Motor vehicle accidents involving rental cars – the complications

Date: May 20, 2016

Hertz Australia Pty Ltd – the famous rental car provider – has recently undertaken to refund consumers and improve its practices after charging consumers for alleged accidental damage to cars.

The announcement came from the  Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last month. Hertz's undertaking is enforceable by court.

But didn't insurance cover my damage to my rental car?

The announcement stems from the 2013 to August 2015 period when Hertz told some customers that the vehicle that they had hired had been damaged while it was rented by the customer. In a number of cases, the vehicle may have been in an accident long before it was used by the customers who were charged for repairs.

Until the ACCC stepped in, Hertz had been incorrectly invoicing and charging customers for vehicle damage. The actual repair cost charged by Hertz didn't match the actual cost of fixing the car, meaning Hertz contravened Australian Consumer Law prohibitions on misleading or deceptive conduct and false or misleading representations.

Misleading advice and charges about insurance coverage of motor accidents

Hertz isn't the only car rental company to have misled customers. The ACCC also challenged Europcar Australia for what it alleged were unfair contract terms and misleading advertising of "extra insurance cover" products. On April 19, the Federal Court declared a number of terms in Europcar Australia's 2013 standard rental agreement were unfair and therefore void. Europcar was ordered to pay a penalty of $100,000 for making false and misleading representations about consumers' liability in the event of vehicle damage. Europcar suggest insurance covered the liability of customers  in motor vehicle accidents when in fact rental car agencies are not subject to the usual insurance laws – and it is the Motor Vehicle Act which is most relevant in the car crashes

Motor vehicle accidents involving rental cars – the complications

You can of course sue a person who has injured you in a motor vehicle accident regardless of whether the vehicle was rented or not. Gerard Malouf and Partners are accredited specialists in personal injury law and bring over almost three decades of company experience in getting the best compensation possible for injured people.

When a crash involving a rental vehicle occurs, it's essential to collect evidence in the same way private motor vehicle accident evidence is collected. Read our motor vehicle accident advice here so that you are covered if someone else is liable for the crash

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.