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Car hire - parking charge from just before vehicle was delivered

(11 Posts)
tribpot Sat 24-Dec-16 15:05:45

Not sure if this belongs in Legal Matters but couldn't think of a better section.

At the end of October I hired a car from Europcar and had it delivered to my house. It was due to arrive between 09:00 and 10:00. I had several phone calls with the Europcar branch in my city that morning to inform me it would be late arriving. It eventually showed up at 11:05.

Today I've received notification from Europcar that the car was parked in an Asda car park in a nearby town that morning at 09:16. The car did not have a valid parking ticket.

Europcar were notified of this on 1st December but have only just forwarded the correspondence on to me. Today is the last day when the reduced fee of £40 is payable, after which it goes up to £70. In addition, Europcar are invoicing me £36 as an administration fee.

I have had a look to see what paperwork I still have about the car rental, and the only thing I can find is a printed reservation confirmation, which lists the damage that was already on the vehicle. It has the reservation start time as 08:46.

I have phoned the Europcar customer service line but they are shut until after the bank holidays. I have absolutely no faith in getting any kind of response from them after I wrote to complain the car had been left on my drive for nearly 24 hours after the rental period ended. I still haven't had anything other than a case number in response to that.

I know from when I was trying to get hold of Europcar to find out if they were ever coming to fetch the vehicle that none of the nearby branches answer the phone. At all. So I have made one attempt to contact the relevant branch to see if they have any record of when the car was delivered, but of course there is no reply.

The parking charge notice, incidentally, states that a charge was affixed to the car at the time of the offence, meaning Europcar deliberately removed this before the vehicle was delivered to me. I wonder if this is actually what caused it to be so late arriving.

The simplest thing to do would be to cough up the 40 quid for the parking charge (if I can even do that on Christmas Eve) and then start having a battle with Europcar over the admin fee. As Europcar have passed my details on to ParkingEye, I will have to deal with both companies chasing me for payments unless I at least pay the parking fine. But I really think why the hell should I?

tribpot Sat 24-Dec-16 16:14:06

I've now logged in to pay the fine (it was due today and I didn't realise that an appeal would have bought me another 28 days before the fine increased again - on the other hand, I have no evidence that I'm not liable, except see below).

There are photos taken at 09:05, when I couldn't possibly have got the car to the car park from my house. At that point there is already one penalty notice affixed to it. At 09:17 it has two affixed to it.

I wish now I hadn't paid the fine but at least that keeps ParkingEye off my back whilst I try to sort it out.

My guess is, the previous hirer dumped the car in the car park without paying at least the day before (hence two penalty notices on it). Which means Europcar would have to be assuming liability for the first one themselves.

Collaborate Sat 24-Dec-16 16:20:53

Why have you paid the parking charge? Why?

To pay the charge is to acknowledge responsibility for the parking. The proper thing to have done was to reply to the issuer of the PCN to say that you were not in possession of the car at that time, so refuse to have anything to do with it.

No advice about how to reclaim the "fine" (it's really a fee) from the rental company. Small claims court?

endofthelinefinally Sat 24-Dec-16 16:24:21

Parking eye send nasty intimidating letters. I can understand why it may have seemed a good idea to pay them. However it is unlikely you will get anywhere with the car hire company or with getting your money back.
Bunch of crooks the lot of them IME.

AndNowItsSeven Sat 24-Dec-16 16:25:46

Paying the fine was really unwise, can't understand why you would do that?

tribpot Sat 24-Dec-16 16:32:47

Yes, now I've done some more reading I can see that paying the fine was a bad idea but it's now done. I think it was partly because today is the last day that the fine/fee was payable before - well, I dunno. Other bad things would happen, is the implication. I suspect Europcar deliberately suppressed the paperwork until the last minute.

I think I didn't want it hanging over me over Christmas; I have to get my DH's' PIP application done in the next few days and I don't want extra hassle.

tribpot Thu 05-Jan-17 14:39:35

A quick update on this - I appealed the charge (even though I'd paid it) and ParkingEye have today written back to say:

If you are the driver or keeper of the vehicle please confirm this in writing to the address detailed below

We are only able to accept correspondence/appeals from the driver/keeper at this stage.

Well played, ParkingEye. Well played.

Nicketynac Fri 06-Jan-17 23:33:59

I have read similar stories in the Guardian - perhaps contact their consumer rights team and see if they can pursue it for you.

tribpot Sat 07-Jan-17 07:36:22

Thanks - yes, I will do when the clock runs out on Europcar's 'investigation' next Wednesday. (Officially it ran out yesterday, I phoned them on Thursday to ask how the investigation was going and spent 20 mins listening to the agent on the phone typing the complaint in to the system, clearly for the first time. She then announced the SLA was 10 working days not 7).

endofthelinefinally Sun 08-Jan-17 18:32:31

I took delivery of a courtesy care once and found the delivery driver's shopping in the back. I rang them and they came and collected it, but it was obvious they guy had done a supermarket run on his way to me.

I made sure he confirmed the mileage and took a picture of the petrol gauge. I am sure it happens a lot and shouldn't be a problem if they were honest about it.

Not ok if they get a parking ticket though.

tribpot Sun 08-Jan-17 19:05:08

Bit of a blunder, endoftheline. Wonder what the delivery driver thought when he realised he had left his shopping (or had he not figured it out when you called?).

In this case I think the car had been dumped several days previously in the Asda car park, as it had two tickets on it before it was picked up from there. God knows why they were so cavalier about not picking it up sooner, this was a pretty expensive car. But then to lie about where it was (they told me they had no driver to bring it to me sooner than 11) knowing I was going to end up being whacked for one of the tickets - so stupid.

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