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Unfair Penalty by Hire Car Company


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I recently hired a car from AVIS and unfortunately picked up some speeding points when it was in my possession.

 

I've since answered the Notice of Intended Prosecution, paid the fine and had my licence endorsed.

 

AVIS have now charged an extra £47 to my credit card as an "administration fee", simply for passing on my name and address to the police. (when the speeding fine was issued, it was sent to them as the registered owners)

 

I believe this to be an unfair charge, on the same basis as the bank charges. How can it possibly cost them £47 to write my name and address down on a form and put in the post?

 

Any ideas or thoughts anyone?

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Yes it is, but the "unfair terms in consumer contracts regulation 1999", states more or less, in laymans terms, that it does not matter if a fee is stated in T's&C's or not, as if it is unfair and does not reflect their costs then it is unlawful.

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I spoke to them via e-mail and on the telephone requesting a breakdown and they point blank refused. They even said that part of it was VAT!, I didn't think VAT was chargeable on a business' costs.

 

Still, I put it all in writing and sent them a letter today.

 

Cheers

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I would argue that they cannot charge a fee for this, as they are already required by the law to pass on the details. Effectively there is no consideration, so the agreement to pay the fee is just a bare promise. I don't think this has been tested however.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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They can charge the fee as they were required to provide the information requested to the relevant authorities. Of course, if you hadn't broken the law, then there wouldn't have been a charge. Any service they provide - and you will agreed to them doing this via your contract - it clearly states that a charge is levied in these circumstances, as the company is VAT registered, it attracts VAT at 17.5%. If you are similarly registered, you can claim it back.

 

As to whether the cost is justified - that's an argument you should have with them. Other firms only charge £25. That's the good thing about consumer choice, you look at all the charges and weigh up which is the better value. Not complain after the event because you don't like it.

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That's the good thing about consumer choice, you look at all the charges and weigh up which is the better value. Not complain after the event because you don't like it.

 

So how is the instance of a hefty admin charge levied by Avis any different to the many members of the forum who have challenged their banks over the charges levied on their accounts?

 

The principle is the same as the issues over bank charges, a hefty fee levied for carrying out a function that would cost them a fraction of the fee they actually charge.

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How about because the customer specifically agreed to the charge in his contract? Bank charges are applied at the whim of the bank in a situation that they largely control. There are also consequential issues where the actions of unconnected third parties (using DDMs) can impact on this. With Avis, they don't charge you the fee if they are not forced to provide a service (required by law). If you found a hirer that only charged £15 for providing data to a prosecutor, that would be of much better value.

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The banks would argue that by opening an account with them you are agreeing to their terms and conditions, which includes levying their charges. So it is no different to the situation with the hire car company charging a sky high admin fee for a basic administrative task that they have had to do.

 

Just putting the term in their T's and C's doesn't necessarily make it a fair term, and just like the banks, there is nothing to stop the OP from writing to them to ask them to justify why they are charging so much.

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The banks abuse their trus by simply taking the money without authority. This is not the case with Avis - it's a shame you cannot appreciate the difference. There is a seperate issue of why the CC's permit an additional transaction not agreed to by the cardholder, but if you pay by CC, that is the risk taken. Nothing untoward there.

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Buzby - I find it hard to reply to your messages as you seem to have a "your fault so lump it" attitude...

 

Thank you for your comments, but if you read the "unfair terms in consumer contract regulations 1999", the wording is quite clear that I have a case.

 

It makes no difference that the fee is in their T's & C's. It states this quite clearly in the SI.

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The banks abuse their trus by simply taking the money without authority. This is not the case with Avis - it's a shame you cannot appreciate the difference.

 

What is the difference then? The car company have done exactly the same thing.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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What is the difference then? The car company have done exactly the same thing.

 

Zamzara,

 

That's what I was attempting to say, but Buzby seems to know different. I suggest we just let him get on with it

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Thank you for your comments, but if you read the "unfair terms in consumer contract regulations 1999", the wording is quite clear that I have a case.

 

It makes no difference that the fee is in their T's & C's. It states this quite clearly in the SI.

 

Captain,

 

That is exactly the same issue that got this forum started, the banks levying unfair "charges" and then telling us that it was lawful because it was in the terms and conditions. I don't see their admin charge as any different.

 

You have nothing to lose by giving it a run, so good luck with it:-)

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Thanks Rob S.

 

Buzby-

 

The banks have the same authority to take money that the car hire company do.

 

Are you telling me that when you signed up for your bank account, it didn't say in the terms and conditions that there would be a £25 charge etc for a failed direct debit or a bounced cheque?

 

I've had a bank account for 15 years and remember the charges the day I signed up to it.

 

The point is they are unfair, and they are covered under the Regulation I previously mentioned. A penalty payment should only be levied at WHAT IT COSTS the bank/hire car company etc.

 

This is the whole basis for bank claims.

 

The banks just didn't all get together one day and say, "hmm i know lets charge everyone £30 for no reason"... It was there in the T's&C's from the start. Just like with the hire company.

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I'd say the problem is that banks claim £30 is a fair amount to charge but Avis, in the UK anyway, are smaller than Barclays as an organisation, so £47 is comparable because of this, I'm sure they may say.

 

How will you try to determine that £47 is too much when we have to wait a long time to see if £30-£35 is high when it is an automated charge onto your bank account?

