Car ire

Audi assist recently hired me a vehicle whilst a faulty handbrake on mine was repaired. Scratches to bumpers and alloys were apparent on the hire car. I had it for just over 24 hours before re-parking it at Audi Leeds and handing in the paperwork to the showroom and then driving away in my own car. The hire car, a KIA Carens, had done 47 miles in my care, making a total of 17,171 on a 08 plate. I have now received an invoice for £115, which National customer services informs me was for further damage consisting of a scratch to the offside rear door and a dent in the offside front door, neither of which were previously noticed by me or the delivery lady at collection or by me on return. Customer services made it plain that its paperwork was all that was needed to enforce the charge. It was unable, or unwilling, or both, to help me to trace the vehicle in order to verify the "new damage". The question is, have I any rights of inspection or proof of damage? I'm willing to travel anywhere to verify the damage. In short, I feel that I'm being ripped off and would appreciate your advice which I will follow irrespective of its content, even if it's "forget it, you're a plonker".

Asked on 6 March 2010 by P.M., via e-mail

Answered by Honest John
Write back stating that you refuse to pay "this fraudulent claim for damage that was already present on the vehicle" and if they want to see you in court over it to give you a date and time of the hearing. Also ask precisely who is accusing you of the damage so you can report them to the police for criminal fraud. The CPS is unlikely to pursue this, but it will give these charlatans a shock. When any reader takes delivery of a hire car or a loaner, take photos of the vulnerable areas and particularly of any existing damage before you get into the car.
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