements) to support the notion that you were impecunious, in order to recover the full amount of the hire you were charged.

 

As an extreme example of the differing rates, I'm currently dealing with the credit hire of a sports car at a daily rate of over £950. The cost to hire a similar car from a non-credit hire company ranges from £300 to £600 per day. Huge differences when you're considering a hire that lasted more than 20 days...

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This is interesting to get your viewpoint over this – and in return you can see the stress these agreements cause too of course – so therefore how many of these cases have actually gone to court in your experience? And what happens if it's decided that you weren't at fault for the accident, you didn't hang on to the hire car for ages for the sake of it, that you did need one but it's adjudged that you could have afforded to pay the higher hire rate? Do the insurance just have to pay up themselves or would they then chase you for the money, even though the hire agreement and agreement with the solicitors says you won't be liable for payment as long as you help the solicitors out with whatever they need with the case?

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