 

It won't cost much so bring a claim and let us know. I don't think you will win.

 

I'm not being rude but I'm dead against speeding so maybe £47 is a small price to pay for the increased risk you were to other drivers and/or pedestrians.

 

And thankfully you are ok as you have posted since.:-)

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At the end of the day the charge was listed in the terms and conditions and it only came into play when you commited the offence of speeding. As has been mentioned earlier in this thread, maybe you should have taken note of the charge applied in the case of speeding convictions and taken your business elsewhere that provided a much lower administration fee. Of course, had you not been speeding in the first place this wouldn't be an issue. I honestly believe you are on a hiding to nothing here and should put it down to experience.

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parva - when banks charge £30 for a bounced cheque, this is written in their terms & conditions - but thousands of people are re-claiming these charges as they are unfair and are covered under the unfair terms in consumer contract regulations 1999!! did you miss this bit?

 

weird al - lets not get into a whole discussion about speeding, there are whole forums on other websites devoted to this sensitive issue.. only to say there was no risk to pedestrians (dual carriageway, barriers either side), i was marginally over the limit (79mph) and no other cars within 500 yds at the time. thanks.

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I didn't want to appear provocative on the issue of speeding but, rather, just wanted to mention the fact that maybe £47 is a small price to pay in order to be thankful for your, and other's, safety and what could have been.

 

I hope this is taken in the manner it is meant.

 

Btw, 500 yards at 79mph is less than a few seconds for braking and even less in the wet, which I guess it was considering the awful weather we have had recently.

 

It's just all it takes. Which is why I'm glad you are able to post on here and complain about £47.:-)

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It wasn't wet, it was a sunny day. It doesn't rain every single day in every part of the country.

 

Anyway, before you go off making more assumptions based on no knowledge, shall we get back to the theme of the thread?

 

And for information, 79mph is 39.5 yards a second. So it's quite a few seconds to cover 500 yards, in fact its 12.6 seconds of braking.

 

Which in the car I was driving, is enough to stop. (The highway code stopping distances are very out-dated).

 

Contrary to what you may assume further, it won't change my driving style! - There is a lot more to speed than rigidly sticking to the limits, but if I can make an assumption of my own seeing as you like to make so many, you're probably one of these old drivers who thinks they know everything, cause loads of accidents around you, have a large inappreciation of the real world, and think you're some kind of Special Constable telling everyone their business.

 

Oh and BTW, I'm a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists. Doubt you are.

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Buzby - I find it hard to reply to your messages as you seem to have a "your fault so lump it" attitude...

 

Thank you for your comments, but if you read the "unfair terms in consumer contract regulations 1999", the wording is quite clear that I have a case.

 

It makes no difference that the fee is in their T's & C's. It states this quite clearly in the SI.

 

Unfortunately, what you outline is not an unfair term under the Law. I don't have the case details now, but an individual took Stelios's EasyRentaCar firm to court on this and lost. It was agreed that if the firm has to provide additional services to discharge their obligation to law enforcement on behalf of the renter, then a reasonable charge is permissible. However the possibility of such a charge must be flagged in the contract. (Which it was). The actual cost of what was 'reasonable' was never discussed.

 

So, I've no axe to grind either way, if they fold - great. If they do not, and you plan a Quixotic adventure in trying to resolve some imagined injustice, just remember folk have been down this way before and did not succeed. Sometimes chalking it up to experience is a far more valuable lesson.

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It wasn't wet, it was a sunny day. It doesn't rain every single day in every part of the country.

 

89% of the British Isles had at least some rain during the period you describe as recent, 100% of the British Isles had the wettest 3 month, recent, period recorded.

One can assume that it was highly likely to have been wet due to this, you were on a motorway which suggests a probable long journey and, therefore, exposed to the elements for longer which would increase the assumption of wet conditions.

 

Anyway, before you go off making more assumptions based on no knowledge, shall we get back to the theme of the thread?

 

And for information, 79mph is 39.5 yards a second. So it's quite a few seconds to cover 500 yards, in fact its 12.6 seconds of braking.

 

I already stated 'a few seconds,' is not 12.6 seconds a few? If not at what point does a few seconds end?

 

Which in the car I was driving, is enough to stop. (The highway code stopping distances are very out-dated).

 

Contrary to what you may assume further, it won't change my driving style!

 

Your call, which is unfortunate. So don't bother to whinge when your driving style gets you into trouble like paying a fee due to your ignorance.

 

- There is a lot more to speed than rigidly sticking to the limits, but if I can make an assumption of my own seeing as you like to make so many, you're probably one of these old drivers (I guess I'm considered old to a child but young to a pensioner) who thinks they know everything (nope, I can never remember who played the fourth Dr Who), cause loads of accidents around you (so what if I have two left feet and can't dance? Are you a dancist?), have a large inappreciation of the real world (I put you to strict proof of this Sir!), and think you're some kind of Special Constable telling everyone their business (As previous).

 

Oh and BTW, I'm a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (Not now you have a speeding conviction). Doubt you are (Correct).

 

:grin: Only kidding!

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buzby - thanks for your constructive comments and enlightenment.

 

I agree that the point here is whether the charge is 'reasonable' and adequately reflects their costs.

 

Hard one to argue but maybe worth a try!

 

Cheers.

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