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Car Next Door - bogus damage claims

A floor in CarNextDoor business model - First time user - took insurance - The car was obviously damaged when parked and not in my possession or use / Now, I’m hit with a $500 bill for damage / I did not take good enough pictures - BEWARE

First time user - did not take the time to read the contract/agreement. I just clicked through as you do.
I rented a Hyundai Van from Chatswood - Car Next Door is pushing correctness and that their cars/vans are managed and the owners take responsibility for their cars…

My first experience was with my brother inlaw 2 weeks before my rental. He got a red Mercedes van it had 4 x bald tyres and was beaten up. But it did the job, it was cheap and convenient at the time. My Van was better but - the vehicle did not have a 1/4 tank of petrol. The vehicle was dirty, the engine was noisy. It was a diesel and had an exhaust issue at the engine (possibly a gasket) it was not overheating so I used it.
My brother in law told me that after he suggested Car Next Door to me, he received an email stating he damaged the car. He sent them an email and has not heard anything back. He now regrets suggesting the service to me. ( i do too)

Re my rental - I rang to tell the owner and let him know about the petrol and the state of the car. He seemed appreciative. He said, “oh I haven’t seen that car for a while” (he had a few cars he does this with in different suburbs) He said he would check it out.

10days after the rental I receive an email from this company CarNextDoor saying I damaged the car/Van. I rang M - the owner and he said it was Car next door that picked it up, not him.

He said to take it up with them. Car Next Door tells me it was M - the owner who brought it to their attention???

I used the car for the day and returned it with more petrol than it had and in the condition, I found it in.

One of their stories goes -supposedly the owner took photos and there was new damage that occurred and was apparent in the photos from the next user. And, because my final photos did not shot that particular part of the car, I am now liable. The car was covered in scrapes and dings to start with.

I want to know: Did the owner or Car Next Door choose me due to the fact that I took out the $15.00 extra insurance?? $500 excess instead of $2000?? Now I am fighting them as my photos do not show that area and the new damage I did not do.

This absolutely sucks as I am a 55-year-old honest person. If I did it, I’d pay for it.
I am taking this to the Department of Fair Trade NSW. Yes, I did not take the time to read the fine print about taking the pictures, I just clicked and clicked my way through as you do…I just wanted to hire a van to help out a friend in need that was moving house.

Even spoken to the “damage review people” who just kept saying it comes down to the pictures.
I will never use this mob again and will use thrifty or some other car rental place / basically they are saying I’m lying. Or as they say, the pictures don’t reflect the car damage / which implies I took the pictures that way on purpose.

I never would have thought an Australian owned company would do this type of “bad business” looking for loopholes.
And, have an American call centre?? who knows, its all about their dollars $$$$
Shame on you - Car Next Door.

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I do sympathise with you as had similar claim from Europcar. I documented what I did and it may be of assistance to you when dispuring the claim. The relevant thread is here…

If you have dated photos before and after the hire then this should be enough to dispute the claim. The only possible other area which may not be covered by photos is the inappropriate parking of the vehicle which may result in a traffic hazard…for example, a vehicle parked say a metre or more way from the kerb making it stick out into traffic which could ben seen as the responsiblity of the driver that parked the car

Good luck with the duspute and keep us posted.

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Some of the wording in the CND damage policy may be useful to use when disputing the claim…this policy can be found here…

Make sure that you focus on the evidence you have and when your hire responsibility ceased.

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Unfortunately, my last pictures did not cover that part of the car. The part in question. The part of the car that is damaged. So they want me to pay the $500 because I cannot prove it was not me.
They are not taking my word for it. And suppesdly, in the small print - which i did not read says I am responsible for damage if the pictures are not taken.

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This is wrong. A hole in their business model.
The damage would have been done after I parked the car and left it.
It has car spaces either side of it and local cars use those spaces to do 3 point turns as it is in a laneway.

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I just received a declined payment notice from CND.
They have my old cc details. Lucky and/or unlucky for me, I lost my credit card last week and have had to get it reissued.
What do I do now? Will they send debit collectors? Will Fair Trade Protect me?
I have posted my papers off to Fair Trade. They will not receive anything till next week.

