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Non-Accident in Private Car Park - Need to know where we stand

(15 Posts)
financialwizard Wed 21-Nov-12 14:39:23

Firstly I will say that I really think this is a scam.

My husband and I went out last week to get a couple of bits from a couple of shops. We parked in the private car park of the supermarket/retail park next to a vehicle that looked a bit 'unloved'. I ran in to a cheap clothes shop to pick up some clothes for my daughter because she said she had had an accident and needed clean dry clothes. Whilst I was doing this my husband was getting her out of the car and taking her to the toilet because she hadn't actually had an accident (2 yr old). He says he opened the car door and rested it againt the 'unloved' vehicle. The man who owned said vehicle was returning to it at this time and started telling my husband he had damaged his vehicle with our car door. My husband checked this mans vehicle and whilst there was a small chip of paint off of the door it was an old one, not fresh white chaffed door bang - no dent either. Our car door was not damaged in any way whatsoever.

I come trundling out of the shop, see husband having a chat with said man. Then as I got closer I realise this was a heated discussion. Got to the car, husband explains. I looked at the car (used to work in Car Finance Repo's so I know about damage more than he does) see the small chip of paint off - looks old (think probably 6-12 months old). I look at our car and see no damage at all. I tell said person that owns the 'unloved' that there is no way that my husband did that damage and to get stuffed. He told me that if we were not going to take responsibility he would call the Police. I told him to go ahead. Whilst he is on the phone he is taking pictures of our car number plate (which makes me nervous - husband is in the army) and of our car and his. I told my husband to take pictures too. 'Unloved' owners friend comes back from the shop. 'Unloved' owner comes off of the phone and my husband asks him who he was on the phone to, he responds 'his bodyshop'. Well, at that point I went apoplectic and told him in no uncertain terms embarrassingly loud that he can fuck off to the far side of fuck and then fuck off some more. People were staring. 'Unloved' owner tried to claim that he had recently had the vehicle re sprayed - not a hope in hell, it had a lot of dents by the drivers door handle. I shouted that I was NOT going to be giving him any money and told my husband to call the police. As soon as I mentioned the police the 'Unloved' owner's friend spoke to him in what I think was Polish (may have been another Eastern European language but sounded like Polish to me) and they got in the 'Unloved' vehicle and drove off.

Afterwards one lady came over and gave us the vehicle registration on a bit of paper (we had pics anyway) and another came over and gave us her details as she said she saw the whole thing.

My husband reported the incident to the Police, and we have an incident number. He also received a call the next day from the Police asking for a few more details because they said that they wanted to speak to the man in question. So I have a feeling this is not the first incident involving this vehicle.

Today I received a call from our insurance company as this man has made a claim. I have told the insurance company all that has happened but I am very stressed by it all. We are moving in the next 10 days into a civilian home which is not protected by guards and I am paranoid that this man is going to find out where we live damage our car if he doesn't get his pound of flesh through the insurance company.

Anyway what I really want to know is has anyone been through this sort of thing, and if so what the out come was. I usually work in financial services I really do not want to be the victim of insurance fraud.

RedHelenB Wed 21-Nov-12 15:10:42

I think if he has reported it then he is unlikely to be knocking at your door as he is insured & will get the money from them. Try not to worry but it may go his way if your husband did bang his door, however softly.

financialwizard Wed 21-Nov-12 15:22:57

That will really annoy me given that the 'damage' was not fresh. I know my husband is telling the truth, and this guy was extremely aggressive towards us. So much so my husband put our daughter in the car because he thought this guy was going to kick off at him.

RedHelenB Wed 21-Nov-12 15:35:32

Might go 50/50 then but really it wasn't a good idea for your husband to "rest" his door on his, I would more likely to believe it to be a scam if he didn't have his own insurance & wanted cash. Just because his car wasn't pristeen doesn't mean you can bunp it. BTW when they come to assess the damage then it will be clear if it is months old & he will be in trouble with his insurance company.

financialwizard Wed 21-Nov-12 17:37:18


I agree that my husband should not have rested his car door against anyone's car but he had no choice as he could not have got our daughter out of the car otherwise. Anyway that is by the by.

