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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
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We rented a van through a website called "goboony". we have

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We rented a van through a website called "goboony". we have the van back on saturday with minor damage to it. We showed the man the damage and he said that it was fine and he would charge us accordingly and even submitted the 3 damaged areas to the website which is fine. The next couple days I am receiving email from him asking for upwards of 1,000 pounds for damages. when I read the damage it was clear he is trying to take as much money off us as possible and is even lying about damages that have not occured.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: no steps
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: the gobony website gave us back the 500 deposit we paid them for the van already
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
that is the letter which contains a lot of false damages and the terms and conditions of the hire. He is also charging 25 pounds per hour labour and in this letter claims 4 hours for some tasks where as on the goboony website he claims a lower number of hours

Hi, this is Jim, thank you very much for the question - I will do my best to resolve this for you today.

The onus is on him as the claimant to prove his loss. If he lies then you should defend the claim if he issues a small claim against you - the court will post the paperwork to you, you need to fill out the response pack and return it to the court as soon as possible. The claim is then defended and will take 6-9 months for it to be decided at court. If he wins, you then have 14 days to pay the judgment (and up to 30 days before it is registered with credit agencies). He can only claim the £1K, plus court fee which is £70 and interest which works out around 22 pence per day. If he lies in court, he faces contempt of court which means a likely fine and a prison term. You should write back to dispute his claim, tell him he is claiming inflated damages and to drop his case, or you will defend it if he issues a small claim.

I hope this helps - please feel free to ask me anything else.

Have a good day,
Jim

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Hi Jim. thanks very much for the reply.
We feel it will be his word against ours unless he invents fraudulent "proof" of us making these damages. We didn't take pictures at the time because he was very kind to us in person and said we needn't worry about small things that went wrong only to attempt to scam us later on. Can you suggest anything we can do to help aid our case?
Thanks again,Kieron

Hi there, I see what you mean however you are a consumer, so have strong statutory rights - under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. So the service he offers must be as described and the terms clear - the court would be sympathetic to your situation, his less so. I think the best way to approach this is the fact he is lying, so if he issues a claim, put this in your defence (there is a section of the response pack where you can write a defence). I might be inclined to find any negative online reviews to see if this has happened to anyone else. It is worth defending though, based on your question. I can help with it going forwards if you need me to.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Okay great thanks so much. He only has one review and it was positive but it was to do with the van rather than the guy himself. He has charged lots of money for labour at 25 quid per hour. Is he able to just charge us whatever he feels for labour? I don't think he is a mechanic of any sort.
He also put a dash cam in the Van but the date and time on it was wrong so we didn't really think it was important. It came off and on periodically when plugged in and eventually it died as we were using the power source for our phones/directions etc. We didn't get into any accidents or anything but he claims now having it on is against the T&C's of hire although it isn't mentioned in the document I sent you. He also never mentioned that it needed to be on the whole time and suggested it was just for the purpose of reversing. He seems to think its suspicious that the DashCam was off for a lot of the trip and says we turned it off and then changed the tyres on the van, drove carelessly etc. Do you think this is something that will effect our claim?

He can charge whatever is reasonable, but the court would look at his charge rates and compare to market rates, so whilst yes he could charge that, whether he recovers it is another matter. I don't see how the dash cam issue is an issue here - if it was compulsory then fine, but from looking at the terms it doesn't seem to be compulsory so my view is no, it wouldn't affect mattes here

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
okay thats good to know thanks very much again Jim. The last one for now:
the van had lots of bumps and scratches on it when we picked it up. His damage sheet will confirm this.
Although some small wear and tear type scratches occurred we feel he is trying to cover the costs of all of them using our charges. for example 250 quid for a damaged sill that I can't even say for sure that we did and even if we did its tiny scratch amongst many pre-existing scratches. Is this something that will be considered in our favour? he said at the start to not even worry about things like that as he would do it all in one go eventually and the van already had worse damage in those areas.

