Car rental firm penalised for overcharging

Car rental firm penalised for overcharging
By admin

A Tasmanian Europcar franchisee has been fined $200,000 for deliberately overcharging customers for repairs to damaged hire vehicles.

The Federal Court found that BAJV Pty Ltd had engaged in "unconscionable conduct" by charging customers for hire vehicle damage based on inflated estimated repair costs and then failing to refund the overcharged amount once the repairs had been completed.

In addition to the $200,000 penalty, the Court imposed a $40,000 fine on the firm's director, Brendon Ayers, for being knowingly involved in the conduct.

Meanwhile, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) underlined its broader concerns over the "lack of open and accountable procedures" employed by car rental companies when charging customers for vehicle damage.

"Many consumers are likely to have a limited knowledge of the cost of vehicle repairs and are therefore in a vulnerable situation when a car hire company charges for vehicle repair costs," acting chair Delia Rickard said.

"Hire car companies must behave honestly in relation to these charges and ensure that they have adequate systems in place to refund any overcharged amounts."

The ACCC said its is "carefully considering" the judgment. 

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