With regard to the 'pristine' comment. I also agree, but what I was getting at was the fact that the man who owned the vehicle claimed it had recently been re sprayed.

If we thought this was genuine we would be accepting the hit and getting on with our lives, and that is what we will do if we find out it is genuine, I just really don't think it is.

financialwizard Wed 21-Nov-12 18:35:21

Sorry RedHelen I took your post the wrong way. I am quite cross about this. Normally we park in parent and toddler spaces which give us room but there were none this time and frankly the guy was about an inch from my face screaming in it so I would have welcomed the Police.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Wed 21-Nov-12 18:45:42

OP, you have photographic evidence of what was on your car, his car, the condition of his car, and 2 people who came forward to give you their details of what they witnessed. You need to stress upon your insurer that under no circumstances should they entertain this man's claim. Your husband might end up having to take the risk himself to go to court over it and defend the claim, but that is the only option if you genuinely believe this is a scam, and that you do not want this matter to be paid under any circumstances. If it's a small amount of money, your insurer may well take an economic view and pay, unless you specific stress that you do not want them to pay. They might well give you the option to deal yourself i.e. defend the claim and take on board the financial risks involved in doing so.

I'm heading off now, but I'll be back in a bit so will try and work through what you have and what might happen etc.

financialwizard Wed 21-Nov-12 20:34:49

Thanks bunch

I have finally got hold of our insurers and they have told me that if the man does not prove beyond reasonable doubt that our car damaged his car then they won't be paying. If the insurance company do eventually state to us that they will pay or we will be liable for costs if he takes it to court we will have to take a view on it then. I am not going to fork out thousands just on the principle that we are in the right.

I think I am probably more cross because I see it as an injustice if the claim is processed through.

I am probably making a storm in a tea cup, but I am so upset right now. God I need to get a grip.

Collaborate Wed 21-Nov-12 21:10:19

In civil courts it's balance of probabilities.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Wed 21-Nov-12 21:57:11

Wizard, you need to ask your insurer to inspect his car and yours, to give you a decent chance of 'persuading' him to drop the claim. Basically, insist that if he does not drop the claim, he will need to make his car available for inspection, and you hopefully get an engineer to confirm it's old damage and not worth a button in reality. The actual cost of the 'damage' he is suggesting needs to be assessed/valued, and also confirmed if it's possible to say it's old or new etc. An engineer's inspection, coupled with the photos and your husband's statement, possibly with the witness' statements (if they actually saw what happened re the doors connecting) is your best chance of getting any claim made, dropped. The problem is, I can't imagine that the 'damage' itself will be worth much at all, and the relatively low cost would mean that financially, it's a huge risk for an insurer to not pay, if this guy decides to take it to court to try and claim for the 'damage'. It's also quite expensive to investigate to the extent I've described above, and overall, it would be considered disproportionate to instigate investigations like this for such a minor, low value claim. If I was dealing with this claim, I (the ins co) would send a strongly worded letter stating that your husband denies any damage was caused to the car, your husband alleges any damage claimed for is old damage (referring to photos showing state of car, the 'damage' and the fact your car has no damage/paint loss/there is no paint transfer) and that if he insists on pursuing the claim, he must make his car available to be inspected by the ins co's engineer. I'd also stress that a refusal to allow the engineer to inspect the car would be considered obstructive and prejudicial, and such conduct would be brought to the attention of the court in any future litigation etc. I'd guess it would be small claims so not hugely expensive, but costs added onto a small amount of damage just adds costs, meaning it's more expensive etc.

