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Debt Collector letter - Europcar, help!

(14 Posts)
MsRinky Wed 15-Jul-15 21:03:06

Sorry for the essay, am freaking out and don't know where to turn.

At the beginning of the year we went on holiday abroad for a week, and rented a car online through Europcar UK online. The car was stolen on the last day of our holiday. We paid extra admin fees when we returned the key to Europcar at the airport along with all the police documentation. This fee showed up on our online Europcar account, and we received a receipt by e-mail the next day. We were told we would receive a further invoice.

Six weeks later, we had heard nothing, and nothing was on our Europcar account, so we contacted Europcar and asked what was happening. We received an e-mail back from customer services telling us that the vehicle had been recovered, the rental included theft protection and that there were no further charges to pay.

Except then a month later, a letter came from the country where we were on holiday, saying that their previously sent invoice of 2700 euro was overdue and they would be taking legal action. I contacted Europcar straight away, with a copy of their e-mail telling me I owed nothing, plus a scan of the letter. After three weeks they send an e-mail addressed to a different customer saying they were looking into it. Then a week later, another e-mail saying casually that they had made a mistake and that yes, I did owe 2700 euro.

I sent a formal complaint with copies of all the documentation. I pointed out that at no time had I received any invoice, that my Europcar online account was still clear, that I had been categorically told in writing that I didn't owe any money. To resolve my complaint I asked that they honour the assurance they had given that I didn't owe any money and asked for confirmation that they would ensure any legal action already started would be cancelled. I asked for resolution of my complaint within 10 working days, or acknowledgement and a timeframe if it wasn't possible to respond in full in that time. I also asked for full details of all stages of the complaint process.

Today marks the 10 working days. I haven't had so much as an acknowledgement e-mail from Europcar. However, I have today received a letter dated a week ago from an Irish company called Intrum Justica with a demand for 2739 euro. I assume this means Europcar have already sold the debt on? But why to an Irish company?( I am in the UK) Is it to get around Uk legislation?

What on earth do I do now? Do I contact the debt company and say I am not acknowledging the debt? Or should I move heaven and earth to pay it and then try to get the money back from Europcar (I don't think this will ever happen).

I will obviously be contacting Europcar again, but am terrified of the potential consequences of this letter. Reading online is seems that Europcar's usual method of "customer service" is to ignore correspondence...

Sorry it's so long, hope someone can advise.

TheoriginalLEM Wed 15-Jul-15 21:08:14

Firstly, don't panic! Contact the company and tell them you intend to dispute the debt. They have to give you 30 days after this point and put the account on hold.

Do NOT pay them a penny - get legal advice, at the very least go the CAB.

What exactly do they say you owe the money for?

TheoriginalLEM Wed 15-Jul-15 21:09:18

They are likely to be arseholes, but don't be intimidated, they have limited powers so they tend to try and throw their weight around. By law they have to give you 30 days and they are not allowed to contact you during that time.

Liara Wed 15-Jul-15 21:13:36

I don't understand why you are panicking - you have a clear paper trail that says you do not owe the money and have not had an invoice.

Forward this to the debt collection company and leave it at that, they will surely give up pestering you sooner or later? If worst comes to worst and it goes to court you have plenty of evidence on your side, so you should be fine.

MsRinky Wed 15-Jul-15 21:24:14

The debt company are telling me to pay them, not Europcar, does that make any difference? And why on earth are they in Ireland when I am in the UK, and booked on Europcar UK website for a car in Italy.

Is my credit rating already screwed because Europcar have passed this on to debt collectors?

Sorry to be panicking, but I have never had a non-mortgage or student loan debt in my life, and when I get a letter saying I have to come up with nearly £2k or they will be sending a collection agent to my house, it's pretty scary!

And yes I have an e-mail saying I owe nothing.I also have one going, whoops our mistake, yes you do owe the money.

What should I write to the debt company? That I do not acknowledge the debt to them and that I am in dispute with Europcar?

MsRinky Wed 15-Jul-15 21:28:19

They say the money is for the excess on the theft insurance.

Having gone through the small print it does indeed seem that my darling husband didn't cough up the extra to insure the insurance if you see what I mean.

But still, they can't not invoice me, then tell me they got the car back and I owe nothing and then change their bloody minds and say no they haven't got the car back and I owe them a fortune, can they?

lampshady Wed 15-Jul-15 21:34:29

I think they can. Sorry. Not a solicitor but had similar. Get proper legal advice if you can, although hopefully someone more knowledgeable will be able to help.

MsRinky Wed 15-Jul-15 21:35:36

Where do I get legal advice? Do I just walk in to a high street solicitor's office? I have no idea.

TheoriginalLEM Wed 15-Jul-15 21:36:05

no they can't. Tell the debt company the debt is in dispute and that you will not enter into further correspondence with them. Then shit on eropcar from a great height.

whatever you do -do not acknowledge the debt or pay a penny.

They are trying to intimidate you into paying. They can fuck off.

TheoriginalLEM Wed 15-Jul-15 21:38:27

In the first instance go to the CAB.they will be well versed in dealing with debt collector scum. They may be able to recommend a solicitor but it may not go that far.

stand your ground.
eropcarar chancing their arm.

lampshady Wed 15-Jul-15 21:39:01

I'm glad you have someone to tell you that OP! I was bamboozled with jargon and small print. Because we'd signed paperwork our situation is probably different, and we'd missed the additional costs that we were liable for.

LetThereBeCupcakes Wed 15-Jul-15 21:40:53

Have you tried posting on the debt section of money saving expert? There are some incredibly knowledgeable people over there.

MsRinky Wed 15-Jul-15 21:45:02

Thanks, I have also posted on MSE!

They can fuck off. I feel braver now.

ForexRay Fri 13-Jan-17 15:13:12

MsRinky,

May I know how did you resolve this problem?
I'm in a similar position and I do not know how to resolve them.

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