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Sixt claiming damage that was already there

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Hi all

 

I need some advice on an issue that I have with Sixt. I will put in all events to hopefully give the full picture.

 

15th Feb hired a car at my local Sixt car hire office for 24 hours. No excess waiver taken

On checking the car with the employee I noticed some scratches on the front reg plate and bumper. I was told that these slight scratches did not count as damage. I signed the employees pda computer and was given the keys. No paperwork except the reciept that I signed in the office prior to going to collect the car. I did not have a camera to use at the time.

 

The car was due back by 11am on 16th Feb 2017. As per agreement I parked the car outside the office at around half midnight on the 16th Feb and dropped the key in the 24 hour dropbox. I checked online and noted that the car was checked back in at 7.07hrs. I understand that I am responsible for any damage until it is checked in.

 

I had to go to the office later that morning to resolve a separate fuel issue. The employee who checked the car in, informed me that he had to drive the car to the petrol station to put more fuel in. He was speaking very candidly with me. No mention of anything wrong with the check in.

 

5 days later I get an email stating that the car has new damage and I am liable. Upon investigation, I find out that the damage being refered to is the same scratches that were there already.

 

After multiple emails back and forth. I have denied all liability. My reasons are as follows:

1) The damage was already there. I informed the employee before taking the car. As per terms and conditions.

 

2) The photograph taken by Sixt was taken later on that day, after the car had been moved. Even though the damage was there, any new damage claimed could have been caused after the car was checked in. The car was parked in a way that a picture could have easily been taken where I left it. Why wasn't it?

 

3) Lack of consistency of the employees. The state of the car on check out was described as slightly soiled interior and exterior. On check in the state was described as clean. This could be the exact situation with the scratches. One person says it's ok, the next say it's not. This is obviously what has happenned.

 

4) I've been sent 2 different invoice amounts, 354 and 360 pounds. On one of the invoices it details labour charges and specific time spent on the repair. When I checked the car after the invoices were produced, the repair has not even been carried out.

 

5) In one of my emails I suggested that Sixt give customers a sheet of paper that shows a diagram of the car and any damage no matter how minor. This would avoid any confusement in the future. To my amazment one of these sheets was emailed to me with my signature on it. I have never seen this sheet let alone signed it. I feel that this could be classed a fraud.

 

6) The pictures of the car that Sixt produced showed extra markings that seem to have been added for the picture. I'm not sure if these were markings to point to the scratches or simply to make it look worse. These markings are not there now.

 

All in all I feel that they are trying it on with me. I have invited them to take me to court. I recieved another email today stating that as we are getting nowhere, they have no option other than to refer the case to their legal department, unless "we can come to an agreed settlement" . I feel very suspicious about this. If they are adament that I am liable, why would they want to reduce the charge?

 

You opinions and advice would be very welcome. Do you think I should let them take me to court?


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Nationwide - won claim 

Advice & opinions of mahharg are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Use your own judgment. Seek advice of a qualified insured professional if you have any doubts.

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Presumably they have your credit card details so it's not a question of whether they will take you to court, is a question of whether you will take any action to get your money back once they have put the payment through – no?

 

I'm afraid these kind of situations happen all too often and it is extremely difficult. If there was a question of taking you to court then you may stand a chance if you can produce some evidence – especially the fact that it was signed off as being in good condition in the interior and that they now say that it was a mess. You could say to a judge that that is a try on and so therefore that discredits all of the story.

 

I don't own a car any more and for the last 10 years or so I have only hired cars at holiday times when I've needed one. I'm afraid that I always photograph everything. And I always make sure that any damages noted down and initialled – however slight.

 

If I have to put the keys in a key box – which I don't like – then I take photographs of the car again, especially the rims, the doors and the bumpers. I'm afraid that all of this kind of suspicion and defensive behaviour eventually leaves you in shreds but roughly the same thing happened to me a long time ago and it's never happened since.

 

I must say that I have always thought that buying the waiver indemnity is always worth it for peace of mind.


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Thank you for your response Bankfodder. They don't appear to have my card details stored on their system and they certainly haven't taken anything. My deposit was refunded almost straight away. I didn't think of the fact that they noted the exterior as clean on return could also mean no damage. This is something that I take on board.

 

My main issues with them is their inconsistency, which to me appears very unproffesional. Also the forged signature.


Knowledge is Power

Go get em!

Have I been of any help to you? if so please click my scales to the left to enhance my reputation. Thank you. If not PM me.

 

Nationwide - won claim 

Advice & opinions of mahharg are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Use your own judgment. Seek advice of a qualified insured professional if you have any doubts.

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Alleging a forged signature is a very serious matter. If you really believe it then you should report it can get a crime reference number. If you made an allegation like that in a county court claim as a defendant then I think the judge would be very sceptical about it unless you did produce a crime reference number.

 

The fact that they refunded your deposit straightaway is certainly evidence in your favour that they checked the car over found that it was okay and then only later on start to reverse their decision – for whatever reason or other. Of course, they might simply have made a genuine mistake. However, the fact that they have changed their mind and the other inconsistency I think would help you enormously if there was a claim against you.

 

In terms of the work which has been charged to you but not carried out, of course they are under no obligation to carry out the work. They are entitled simply to claim for loss of value on the car. However, they would have to be straight dealing with you and if they have actually presented you with an invoice for work which is not done then this also would help you enormously in the event of a claim. If I were you, I wouldn't raise this particular matter with them but keep your powder dry in case they decide to make trouble for you. You say that you checked and found that the damage to the car was still there. Did you take a photo?


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Yes I did take a photo after I had recieved the invoice for the repair. Wish I did before I took the car but hindsight is great. When you say report the alledge forgery. Do you think that I should go to a police station to report it asap or should I wait to see what they decide on their course of action if any first?


Knowledge is Power

Go get em!

Have I been of any help to you? if so please click my scales to the left to enhance my reputation. Thank you. If not PM me.

 

Nationwide - won claim 

Advice & opinions of mahharg are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Use your own judgment. Seek advice of a qualified insured professional if you have any doubts.

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That's up to you. I expect that the police will simply tell you to go to Action Fraud. Action Fraud will do nothing but you will get a crime reference number. On the other hand, do you have any real evidence of forgery or is it simply your recollection?


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I only signed 3 things. A computerized device on the counter of the office, The reciept stating that I agree to terms and conditions plus the pda computer that the employee who checked the car with me had. I did not sign or see any paperwork "Pre rental checklist", yet my signature is on this paperwork. They hasve obviously transfered one of the signatures onto the paperwork. I don't know if they are allowed to do this. I would think not.


Knowledge is Power

Go get em!

Have I been of any help to you? if so please click my scales to the left to enhance my reputation. Thank you. If not PM me.

 

Nationwide - won claim 

Advice & opinions of mahharg are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Use your own judgment. Seek advice of a qualified insured professional if you have any doubts.

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One thing that does concern me and I suppose a lot of others think about is that although I feel very strongly about this and believe that I would rightly win in county court, what could the cost implications be if I were to lose? I am thinking court cost of £35 or whatever it is plus maybe their solicitor fees which I hope would not be too much. Not forgetting the claim itself plus 8% interest. All in all I would hope it wouldn't cost too much more simply because I want to dispute the claim. This could put a lot of people off.


Knowledge is Power

Go get em!

Have I been of any help to you? if so please click my scales to the left to enhance my reputation. Thank you. If not PM me.

 

Nationwide - won claim 

Advice & opinions of mahharg are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Use your own judgment. Seek advice of a qualified insured professional if you have any doubts.

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