Basically, it's like a game of 'chicken' in seeing who will blink 1st. All of the above would be my attempt to make him aware that I consider the claim to be bollocks, and he'll have to jump through several hoops to get what he's looking for. At the end of the day, I'd get my butt kicked if I let something like that go to court, but you can word things in such a way that you put him off taking the matter any further as you'll produce the evidence you have, along with an engineer's opinion and basically call him a fraudster without actually saying the word IYSWIM. You show him up for the chancer he is, highlight where you'll show a court that he's at it, and let him stew a bit before he'll hopefully drop the matter. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

So, upshot - tell your insurer to make sure they tell him they won't do anything unless he makes the car, in it's 'damaged' state, available for inspection, and see where that leads them.

Good luck - I hope you get the matter resolved.

prettybird Thu 22-Nov-12 10:19:31

We had a similar incident, although the initial damage was dh's our fault. Dh reversed out of a parking space without noticing that a car had illegaly parked on the double lines behind him. There was a small mark on the rear of the front wheel arch - on a car that was already full of bumps and scrapes. No damage on our car.

Totally accepted responsibility, but told the guy that we wanted a quote as we might choose to pay for it ourselves rather than pay our excess and affect our No Claims discount. Still told the insurers though, as you are required to do.

We got an initial indication from the insurers as to the damage that was being claimed; dh told him that that was way above what we had caused and said he was suspicious that the other guy was "at it" - and asks them to investigate further.

Some time later, we get notice from the insurers that they had paid out literally thousands of pounds. Not only had he claimed for (amongst other things) a full respray on the wing, he had also claimed for a new front bumper and badge, as well as three weeks car hire while the car was "off the road" hmmangry

Dh spent a long time on the phone complaining that he had forewarned them that this was a scam and what had they the insurers done to address this? This was at a time when there was a lot in the news about how false claims were inflating people's premiums.

The upshot was that they re-instated our No Claim discount. smile

littleducks Thu 22-Nov-12 10:32:42

I think you are getting thus out if perspective. Taking photos after an accident us normal now most people carry around phones with cameras. If you are in an accident you give your number plate details, that us usual.

Must people live in unguarded houses, I realise this us new for you but it is not common for people to have claimants turning up and damaging their cars after having an accident and providing details.

I think it is abut cheeky to park next to a car and then claim there wasn't enough space to get out without resting the door on the first car. If you hadn't do e this the problem wouldn't have occurred.

In fact I'm beginning to realise your story has: p&t parking spaces tick, mention of immigrants tick, insurance fraud tick

financialwizard Thu 22-Nov-12 16:16:52

littleducks that is not the case at all. I do not have anything against immigrants at all. I, myself, come from a family that emigrated to the UK from europe three generations ago. I come from a financial services background, and am regulated by the FSA normally so maybe hyper sensitive to fraud (and maybe even look for it when it isn't there), and the fact that I have just returned from living in a highly volatile country where kidnap and killings have been common place outside of the wire probably adds to my 'high state of alert'. The fact that my husband is permanently away and I am trying to do 1000 things at once with no familial or army welfare support probably does not help either.

If there are P&C spaces available I will use them because I have a wide car and it is sometimes difficult to get my daughter out without trying to drag her through the central consol of the car.

This particular space was the only one left and I parked within the lines. Not that it matters but the vehicle my husband 'rested' the car door against was not.

Like I said before if it is found that my husband did cause the damage then we will pay up, and we have always done so prior to this date if we were at fault. I just don't think this guy was being genuine, and I do believe my husband.

SweetMingePie Thu 22-Nov-12 16:44:57

Similar thing happened a few years ago to me, I'd only passed my test a month before and was in a right flap.

Bloke went through his insurance company, got thrown out through lack of evidence, obviously as there was none!

Hope it goes the same way for you.

financialwizard Thu 22-Nov-12 17:15:29

Thanks SweetMingePie

I will put my hand on my heart and say that if we had done this we would have accepted it and moved on. I am honestly the type of person that would leave a note with my details if I had accidentally caught someone and they weren't around.

Not that you have to believe me, but that is the sort of people we are.

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