Do I wait?

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As I am not a lawyer I don’t know the ins and outs. What you risk is a black mark on your Credit Record, a further increase of costs as they CND impose their recovery costs (and declined payment costs). I think you should speak to a legal aid/advice centre that specializes in this area eg https://financialrights.org.au/ (NSW based). This centre is only an example so there may be others around who can/may advise you. I wouldn’t wait to see what happens as the costs if you have to pay may end up being very much bigger than they are now.

My assumption is that you are in NSW from the mention of Chatswood, if in another State there should be similar in it.

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How are getting along with the issue @Davidb? At the end of the day, it will make matters worse if you don’t pay. However, I would hold off paying until you’ve at least had the chance to undergo some dispute resolution with CND. Have they been in touch? Did you also manage to capture any of the comms with the owner?

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To be honest, I had never heard of CarNextDoor but then it doesn’t seem like that is a problem because I am probably best to avoid them anyway. LOL.

On the other hand, as @phb says, you get a similar potential problem with conventional hire car arrangements.

The fundamental fact is that if the hirer of the vehicle does cause a small amount of additional damage, many would not be honest about it, either just because that’s the kind of person they are or because they really would have difficulty paying up. You may know that you are honest but they do not know that. They have no way of distinguishing an honest customer from a dishonest customer.

The advantage that conventional car hire has is that typically at the time of hire you are in the presence of a staff member and you get an agreed, written list of visible damage. In the smartphone era, you can conveniently document the state of the vehicle quite comprehensively and without much effort.

Cars hired conventionally are often clean to start with, making it easier to spot any actual damage.

Let us know how you get on.

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Exactly, I agree re using the original car rental model.
Thrifty, Avis whoever.
At least there can be "real"closure when you return the car.

CND car damage phone squad are in it for their company. Quoting small print and implying some people avoid taking pictures of damage they caused to get out of paying excess. In my case I was lucky I paid an extra $15.00 to bring the excess down to $500 from $2000. (or was I?)

CND may be for the odd person renting their personal car for extra dollars… but my guy Michael (owner of Hyudai) said/told me he had several cars in Sydney. Its a business and CND obviously are trying to take care of this owner this time around. as the Van had a lot of damage. This thing that I supposedly did was a scrape of some paint from the side bumper. This could have been taken care of with a touch up brush. I think I was chosen due to the fact I paid the extra insurance and I was a first time user. Possibly due to the fact that the car needed the work done, the owner decided to pick me.
God knows.
All I know is, I did not do this.
CND sent me another email re the rejected payment and as I did/do not want to incur extra costs and have my letters of complaint in the mail to Fairtrade I have paid the monies owing.

I have not given up and will keep fighting this as I have been wronged/taken advantage of.

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Good luck and keep us posted.

Also if you need any help along the way, post a message to see if anyone can be of assistance.

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Hi Davidb
Read your notes with interest as I’ve just had a very similar experience with my second CND rental. They sent the first claim of damage10 days after rental but it was $15 for a broken key box (didn’t do it) and now a new email after 21 days with over $600 (didn’t do it)
I’ve responded with emails denying responsibility and submitted photos of the alleged damaged part of the car.
How did you go with consumer affairs?
Has it been resolved?

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I’m the next one to chime in - as an unqualified insurance assessor I rushed the pre-photos not getting the proper coverage of the vans scratches. Now about to submit to the ACCC for failure to safe guard under consumer protection laws and to fair trade to dispute my pictures and see what they make of them. (Pre - Damages dents are visible but scratches are hard to see)

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@Davidb @Criss any word from your cases?

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Hi @Mike.E and welcome to the community.

It’s a great place to share experiences and the occasional frustration or learning. It’s when consumers like yourself take the opportunity to communicate we all benefit.

Our connected world is opening up many new business opportunities. Car Next Door seems like a great innovation. It appears that already for some users the experience has not been a positive one.

With any business we all learn how good or not so good they are through sharing. There is little reassurance the business is customer friendly when you note your need to go to the ACCC and Fair Trade.

