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Hastings/Principia/Auxillis - Tricked into a car hire when told it was a courtesy car!


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So my first question, what happens if I simply decline their "offer" to represent "my case"? I dont believe there is anything in the Auxillis T&C's that states that co-operation extends to and includes to having to hire a solicitor myself? 

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I'm sorry but I'm losing the plot on this thread – partly because you are posting up so much detailed information and I really don't have the time to deal with it all.

This really is a DIY forum – in other words we try to empower you and point the way that it isn't helpful that you post entire contracts rather than discover the part that you think is relevant and simply post that so we can have a look.

In principle, you have a fully comprehensive insurance policy.
This means that your insurer is responsible for everything and I find it amazing that they try to pass it off to someone else and get you to sign a contract with that person. That seems to me to be unacceptable. When you get a fully comprehensive insurance with a company then as far as I'm concerned you pay them to do it all for you and you may have to pay an excess or you may have to pay increased premiums the next year – but they are meant to be a one-stop shop. So the fact that they are involving Auxillis and attempting to put them into a direct contractual relationship with you seems to be unacceptable and unfair – not what you paid for.

Secondly, it seems to me to be entirely reasonable that they should require that you cooperate with a solicitor. You pay an insurance to protect yourself from losses – not to protect and at-fault third-party from losses and so if the insurance company reckons that it is economically worthwhile going to the expense of pursuing the third party in order to recover their losses then I don't see why they shouldn't. Also, if they get their money back from the third party then it should mean that their insurance premiums for their own clients should be cheaper in the future because they are able to recover the money that they pay out. (Of course this is a load of rubbish – they will always try to get the money from both ends) – but the principal is sound.

I'm still struggling to see why you should object to the fact that you have to cooperate with their solicitor. However I don't see why there should be anything to sign about this. It should be in the initial contract of insurance that they will pay you out without quibble, that you will not have to engage with any other party such as Auxilis to make it happen – and that you will assist them in any reasonable way to recover their losses.

That's how I see the picture. I would be amazed if you can show me anything in any of the insurers terms and conditions which contradict this

I'd be interested to see what site team member @unclebulgaria67 has to say about this

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Thanks for the reply and I am also loosing the plot with the whole situation.

 

So I will try and consolidate:

I took out a fully comp insurance policy with Hastings 

 

Someone drove into the side of me and they accepted liability at the scene 

 

I put in my claim with Hastings and they told me that in their opinion it was a not a fault claim 

 

They told me I should contact a company called Auxillis to handle my claim on their behalf and that this would be best for me as I would not have to pay an excess or loose my no claims, in fact they told me it would be no different than them handling the case except I would be better off. 

 

I received an email from Hastings telling me to contact Auxillis to arrange a courtesy car and repairs to my vehicle

 

This I did and received an email from Auxillis advising that I needed to log into their portal to arrange my replacement vehicle and accept their T&C's for doing so

 

This I did believing I was arranging for the courtesy car

 

My car was deemed a total write off some weeks later and the car collected and I was paid out by Hastings

 

All was quiet until a week ago I received an email from Auxillis telling me that:

1) What I believed to be a courtesy car was in fact a hired car which was chargeable

2) Part of their T&C's was a credit agreement which made me liable for all the costs of the vehicle and there was a clause stated I must assist in recovery in the event of a 3rd party not paying up

3) The 3rd party was not paying

4) I was told that part of the "assist in recovery" meant I had to sign another contract with a law firm of their (Auxillis) choosing agreeing that I was hiring said solicitors and again would be liable for all fees and charges 

 

So Auxillis are trying to make me sign a contract with their solicitors to be fully liable for all legal costs while THEY peruse THEIR costs unless they can recover them - Hence my reluctance at an average charge of £150 per hour and they tell me it will take a min of 8 months!!

Edited by symbiosis
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Okay, this is quite a nice summary.

In that case I suggest that you write to Auxillis – copy to Hastings

Tell them that although you are happy to cooperate with any attempt to recover Hastings losses, you will not be held liable for any costs should they not recover all of their outgoings and that you consider that your entire legal relationship is between yourself and Hastings and that your insurance agreement with Hastings covers all eventualities.

You refuse to sign anything else.

Furthermore if they persist in hassling you about this, you will begin a complaint to the financial ombudsman service.

