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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6450
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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Based in the UK, I hired a car in ****** and arrived 45min

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Hi, based in the UK, I hired a car in ****** and arrived 45min late because of a delayed flight. By that time the office was closed. I showed up the next day, and my car was unavailable because of a "no-show", and the company does not want to issue a refund. Is there a consumer law protecting me? JA: Where is this? And just to clarify, when was the purchase made? Customer: Verona, Italy The incident was last week the booking was 3 months before JA: What steps have you taken so far? Customer: I have contacted the booking agent "bookinggroup.com" and requested a refund, and they have come back to me today saying that this no-show policy was available in their terms and conditions JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you? Customer: I think this no-show policy is no acceptable for 3 reasons

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Are you able to upload a copy of the terms and conditions on here so that I may take a look? Also, how long ago exactly was this?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
this was last week

OK thanks and can you upload the terms and conditions please?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
https://www.economybookings.com/en/booking-terms
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
here are the terms and conditions

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
4.2. No-show:A ‘No-show’ is when you:4.2.1. wish to cancel but don’t tell us before your rental is due to start;4.2.2. fail to pick the car up at the arranged time and date;4.2.3. fail to provide the documentation that’s required to pick the car up;4.2.4. fail to provide a credit card with enough available funds and with the main driver's name printed on itIn all of these cases, you’ll receive no refund of the money you’ve paid.The car rental company reserves the right to refuse the car to any customer who fails to arrive at the scheduled time and date with all necessary documentation and a credit card in the main driver’s name with enough available funds for the car’s deposit.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I think these terms are unenforceable because of at least 3 reasons:1) selling a car rental option instead of a car rental is breaching customer rights.
The clarity of services provided is regulated, and your service failed to satisfy the requirements standards. To provide a service in the UK for instance, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 covers unfair terms in contracts, and requires that key terms must be 'prominent and transparent'. Similar laws applies in the EU
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/notes/division/3/1?view=plain
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1429176294813&uri=CELEX:31993L0013When we buy a service by booking group.com, it is described as a car rental. However, by limiting the car pick up to a specific time slot, instead of making it available for the entire period paid for, booking group.com is effectively selling a "car rental option" instead of a "car rental" as such. Selling such derivative product without explicit warning is in clear contrast to standard practices and departs from customers' and legislators' expectations.2) one-sided cancellations rights are unlawful in the EU
See https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/unfair-treatment/unfair-contract-terms/index_en.htm3) a single day and time cannot be interpreted as a time window
Picking up at a given date and time is impossible. The only strict possible interpretation of the pick up time is that the car will be picked up in the exact minute provided, which would be even more ridiculous.So the expectation is that the car is available from the time provided, not until the time provided. Indeed, if a customer shows up 10h before the pick up time, he cannot access the car, can he?
The lack of time window makes the no-show clause of your contract completely unenforceable.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
are there customer protection laws or procedures I can undertake and be likely to win in this case?
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ben, are you here?
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hello?
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ben?
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Can you give me an estimate of when you will be able to get back to me?

I have looked into your query in more detail but unfortunately it is not something I can assist with. I will therefore ‘opt out’ and a colleague better placed to deal with the nature of your query should hopefully pick this up soon. Please do not reply in the meantime as that will just assign the question back to me and you will experience a delay. Thank you

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am a qualified lawyer happy to help you today. I am just typing out the answer for you.

If the rental is advertised in the UK then yes, you can rely upon breach of contract and breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. You are also correct in that one-sided terms for cancellation are also unlawful in EU law.

You should send the rental company a letter before action to say that you believe your consumer rights have been infringed under the above Act and that you demand repayment of the further payment within 14 days, failing which you will lodge a small claim at the county court business centre (which then gets sent to the rental company address).

The attached letter is generic and needs to be tailored (and quote the above breach).

You can use the European Small Claims procedure in order to claim.

Assuming they do not respond or they do and refuse to pay, you need to fill in the attached Form A and attach any evidence you wish to rely upon to :

County Court Business Centre, PO Box 527, Salford, M5 0BY

The form asks for your bank details and the 25 euro issue fee will be deducted but added to your claim sum.

The court will then serve the form on the rental company who then has 30 days to respond. The court will consider the response and give judgment on the claim (or if further details are required the court will write to either party). They may hold an oral hearing (by telephone if the court has the facilities - which the majority of UK courts have) but with the facts of this case it is unlikely as it should be capable of being dealt with on paper. If you win you get a certificate against the hotel which means they must pay your claim.

With the letter before action I have uploaded a template for you - you can email it to the rental company and include your bank details so they can pay you (ensure you give them the IBAN and BIC code, name of your account and name of the bank).

I hope this helps - if you can please click 5 stars at the top of your screen, I can answer follow up questions at no extra charge and Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Many thanks,

Jim

JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6450
Experience: Senior Associate Solicitor
JimLawyer and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks Jim!
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Here is the letter I have written
Customer: replied 2 months ago.

13 September 2019 Economy Booking, SIA ********* Group Company Registration Number: ********* ******** Street 4, Riga **-1053, ***** county, Latvia LETTER BEFORE ACTION Dear Sirs, Re: Claim for £157.41 I refer to the above matter and to the above sum which I paid to you £157.41 on 23 April 2019 in respect of my car rental with ******** Booking from ******** airport on 30 August 2019 22:30 to ********* airport on 8 September 2019. Because of a delayed flight I arrived 45min late at your facilities, and by that time your office was closed, and when I arrived the next day 31 August 2019 in the morning, my car was unavailable because of a claimed “no-show”, and your company refused to refund or replace the car. As a consequence we had to hire a last minute car for €400. Your terms of service are in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as the no-show terms and time window are unfair and failed to be “prominent and transparent” (neither explicit in booking page nor in confirmation email). Single-sided cancellation are also unlawful in EU law. Finally, even when well communicated and symmetrical, no-show jurisprudence requires 24h before cancelling. I request a refund of the £157.41 I paid for the service that was denied to me. You can transfer the funds by bank transfer: ****** ***** ******** bank IBAN: ****** BARC 2017 1913 ********** SWIFTBIC: *********** This letter is being sent to you in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for debt claims (“the Protocol”) contained within the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”). In particular, I refer you to paragraph 7 of the Protocol, and paragraphs 13 to 16 of the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols regarding the Court’s powers to impose sanctions for failing to comply with the provisions of the Protocol. I therefore put you on notice of my intention to issue county court proceedings against your company for my losses should I not receive payment in full by 4 pm on 4 October 2019. Should court proceedings be necessary I will claim the court issue fee of £25 (based on a claim of £157.41) and court interest which I understand is 8% as a daily rate. Should I succeed in obtaining a judgment, same will be transferred to the High Court for enforcement against you and your company whereby further costs will be added to the judgment sum. I trust the above will not be necessary and I therefore look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency. Yours sincerely, **** **********

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Is the letter above with the right level of details, and would you recommend I send it by physical mail or by email or both?

That looks fine and I would send it by both post and email for completeness