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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 16253
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Looking for inputs to handle a dispute I have with a car

Customer Question

Looking for inputs to handle a dispute I have with a car rental
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Scotland
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Agency is threatening me to pay or proceed to court proceedings
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I dispute the debt and the car rental
Submitted: 13 days ago.
Category: Scots Law
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I dispute the amount owed to the agency because I took 0 excess insurance with them but they keep on saying that there’s negligence but I disagree. They also committed fraud by taking £10000 from my debit card for which I had to dispute via my bank and got the money. As part of that they committed another fraud by using my signature in a different agreement as a proof and I disproved that with my bank showing the actual agreement. After 3 years I got an email asking to pay a reduced amount (from £6200 to £3200) otherwise they would proceed to court proceedings
Expert:  Virtual-mod replied 12 days ago.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Expert:  JGM replied 12 days ago.

Thanks for your question. I am a solicitor in Scotland with 35 years of experience in private practice and I hope that I can help you with your question today. Let me have a quick look at your question and I will either give you an initial answer or ask you for further information. I aim to respond as quickly as I can but sometimes I may want to take a little time to consider your question so as to give you the best possible answer. When was the original rental contract? Can you explain your situation a little more please? The more information I have, the better I will be able to answer your question and that is what I want to be able to do.

Expert:  JGM replied 10 days ago.

I can give you a general answer. Assuming they are claiming from you as opposed to them owing you money you can simply do nothing at the moment. If they want to pursue the matter they will have to take you to court. If they do that you will be able to defend the action and at the end of the day, the judge will decide who is right and who is wrong. On th4 other hand they may decide that it’s not with the time or the risk in taking you to court and they might forget all about it. Their claim would time bar after 5 years under Scots law. I hope this helped you today. Please do let me know if I can clarify anything. I am always happy to help. You are always welcome to ask a follow up question if it will help you further.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
ThanksCustomerfor the response. Let me explain the situation in detail. In Dec 2015, I rented a car with a franchise in Edinburgh and went for a trip to Snowdonia. We got the 0 excess insurance as part of the booking to be safe. Weather was very bad in snowdonia and we hit a road wtih puddle and did not realise until it is too late. It was just a normal primary road where other cars were going fine. Because our car was a Kia Picanto (very small car), water went in the engine and car stopped. We called the rental agency and explained hte situation and they sent a AA to tow the vehicle to garage, but failed to deliver a replacement vehicle. We came back to Edinburgh finishing the trip shortly and went to the rental company and hand over the delivery receipt from AA and mentioned that we are not happy given we did not get a replacement vehicle. To my surprise few hours later, i realised that there were 2 transactions of £5000 each taken in my account (gave my debit card)and when i called them, they mentioned that they suspect this will be the cost to repair the vehicle and cover the loss. However a brand new Picanto is £8000. Since they did not agree to give back my money, i disputed via my bank to get hte money. To prove their side, they made up an invoice using the rental agreement which had my signature with the same format and just changed the invoice to £10000 including my signature. I showed my bank the original document and got the money back. They have been following up with me including getting a letter from their solicitor to pay and I have been telling them that i do not owe since i have taken 0 excess insurance. They keep on saying this is negligence and i deny all of it since it wasnt. We did not drive illegally/driven through illegal road/ or anything of such sort. It was purely due to bad weather and the car was smaller, damage occured!. Out of goodwill, i said, I can only pay the cost of SatNav and fuel which accounts to around £400 and thats it. I did not get any response and 3 years later, this week, i got an email from their debt management team (probably a made up email) asking me to pay £3200 instead of £6200 out of goodwill to stop court proceedings. End of the day i still do not agree as it wasnt negligence. Isnt this why we purchase insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances!! I hope this gives you a brief summary of the issue - obviously there are lots of emails back and forth, appreciate your inputs on this
Expert:  JGM replied 9 days ago.

So to clarify, did you get all your money, the £10,000, back via your bank?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
I did
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
This was back in 2016
Expert:  JGM replied 9 days ago.

So they would only have a claim against you if insurance didn’t cover the damage to the car and 1. You were negligent, or 2. In breach of contract. If none of these are the case then they have no claim against you.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** on saying that this is negligence but I disagree. I did not knowingly do this or do anything that’s illegal - drunk driving or driving unsafe or reckless etc., it’s purely due to bad weather and a small car. Also in the contract they haven’t mentioned what is negligence so it’s a bit of a grey area. Not sure what is considered as negligence in court of law? Appreciate your help
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Here’s the exact statement which implies “ As the damage on the vehicle was excessive and classed as negligence due to the engine damage, a retainer was required to cover the costs. Should negligence be the cause of the damage, Risk Reduction Premium and the normal excess amount are not applicable at the time of the incident. If there was only minor damage this would not have been required.As the damage to the car was major including engine damage, the outstanding costs which are not included in the bodywork repairs are still due. Therefore if payment is not received on or before xxx we have been instructed to proceed with legal action without any further delay.”
Expert:  JGM replied 9 days ago.

Negligence is driving in a manner which falls short of driving with reasonable care and attention having regard to things like road and weather conditions.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Ok so you in your view, this is classed as negligence? Also with regards ***** ***** taking money from my bank account, would that account to criminal felony including using my signature in a different document?
Expert:  JGM replied 9 days ago.

No, I think that the insurance should cover it because from what you say there was a comprehensive policy with a nil excess. Ans as regards ***** ***** document that is a police matter and you might wager want to remind them of that.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Ok thanksCustomer Is there any time frame by which a criminal complaint such as this to be reported as per Scottish law? Cuz I find this odd for them to get back after 3 years which makes me wonder perhaps anything on the timeline that could put them in a advantageous position now. Thanks
Expert:  JGM replied 9 days ago.

Common law fraud has no time limit.