Hope you and the others who have posted get resolution without too much delay.

There will be many watching this space to see if others add their experiences of the service.

Note
The ACCC most often does not respond directly to individual cases. It looks more at an industry or business based on the numbers or extent of complaints. Noted you have gone also to Fair Trade in your state who do have a process for resolution of individual complaints.

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I’ve entered into a long string of emails. CND only zone into the fact that pictures did not reach them in car pick up, I had difficulty uploading and seemingly they do not have my email. I have demonstrated that the said damage did not occur(I resent pictures dated and timed taken before and after) I also took the trouble of locating the car and taking further pictures a couple of weeks after and the damage was not there nor had any of the hundreds of collected dents the old car had collected. I have not paid nor do I intend to pay, u have all the records. I have also gone to Fair Trading with it.

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Hello everyone

I’m so glad I found this page.
I’m also facing false charges from Car Next Door.
I rented a car in Golden Coast last December. 43 days after I returned the car I got a mail with photos showing scratches on the vehicle saying I need to pay 2000 AUD to fix this.
All of the photos were taken from a different place - not where I parked the car, you can see it clearly from the car surroundings. No information is provided in the images - you only see focused photos without the whole car, no license plate no nothing.
I argued with them through mail - I live in Israel and got this mail after I got back home and this makes it even harder.
They tried to charge me without my permission. Luckily (I guess) they tried to charge my Australian bank account which only had 5 dollars in it so I closed that account.
I sent a query to the ACCC they said its a contractual dispute and that they can’t help.
Now they are threatening me that they will pass this case to a debt collection agency.
Please, if anyone solved their issue or has a suggestion please contact me.
This is my mail - amiros1990@gmail.com.
Maybe we could join forces to come with a solution.

Thanks,
Amir.

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This is the dispute process page on the Car Next Door website…

I would also be requesting that they provide sufficient proof of the damage…such as evidence it is on the car which you had and the photos were taken immediately after the vehicle was dropped off/parked up, and the photos were taken at the location where you left it. If the vehicle had been moved, photos were taken days after it was returned or there is no indication/verification of the actual vehicle photographed for the alleged damage, then it is possible to argue that there is sufficient uncertainty that the damage was caused by you. Any claim of theirs for damage in effect would be your word against the car owner, rather than indisputable evidence.

If you have taken photos of the condition of the car pre and post use showing it was returned in the same condition (which is imperative nowdays when borrowing or hiring a car), use these in support of your dispute case.

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As @phb has suggested it is important to follow the CND disputes procedure, as exactly as you can. It is not uncommon for certain businesses to use the threat of a debt collector. The consequence may be to scare customers into paying up without further dispute.

It is uncommon for minor disputes for small amounts (Eg such as yours appears to be) to be taken to court in Australia. It is very expensive and time consuming. Each state has it’s own legal system and separate Departments of Fair Trading or similar. These usually provide the best advice and can assist in resolution (depending on the business type and transaction).

It may help you, to refer to your contract with CND to determine which state and nation the contract conditions are governed by. If you are in Israel and do not plan to visit Australia in the near future, this may assist in deciding who you should consult next, assuming CND do not resolve your complaint.

In respect of any legal implications, Any legal advice you require will need to be provided by a legal professional. Legal advice is not able to be provided on this forum. Most Australian law firms offer a free initial consult. Perhaps your Aussie friends can help out with some recommendations and contact details?

Hopefully that is not the outcome, and that you enjoyed your visit, CDN excluded.

Note that within Australia.

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I’ve used a debt collection agency on two occasions to try getting settlement for amounts granted in formal hearings at two civil administrative tribunals. Based on my experience, I wouldn’t be too worried if a debt collector came after me - they are all mouth and trousers … (I wouldn’t be too worried about civil administrative tribunal decisions either for that matter - unless the entity can afford to sue, which to me suggests only when a large amount is involved). I’m not a legal expert in any way, just my opinion.

There’s a couple of good threads on this forum about debt collection agencies and some good information at the ACCC also - in case it happens …

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