Yes, it won't do him any favours to claim a sum for the existing issues and there is already evidence of that, so his claim will definitely come across as inflated - and liable to be struck out as an abuse of process with the court. Perhaps point this out to him if you feel the need to reply to his letter.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Okay thanks again Jim you have been extremely helpful. So going forward I'll try to reason with him and if he persists I will request proof of all his damage which he inevitably won't be able to provide unless he forges it. He will most likely take snaps of damage and claim we did it even though it was there before and then we will let him know that we are going to fight this should it come to court and point out where he has made errors and essentially lied in his damage return form. is that correct or would you advise differently? Should I do this all via e-mail so it is documented?

Yes, sounds like a good plan and remind him of the court's expectation that he avoids a court case if at all possible, litigation is seen as a last resort. You can do it by email, yes - an email trail is fine and can be used as evidence.

Customer: replied 2 days ago.
Hi Jim,
We e-mailed the guy asking him for some proof and hes just sent some photographs. what is the best way to prove exactly when the photos were taken? How can I tell if he is lying or not ?Thanks,Kieron

The photos should be date-stamped, otherwise it's his word and his job to convince the court the photos were taken when he said they were.

Customer: replied 2 days ago.
Okay, just waiting on further photos.
If he some how wins the claim in small claims court are you certain the amount for us to pay is simply the amount hes asking for: £1,000 + £70 court fee plus 22p per day from the claim?
Do they accept a payment plan too?thanks again,Kieron

If the case reaches a final hearing, he can also claim £115 for the hearing fee but that's it - lawyers can't recover costs in a small claim, hence why no lawyer will work for a claimant on one unless they are paid privately. Yes a payment plan is an option if you lost, form N245 is sent to the court with a £50 fee

Customer: replied 2 days ago.
okay that is fine. I don't think he will manage to get 1k out of us because a lot of it is simply untrue.
The only issue I can think of is that he presents us pictures but there is no saying when these pictures were taken, they could easily be there before. How conclusive does his evidence have to be?
And that we signed a vague damage schematic diagram in the dark when we picked up the van after him saying not to worry about small dings and dents which there were many of before we set off. will this play a part in his favour?

He needs to prove in all likelihood the photos were taken when he says they were. If there is no date stamp then he has to convince the judge. It will go in your favour you signed that in the dark, yes. It sounds like a situation where he took advantage of the situation so I would not be worrying about this, I have seen enough to say you have a good defence.

Customer: replied 2 days ago.
To be clear, he will need photos of the spots he claims we damaged in the time frame between our hire and the hire before correct to prove that he hasn't just missed them from the last hire right? I can't be certain how thorough or recent his damage sheet will be once he presents it/if he tries to produce a fraudulent damage sheet

Yes, correct

Customer: replied 2 days ago.
Hi Jim, If we lose in small claims court will we be issued with a CCJ or anything that may harm our credit / financial records?
Customer: replied 2 days ago.
I see you have answered this in the first question so don't worry about getting back to me on that

Hi there, the CCJ is only registered with credit agencies if it is unpaid for 30 days or more.

JimLawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 days ago.
The potential claimant lives in north wales and us in london where abouts will we go to court?
Customer: replied 1 day ago.
Hi Jim,
If I have requested hard evidence for the damages but he chooses not to respond and instead jumps straight to a court claim even though I mentioned that we are happy to pay for whatever damages we have cause providing he can show us legit evidence, will this look bad on him? We are happy to resolve this without any claims being made but I think he is keen to go straight to court unnecessarily.

Thanks, ***** ***** will look bad on him from the court's perspective but you can't stop him issuing a claim unfortunately so you may be wasting your time. You need to defend the claim when you receive the papers from the court. When that happens if you have further questions, could you please a new one to the Just Answer site.
Many thanks,

Jim

Customer: replied 1 day ago.
Okay thanks very much Jim