I can't really think of any other appropriate response

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On top of this, as I apparently agreed to a "credit agreement" with Auxillis, I can only assume that they are heaping on some ridiculous daily interest rate charge as well.

 

As you asked why I dont want to co-operate with Auxillis solicitors - What bothers me is the other stories I have since discovered whereby a judge has found liability to not be undisputed, Auxillis  then saying that the claimant had broken the terms of their credit agreement and ultimately coming after them for full payment (which by then also includes a hefty legal fee). Quite happy to co-operate in supplying evidence etc etc but I will be dammed if I should agree to take on the legal fees!! That is not co-operation, that is blackmail pure and simple

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I think i understand the situation.

 

You did not take out the optional legal expenses policy when you bought the Hastings policy.  Therefore your Hastings policy has no legal cover to help litigate against the third party and their Insurers to recover your uninsured losses such as excess, car hire etc. 

 

So you have ended up in the situation, where the third party Insurers have decided to dispute liability and you have a choice of taking action yourself or signing up to the Principia contract being offered.

 

So yes if you are unhappy with the Principia arrangement, then reject this and advise Hastings that you will be acting for yourself to recover the uninsured losses from the third party. If Hastings have written off your car and paid you, ask them whether they have attempted recovery of the write off cost from the third parties insurers.

 

Now is time to gather any information you may not have, such as full cost of hire car. 

 

Have you checked whether there is CCTV of the car park available, by submitting a Data Protection SAR to car park operator ?

 

When you don't buy the legal cover, you suddenly realise after a claim, that you will become the expert in trying to  recover the claim values.  Insurers to save costs, no longer employ all of the staff to provide the full service they did decades ago.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks, yes that is mostly correct barb the fact that Auxillis tell me they have not had any communication whatsoever from the 3rd party, I denial of liability, nothing. 

 

Funnily enough I emailed Auxillis last night for a full breakdown of the costs

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Thus far no response from Auxillis, only messages from their law firm telling me to sign their T&Cs - I have emailed them to say I have not given any permission to act on my behalf as yet so am not liable for anything they have done thus far. 

 

I spoke with Hastings, there was a disbute of liability from the 3rd party and they refuted that some time ago. At my request, they contacted the 3rd party insurer's who said they are still investigating. Apparently they have only a few weeks left to settle or Hastings will also be starting proceedings against them, however without my involvement. 

 

I am seeking legal advice on how to proceed now. To my mine, agreeing to fully cooperate with Auxillis in retrieveing their costs does not extend to me having to take on a solicitor myself. I'm more than happy to provide any information ie cooperate 

Edited by symbiosis
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Hi OP. 
 

Just as a bit of background I’ve spent several years working on the Defendant side of the credit hire fence. 


Auxillis and Principia Law have the same company directors. The companies are linked. You’ll almost certainly have to go with them under the terms of the hire agreement. 

 

You’ve signed a credit hire agreement. You believed it was a courtesy car based on the email from Hastings.  Did you read it? I know that Auxillis get you to sign these things electronically. 
 

9 times out of 10 as stated above, you’ll not get as far as trial and the two sides will settle. 
 

In the run up, you’ll have to assist Principia as they go through the stages of litigation.  Nothing to worry about immediately. 
 

The point it will affect you is the disclosure and witness statement phase. They’ll likely want to see your bank statements from the time of the accident and disclose these to the other side.

 

They’ll also need you to sign a witness statement.  They will prepare this so read this statement very (I can’t emphasise that enough), carefully before you sign it.  Make sure it’s true. They’ll use a standard witness statement as a template which will say things like ‘Auxillis contacted you and explained it was a credit hire agreement‘ etc etc.  Don’t sign anything that’s not true.

 

Edit: Apologies, just read that there’s a possible liability dispute. That slightly increases the chance of this ending up at a Court hearing. 
 

Do you know how much the total hire charges are? Are they below £10k?

Edited by SuperVillain
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Very helpful information. Thank you.

If the OP does get one of these witness statements to sign then maybe they would be kind enough to post it up here so everybody can look – and learn.

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Apologies for the lack of replies - I've been busy in talks with Auxillis, Principa and Hastings about all of this.

 

I am currently awaiting the outcomes of my official complaints and will let you know what happens

 

SuperVillian, yes the charges are a fraction of the sum you mentioned

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