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Hertz instructed debt collectors to get money for a clutch I didn't break


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Hi,

I live in London and I rented a van (Hertz) last February.

After driving for 6 miles (35 minutes in total) the clutch burned out and I had to call AA (through Hertz) to rescue the van. I then got a letter from Hertz asking to pay £850 to cover the damage.

 

I sent them various emails asking for more info and pushing back those charges but I recently received a letter from their debt collection department.

 

I asked support from BVRLA but they said that it was my fault (mentioning negligence and I should have contacted Hertz as soon as I started driving the van) and I have to pay.

 

I am going to add a bit more details just in case.

- When I started driving the van (my house is less than a mile away from the rental place) I noticed that the biting point of the clutch was a bit lower that usual (I drove different vans in the past) but I thought it was me adjusting to drive a manual again (I've had an automatic for 3 years but drove a manual for almost 20).

- When the AA mechanic collected the van he said that it was impossible that it was me burning down the clutch.

- Both Hertz and DVRLA sent me a video with the damaged clutch with a report stating that the damage was caused by misuses instead of the normal wear and tear.

 

What should I do now?

Contact a solicitor (I don't want to end up paying more money though)?

Get in contact with Hertz again?

 

Thanks.

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What is BVRLA /DVRLA ?

Send an SAR to Herts and also asked the AA for a report. If there is any difficulty then send the AA an SAR.

You certainly won't need a solicitor – apart from anything else, a solicitor will cost you a load of money – and probably won't get you anywhere.

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1 minute ago, BankFodder said:

What is BVRLA /DVRLA ?
 

 

From their website (https://www.bvrla.co.uk/) :

 

About the BVRLA
Established in 1967, the BVRLA is the UK trade body for companies engaged in vehicle rental, leasing and fleet management.

 

Basically they are supposed to help customers to deal with complaints against these rental companies.

 

2 minutes ago, BankFodder said:

Send an SAR to Herts and also asked the AA for a report. If there is any difficulty then send the AA an SAR.

 

I am going to have a look into this.


Thanks!

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Don't have a look into it – simply send them. Do it today.

When the BVRLA had made their decision, had they contacted you for your version?

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By the way, I wouldn't set too much store by the BVRLA  . They are really just another quasi "ombudsman" organisation which really exists to support the industry.

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26 minutes ago, BankFodder said:

Don't have a look into it – simply send them. Do it today.

 

I never sent one before and I was reading the SAR related page of this site to understand what it is. I read that I can send it via email and I am going to send one today.

 

26 minutes ago, BankFodder said:

When the BVRLA had made their decision, had they contacted you for your version?

 

After I received the debt collector, letter sent via post, I submitted a complaint through their website and their replied (9th September) stating the following:

 

Quote

Dear xxxxx,

We are writing to advise you that we have completed our investigation into your complaint against Hertz. Having carefully reviewed the information from both parties we are now in a position to offer our comments and observations.

We understand that you seek for the cancellation of charges as you state you did not damage the clutch of the vehicle.

Hertz have confirmed that 14 hours into your rental you called them to state you had issues with the clutch of the vehicle. Roadside assistance was sent and the vehicle was taken to Halford’s repair centre. In order to ensure we remain impartial in our investigation we require the rental company to provide us with an independent report from a garage to confirm that the clutch damage occurred as a result of misuse, please find this attached. The garage have stated that the vehicle suffered a burned out clutch due to driver misuse and that the clutch was not damaged as a result of a mechanical defect or ordinary wear and tear. A video is also attached for your viewing of the clutch to demonstrate the burning that has occurred.

 

When vehicle damage occurs as a result of negligence, the excess is invalidated and the driver is responsible for the full cost of the repair work. In your case, as the report from the garage confirms that the clutch was burned out via driver misuse, we cannot request that the charge for the repair is removed.

We understand that you state you have been entered onto Hertz’s do-not-rent list, unfortunately it is a commercial decision and we cannot request you are removed from this list as any business has the right to decline service to anyone.

With consideration of the evidence before us, our perspective is that the charges have been correctly raised by Hertz and we are unable to uphold your complaint against them. We would like to assure you that all aspects of your complaint have been fully examined and would wish to thank you for bringing the matter to our attention.

Kind regards,

I then replied telling them that despite their decision (listing few more points), I still did not believe I am liable for the damage and subsequent charges from Hertz and they replied (14th Sept):

 

Quote

 

Thank you for your reply.

We appreciate your points, however, as explained, the independent report states that the issue was caused by clutch abuse and therefore it cannot be attributed to any other cause.

We cannot comment on any verbal exchanges that you may have had as these are not documented.

