Just sharing my experience in the hope that Car Next Door (CND) continues to lose members due to their poor customer service.
I borrowed a car in June 2021 with the basic insurance option. To my knowledge, I didn’t damage the car and took photos as I usually would. Roughly five months later, was charged $610 to replace the bumper based on a very small scratch. I had no idea how this had happened, but it was beside the point - damage had occurred while the car was in my possession and now I was liable.
However, I noticed from my before photos that there was significantly worse pre-existing damage to the same area of the car, while the scratch I was “responsible” for was clearly an inconsequential scratch, one that most reasonable car owners would have just used touch-up paint to fix. I believed the owner was taking advantage of the situation and wanted Car Next Door’s support in reaching a fair resolution, but they offered no help apart from letting me know that the damage is my responsibility regardless of pre-existing damage (see the Damage Policy).
After they had directed me to the Damage Policy, I read the Member Agreement and saw that the process for disputes had clearly not been followed. I contacted the owner myself and asked for a 50% refund. The owner agreed based on the fact that, in his words, “it looks to me like it was not caused intentionally by you.” This exchange between me and the owner suggests that if Car Next Door had a) encouraged the owner to contact me directly in the first place or b) responded to my requests for Car Next Door to mediate this properly, I may not have had to pay anything at all.
CND member agreement states that ● Members are encouraged to discuss the issue directly with each other and attempt to resolve it to the satisfaction of both.● Members can find the email address and phone number of an Owner whose car they have booked, or a Borrower who has booked their car. ● If the Members are unable to resolve the issue within a reasonable time, then either may notify Car Next Door. Car Next Door will contact both Members to hear both sides of the story and gather information about the circumstances leading to the dispute ● Car Next Door will try to help the Members involved to reach a fair resolution to the dispute; and ● If the Members involved are still unable to reach an agreement to resolve the complaint within a reasonable time, or unsatisfied with the resolution suggested by Car Next Door, then Car Next Door will refer the Members to the Community Justice Centres (in NSW).
None of this was honoured. CND instead charged me $610 without offering me the opportunity to dispute or discuss with the owner. They conveniently ignored all of my questions, producing canned responses about the damage being my responsibility (which I was not denying). As they took roughly a month to respond to each email I sent or weren’t able to answer my questions over the phone, I took it upon myself to contact the owner and asked for a 50% refund. The owner agreed without question, which suggests that if I was offered a dispute as I was rightly owed, I would not have had to pay at all. CND took over a month to send the refund. They continuously apologise for their slow replies, yet they took minutes to take money from my account when I confirmed my bank details, suggesting they can be quick when it suits them.
CND refuses to acknowledge let alone provide a reason for violating this section of their member agreement. Since they haven’t referred me to the Community Justice Centre, I appealed myself, but the CND head office hasn’t responded to the letter, and it seems unlikely they ever will.
Their poor customer service has led me to decide it’s better to switch to a more trustworthy service and to convince others to do the same.
Their support team CCed staff members with @carnextdoor.com.au email addresses and after I directly emailed them, those staff members are actually now engaging with me in a timely manner. However, I think it’s unlikely anything will come of this so my intention here is just to share my story in the hope that people will stop using the service.