Car Next Door

Whilst the debt collection grubs may not achieve anything, the biggest risk is to end up with a bad credit rating.

At present, it seems that for overseas disclosure there are limited reasons and amounts of information involved - mostly to cover the credit reporting agency themselves with their call centres in the Philippines among other places, and for marketing etc … it seems generally held that a credit rating in one country, good or bad, will mean little if anything in another country … but there’s nothing to say that will never change …

Of course if one has a bad rating in Australia, it might come into play if one returns to Australia. That said, a bad credit rating is not the end of the world - problems with credit ratings can be contested and/or fixed. There are the horror stories, but like any news they are unusual and the only ones we ever hear about. I’ve contested a bad rating and had it fixed - bank error … who’d have thought :wink:

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This topic is turning into a shocker for Car Next Door.

It seems as if the “solution” is not to use Car Next Door.

Sorry that your lasting memory of Australia was this experience.

Maybe someone should complain to the (Australian) Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) that this company is causing damage to Australia’s international reputation :slight_smile: - although that is unlikely to be of any practical effect under the current circumstances. :frowning:

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It may be the case that there are a few rouge car owners who rent their cars through car next door…that are taking advantage of CND users to make more money by claiming damage. If this is the case, CND executives/managers need to stamp this out quickly before there is permanent brand damage.

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(It may be as you say regarding rogue owners.) CND needs to put in place robust processes that protect CND’s interests and the car owner’s interests but also protect the customer’s interests i.e. fair to everyone. A typical company puts in place biased processes that 99%-100% serve to protect only the company’s interests.

Honestly, until they do that, I would avoid CND.

You are supposed to enjoy your trip - not worry about bogus claims (and charges against your credit card) turning up months after the event. Not that anyone is going anywhere just now.

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I have a current problem with CarNextDoor and their Premium Insurance (reducing excess to $500) as well.

I damaged the roof in a single-car incident - and they say the roof isn’t covered in their insurance (clause 10.F) and they are now are charging me just under $4,000 for the full repair bill.

This seems to be a vastly unfair clause, to exclude 1/6th of the surface of the vehicle - and to put such an important clause deep down in the terms and conditions.

The booking form says: “Premium cover. Maximum $500.00 out-of-pocket for damage”

There is a “Learn more” button.

That panel says nothing about the roof not being covered except “Full terms and conditions can be found in our Membership Agreement” (no link).

It does say “Covers damage to the car due to collision, theft, vandalism, fire or hail” and “Exclusions include driving on snow or off-road, driving or rideshare or courier services, and towing”

However, the full terms and conditions say in section 10.F: “if You are a Borrower -under any circumstances where the Vehicle sustains damage to the roof area including but not limited to the fitting of roof racks (or similar devices)or the carriage of items on the roof, standing or sitting on the roof or making contact with overhanging objects;”

So that’s clear - but for such an important exclusion (we’re excluding about 1/6th of the surface of the car) it seems vastly obscured to me.

This will ruin me financially, particularly now that 75% of my income has gone with the Covid-19 impact.

I’ve told them all this - they don’t care. They just want the money.

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Another option should the dispute process not be favourable, if you had travel insurance for your visit to Australia, see if the insurance covers the rental of a CND vehicle. Travel insurance might cover the excess in the case where damage can’t be resolved with CND.

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Hi @movieapple, welcome to the community and thahks for you contribution.

Excluding the vehicle’s roof does seem strange, but it may be due to such damage usually being avoidable (unless on parked under a tree during a storm or in a golf club carpark where a rouge ball did the damage).

Unfortunately CND in some ways is no different to other well known car rental companies where they try and transfer as much risk to the customer. It appears this is another example.

Just for interest, how much did the ‘premium’ insurance cover cost?

While it is too late for you, for renting cars from the major players it is significantly cheaper to get domestic travel insurance to cover excesses (reducing excess) when hiring cars, rather than using the rental company ‘premium’ excess reduction covers. Often they don’t have the same limitations (exemptions) for insurance cover like you have found with CND.

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another option is third party rental car insurance. The rub is that for many of them one has to pay the car rental company, and the insurer reimburses, so there is out of pocket for a few weeks as well as the attending uncertainty it will go well. Same issues for travel insurance cover… there are many providers - google ‘australia rental car insurance’

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Hey guys
Thanks for all your tips!