If you collect a vehicle and you experience issues with it from the beginning, you must contact the rental company immediately, as this was not done, we cannot confirm this version of events.

As we have all relevant information required, we are unable to request any further information from Hertz.

We are sorry, we are unable to assist you further.

Kind regards,

 

 

And now I am a bit stuck not knowing how to proceed.

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We could do with some help from you.

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Write to BVRLA and tell them that you reject their findings and you would like a copy of the investigation and all associated correspondence.

In a separate letter – sent on a separate day – because they are incapable of dealing with two issues in single letter, send them an SAR.

So I understand that they have received no representations from you at all. Everything has been done on the basis of what Hertz has said to BVRLA who have formed their opinion on that and the garage report.

Of course we don't know who the garage is – and of course we also don't know anything about the previous history of the vehicle.

I shouldn't be worried about it if I were you – but you may as well play them along and gather as much information as possible. They should realise of course that if they go to court they will have to produce all of the evidence including the history et cetera. It's clearly a try-on

 

They are not filing for bankruptcy in the UK

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By the way, have you any idea of the mileage of the vehicle when you took possession of it?

In the very worst scenario, they wouldn't be entitled to a brand-new clutch. They would only be entitled to a proportion of a brand-new clutch based upon the mileage which had already been driven on the vehicle.

So if the vehicle had done 50,000 miles in the normal clutch life would be expected to be 100,000 miles, then they would only be entitled to half of value – not the entire value. However it won't come to that

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Thankfully I took a picture of the van's dashboard and the mileage was 24,130 miles.

 

On a side note, can I request a SAR via email?

 

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Yes you can request an SAR by means of email.

I wonder what the expected life of a clutch on that kind of vehicle – given that is a rental vehicle – would be.

 

I suppose that the most likely scenario is that it has been driven so roughly by a series of renters that the clutch was in bad condition anyway and that it finally failed when it came into your position.

If this did go to court, I think there would be no problem getting a judge to accept that this was more likely than not the case. (The standard of proof in civil cases simply 51% – meaning that a judge accepts that what you say is probably true. This is to be compared with the standard in criminal cases where the jury must be absolutely satisfied – beyond a shadow of a doubt)

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and don't panic about powerless DCA's 

see below in red

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please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

 

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

 

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

 

 

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Just my two pence worth, but, they state that...

Quote

The garage have stated that the vehicle suffered a burned out clutch due to driver misuse

Which driver?

 

The vehicle has been misused prior to you renting it, lets see if they can prove it was you who burnt the clutch out, doubt it.

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Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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The point made by Bazooka Boo is precisely the one that struck me when I read the correspondence from the BVLRA.

 

A clutch can't fail as quickly as this one unless it's been abused previously.  (It would be interesting to see the Hertz/BVLRA inspection report to see how the person writing it concluded that it must have been the OP rather than a previous hirer who must have caused the damage - but I suspect their report doesn't actually say that anyway).

 

If Hertz do sue I'd make a counterclaim against them for hiring me a defective vehicle... 

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no don't ever counter claim... esp in small claims as it takes the gloves off over costs.

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please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

 

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

 

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

 

 

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Guys you have no idea how helpful you all have been. Thank you. 
 

I have another question about the Subject Access Request. I have found this template on your site 

 and I was wondering if I can use it replying to the chain of emails (hertzuk247@hertz.com) I sent to hertz about this issue or I have to send them a new one to their privacy specific one (euprivacy@hertz.com) I found on their site https://www.hertz.co.uk/rentacar/privacypolicy/index.jsp?targetPage=privacyPolicyView.jsp

 

Also, do I have to specify the info I’d like to get from them (e.g. Rental Information) or the template, as it is, is good enough?

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You can certainly use it as part of the chain of emails – but you will be better off sending it is a separate request because their brains get in a tangle if they have to deal with more than one thing at a time

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Thank you BankFodder,

 

I just sent 2 email to Hertz and BVRLA privacy departments.

 

I am going to send an email to AA asking if the mechanic that reviewed the van can write me a statement where he declares, from his professional point of view, that it was impossible for me to burn down the clutch after only 6 miles.

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18 hours ago, dx100uk said:

no don't ever counter claim... esp in small claims as it takes the gloves off over costs.

 

2 minutes ago, Manxman in exile said:

 

Thanks - I didn't realise that!

 

lupin3d - ignore my counter-claim suggestion and listen to the others, not me...

actually the site team has been discussing this and we have decided that this only happens very rarely and if there has been a counterclaim based on data protection and even then rarely

don't worry about counter claiming. If you do then it's fine. However let us see everything first

 

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