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I left my car with Gatwick Airport VALET parking service in October. On arrival the car was not manually photographed as it has always been in the past -- instead I was told that it was automatically photographed upon entry. When I collected the vehicle 5 days later there were several paint chips on the front of the bonnet. I did not see these when I dropped the car off (and I believe I would have done) so I have asked the valet parking company to photographically prove that the chips were present on entry. They have e-mailed photos which are useless and say that they have checked the valet drivers' routes and are satisfied that they did not cause the damage and it must have happened either on the road or in the short term car park at Gatwick. As they are a VALET service I'd expect them to be responsible for the car whilst they have it and for their photos to illustrate that the car entered the car park with the paint chips (if that was the case). They are saying that they consider the case closed. Please tell me where I stand on this. I have communicated with the company (APCOA) a number of times. In their last e-mail they mentioned that better quality (HD) automatic entry cameras haven't yet been installed at the South Terminal Car Park -- which is where we parked. Also the bonnet of my car was re-sprayed in August due to an accident (lorry reversed into front of my un-manned car) so it was more likely that I would have spotted the chips. Thank you.
In their email of 11th Nov they say: 'to establish an idea of the condition of the vehicle when it is brought into the car park'.
This comment from me was what prompted the comment above: There’s something I’m missing here. If I stand back from it for a moment, it’s almost amusing…. > It’s a valet service. You take my car, and, for the duration of the holiday, it’s in your care. If the possibility of damage caused to the vehicle whilst it’s in your care wasn’t an issue - - why would you photograph the car? > In the past (and we’ve used your service a number of times) you’ve always done this manually with a hand-held camera before you take responsibility for the car. You didn’t do it this time around – you relied on the entry-point technology which doesn’t look from the PDF photos as if it’s up to the job…? > In lay-speak you surely need to prove that those chips were there when the car arrived? I’m not at all sure they were – and as I said previously, the bonnet was re-sprayed in early August due to a previous accident (a HGV reversed into my parked, un-manned car on 29th July). > Are you saying that your terms & conditions absolve you of responsibility for my car whilst you have it…? (Surely not…?) > As I said, am I missing something here?
What you need to do is get a number of quotes to get the repair done, this forms your loss. You need to pick the cheapest.
You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.
If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.
The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.
If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
That's very helpful. Thank you. No further info required as far as I can see.