By now I did follow the dispute procedure of CND, they dismissed everything.
At some point they directed me to their “car damages specialist” - I looked for this guy on Linkedin, he is a former personal trainer - helping people stay fit. Seriously? what exactly makes him a damages specialist?
I didn’t think to check if my insurance policy covers car rentals - good idea!
I’ve sent an inquiry to financial rights legal centre, waiting for their response.

We already have an impressive amount of stories here, isn’t it worth getting it out to the media? Other people might also be deceived by this company.

Don’t worry guys, I LOVE Australia, I love Aussies. This company has no Aussie spirit at all.
Stay safe,
Amir.

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Unfortunately there have been numerous reports over the years about companies like CND as well as major rental company franchises that have been accused of rorting customers for disputed damage charges, Europcar being one with many hits from google. It reinforces the need to take before and after photos with time and date stamps in addition to insurance.

The information on this website might be helpful even though CND is not a traditional rental car company.

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Yes but CND is not a franchise it’s a 60 employers start up claiming they are here to make the world better but practically take advantage of innocent users.

Thanks for that website, I went through it and it only suggests organizations relevant to Europe.
I will keep you posted once I get a response from the financial rights legal centre.

Best,
Amir.

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No, it isn’t a franchise…from memory it was on Shark Tank (Australian version of Dragon Den) a few years ago.

My understanding is they don’t own the cars, just provide the platform to allow anyone to rent their cars out. If the car owner is a bit dodgy or claims for damage which may be unreasonable, it impacts on CND reputation. CND relies on honest car owners and trustworthy/competent customers who drive the cars,

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It is certainly a great principle if that is what they aspire to. So I took a peek at their mission statement for comparison.

OUR MISSION

To free people and the planet from the ‘one person, one car’ mentality

Car Next Door makes it simple to turn any car into a share car, empowering people to save money, reduce waste and create cleaner, greener, better neighbourhoods.

It’s common sense for the common good.

(https://www.carnextdoor.com.au/about-us)

Many may respond to the marketing suggesting using CND Is great for the planet. Placing your vehicle into the CND pool will save the planet and take 10 cars off the road.

CND claim they vet customers/drivers and vehicle owners to provide reassurance for all. With all the complaints here, CND is obviously failing to get this right. Should the customers or the owners pay.

Or should CND pay because they failed to ensure
honest car owners and trustworthy/competent customers?

P.S.

Wikipedia has this on what owners might get out of the deal.

Car owners receive income depending on the sharing plan they choose but it varies between 50% to 75% of the time-based fee and 75% of the km fee.[10] They can book their car for free and at other times, the car must be available for roughly 50% of the weekdays and 50% of the weekends, or a penalty may be charged to the owner. Owners do not choose who can use their vehicle beyond selecting whether a driver is 21 or older, 25 or older etc.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_Next_Door)

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It may help to put this in context by explaining how Car Next Door works, and why it’s the responsibility of the person who borrows the car to take photos carefully, before and after they drive.
Car Next Door is a peer to peer car sharing platform. We provide the technology and support to let people share their cars with other people in their neighbourhood (or, in Amir’s case, with visitors to Australia). To make borrowing a car as close as possible to the ease of owning your own car, we work on an ‘instant booking’ system and unattended pickup. Put simply, this means that approved members can book a car near you online, and be driving it within 15 minutes. You don’t need to speak to, or meet up with, the owner of the car.
For this system to work, we need a really clear and simple way to determine when damage occurs, and who is responsible. Cars may be taken out several times in one day by different borrowers. After many years of operating the platform, and hundreds of thousands of trips, we’ve settled on the system that we believe is the simplest and fairest for both the owners and borrowers of the cars.
If you borrow a car, you are responsible for taking clear photos of all surfaces of the vehicle, immediately before you drive and immediately after you return the car. You upload these photos in the app. We send several emails, SMS and push notifications before, during and after each booking to remind people to take and upload these photos, because it is so critical to the system.
In less than 0.5% of trips, some damage is reported. In 97% of those damage cases, we are able to simply look at the before and after photos uploaded by recent borrowers and get a clear timeline of when the damage occurred, and charge the responsible person for the repairs.
When, as in Amir’s case, the borrower takes the car undamaged, and after their trip it is damaged, and they do not have photos to show that it was undamaged when they left it, then that person has to take responsibility for the cost of repairs.
If that borrower didn’t take responsibility, then the owner of the car would have to pay for it themselves. If you put yourself in the place of someone who is allowing people they don’t know to borrow their car, it would be unfair to ask them to pay for damage that is left when borrowers don’t fulfil their responsibility to take careful before and after photos.
We understand that there are cases where someone borrowed a car and simply forgot or accidentally omitted to take photos of all parts of the car before and after. We’re not saying that Amir or anyone else in this situation is lying or deliberately did not upload a photo of the relevant part because it would have shown the damage. However the Owner’s car has been damaged, and as the operator of the platform we need a consistent, fair and simple way to make that good for them based on clear rules.
I hope that this helps to explain the reasoning behind these damage responsibility decisions.

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As you have apparently already raised your concerns directly with CarNextDoor that the above wording is misleading, your next option may be to raise it with Fair Trading or whatever is appropriate in your state, or the ACCC. Does it definitely say “Maximum” or does it say “Maximum*”? However the ACCC has this to say about rogue asterisks, as it were.

Fine print and qualifications

It is common practice for advertisements to include some information in fine print. This information must not contradict the overall message of the advertisement. For example, if an advertisement states that a product is ‘free’ but the fine print indicates some payment must be made, the advertisement is likely to be misleading.

(my emphasis)

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I’d like to look into this further - can you please post the ticket reference, or perhaps your Car Next Door member ID or the name your account is under, or even the date of the last reply you got from Car Next Door, so that I can investigate?

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Hi CarNextDoor_Official, I’m very appreciative of your proactive communication - thank you.

It is Case Number MDT 734252.

My Request Number is #734254

The most recent email I have sent to CarNextDoor in that email thread is 14th April 2020 at 10.09 AM (Sydney-time).

I appreciate your looking into it, thank you. Please let me know if you require any other information and I’ll be happy to assist.

All other contributors - there’s been some really helpful points raised, thank you very much, it’s very appreciated.

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Hi all, I’ve railroaded this thread somewhat despite being close-to-the-subject, so I just want to answer the questions that helpful people have raised because it’s been very helpful.

@phb CarNextDoor’s “Premium cover” insurance comes to something like $20 a day and I had the van for something like 3 days, so it was something like $60 extra for the “Premium cover”.

@phb and TheBBG I appreciate the 3rd party insurance idea - my trust in CarNextDoor as a company has completely been ruined.

@person Yes, NSW Fair Trading, ACCC and Ombudsman are my next steps if a satisfactory result is not achieved. The sentence says “Premium cover $[price] Maximum $500.00 out-of-pocket for damage” (full text of box) without the star. It does say “Learn more” below that which takes you to another screen which lists more terms, but again does not mention the vastly large detail that 1/5th of the entire vehicle surface isn’t covered. It does say “Full terms and conditions can be found in our Member Agreement” but there is no link or instructions on where to find the Member Agreement. Personally, I’ve been unable to find the document through their website menus or apps - surely it is there somewhere, but I’ve taken screenshots of all that in case it comes to that. I then found it by doing a Google Advanced search filtering for PDFs with “CarNextDoor” “Member Agreement” as text and within that document, buried all the way down in 10.5.F (seriously) is the rather large detail that the entire roof is not included in Premium Cover. So yes, I think it’s very reasonable to say that regarding their fine print and qualifications, “This information must not contradict the overall message of the advertisement” is definately not matched (they are advertising their Premium Cover) and they have broken that rule. I believe a survey of CarNextDoor customers would easily reveal most of them are unaware of the vastly significant exception to 1/5th of the surface of the vehicle (the roof).

CarNextDoor charging me the very high cost of repairing the roof will financially ruin me - which is why I chose the Premium Cover, I was trying to be responsible. I feel very misled and extremely disappointed. They have also overlooked very clear opportunities to legitimately reduce the amount they will charge me without any impact on the quality of work or expense to them - and sadly, so far, I have felt that they have no interest in my well-being apart from a payment plan to pay in installments so my experience so far has been that they have no interest in my well-being. It’s very emotionally traumatic given my vast lost of income at this time due to Covid-19. We’ll see what CarNextDoor_Official does, hopefully proposing a much more reasonable agreement to resolve.

Thank you all, it’s very appreciated.

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If you have not, take screen shots of each of the insurance displays you referenced. A few years ago I was on the phone complaining about a similar issue and the company physically changed it while I was talking to complaints, and watching/quoting from their web site.

Evidence is good!

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