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Old 04.07.2011, 14:19
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Accident in a hire car

It's a long shot, but thought I would see if anyone else out there has been in the same situation as me and could share their experience with me. Here's the story.

My wife got a hired car for 2 months as part of her relocation package through her work. (I was the designated driver). We were driving home through Neuchatel and I hit another car (very gently) on a roundabout. Now, if I was back in the UK, I would have been in the right and the other driver would have been in the wrong. But here, no one seems to know who was at fault. However, that is not my gripe, if the rules are different here and a little crazy when it comes to roundabouts, that is fine.

My problem is with the hire company (Hertz). We immediately got them involved with the accident, sent all the necessary documents and photos to them, I had a very small scratch on the bumper, but the other car had a small dent on the door. So we sent them the documents and asked them if they had any idea who was at fault, they declined to answer and said it was in the hands of the insurance companies, fair enough. So, now we have just got charged CHF1200 that has been taken straight off my wifes credit card without any warning or proof that we were deemed to be at fault. Am I wrong in thinking that they should have came to us with statements regarding fault and details of prices charged for repairs?

Anyway, as I said it is a long shot that anyone has had a similar issue, but thought I'd give it a try.

Thanks for listening.
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:26
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Re: Accident in a hire car

Unfortunatly Hertz are well within their rights to do this, it is up to you then to prove or disprove your case with the third party regarding liability and if then possible recoup the money from them or through their or Hertz insurance
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:30
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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Unfortunatly Hertz are well within their rights to do this, it is up to you then to prove or disprove your case with the third party regarding liability and if then possible recoup the money from them or through their or Hertz insurance
Well, I wish Hertz told us that when we first contacted them, they suggested their insurance company would deal with who was at fault. I'll update when we hear back from them, but guess this is a good warning for anyone hiring a car.
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:31
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Re: Accident in a hire car

They are NOT allowed to debit your card.

...unless you agreed to this when you signed the rental contract.
You will have to check the contract very carefully. Most likely the small print will say you did.

Contact your card department, tell them you did not authorise this amount. The transaction will have gone through as "CNP" - "Cardholder not present" which means the dispute is already in your favour and the onus is on the card company to prove you authorised the transaction.
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:32
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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Unfortunatly Hertz are well within their rights to do this, it is up to you then to prove or disprove your case with the third party regarding liability and if then possible recoup the money from them or through their or Hertz insurance

as jellybaby says, hertz are just taking what you signed up to say they could, then its down to you to get your excess back off the other driver if they are at fault. after my FIL had something similar (and expensive) happen a few years ago I always pay the extra and have zero excess on hire cars now.
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:36
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Re: Accident in a hire car

I'm not sure this info will help.. as both incidents were in England but...

1) I put a nasty gouge into the front bumper of a hire car ( damned Cornish hedge rows !! ) and within a day of return I was charged a hefty fee direct to my credit card.

2) my hire car in another incident got Tboned by a young driver.. totally his fault.... I never heard boo from or got charged a penny by the car hire company after I reported it.
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:36
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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They are NOT allowed to debit your card.

...unless you agreed to this when you signed the rental contract.
You will have to check the contract very carefully. Most likely the small print will said you did.

Contact your card department, tell them you did not authorise this amount. The transaction will have gone through as "CNP" - "Cardholder not present" which means the dispute is already in your favour and the onus is on the card company to prove you authorised the transaction.
that won't wash, hire companies and card companies are well used to people moaning at them when they get charged collision damage
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:36
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Re: Accident in a hire car

If he was in the roundabout and you entered, your fault.
If you had rear ended him, your fault.
If its a double lane roundabout the inner lane has the priority.


In such situation you should think about calling the police. But be aware they could fine you according to Art. 31 SVG. The one catches all law - to dumb to drive a car.

The cost of 1200.- is normal to fix and repaint a door in Switzerland.
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:40
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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as jellybaby says, hertz are just taking what you signed up to say they could, then its down to you to get your excess back off the other driver if they are at fault. after my FIL had something similar (and expensive) happen a few years ago I always pay the extra and have zero excess on hire cars now.
Yeah, originally we thought we had a CHF300 excess, but after the accident found out it was CHF1700, not sure how we got this wrong, but you're not thinking too clearly when you move country for the first time I guess. Well, lack of the French language is going to make this near on impossible for us to make a good case for ourselves I guess. I did go to the police and the service des automobiles (no one could give us a defnitive answer as to who was in the wrong).
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:41
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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If he was in the roundabout and you entered, your fault.
If you had rear ended him, your fault.
If its a double lane roundabout the inner lane has the priority.


In such situation you should think about calling the police. But be aware they could fine you according to Art. 31 SVG. The one catches all law - to dumb to drive a car.

The cost of 1200.- is normal to fix and repaint a door in Switzerland.

It was a double laned roundabout and I was on the lane closest to the centre (left hand side). So am I not to blame? I was going straight ahead and on in the left side lane, she was on the right side lane and going left.
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:45
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Re: Accident in a hire car

I think the key to this is your quote below...

the hire company and the insurance co. will regard that as you failing to take proper care ( IMO )

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My wife got a hired car for 2 months as part of her relocation package through her work. (I was the designated driver). We were driving home through Neuchatel and I hit another car (very gently) on a roundabout. Now, if I was back in the UK, I would have been in the right and the other driver would have been in the wrong. But here, no one seems to know who was at fault. However, that is not my gripe, if the rules are different here and a little crazy when it comes to roundabouts, that is fine.
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:49
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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I think the key to this is your quote below...

the hire company and the insurance co. will regard that as you failing to take proper care ( IMO )
Agreed, but only said that as it was my bumper hitting her door. If someone comes out of a T junction and "you hit them", you can't been seen as being at fault.
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:51
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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Agreed, but only said that as it was my bumper hitting her door. If someone comes out of a T junction and "you hit them", you can't been seen as being at fault.
I'll agree with you... but will Hertz? ( apparently not. )
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:54
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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I'll agree with you... but will Hertz? ( apparently not. )
Yeah, don't know what I was hoping to achieve with this thread (the CEO of Hertz being an EF'er and saying he'd waive the charges)

But now very interested if anyone has any concrete evidence of what the rules of roundabouts are here. Was shocked to find out you don't need to signal going into a roundabout, only when coming out of one. I guess this works, just seems even better to have to signal going in to the roundabout as well.
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:54
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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that won't wash, hire companies and card companies are well used to people moaning at them when they get charged collision damage

And are infamous for abusing the ignorant card holders. They are not above the law, but will try it on, and should be challenged. Their argument will not stand up in court, nor will they persist past the threat of court action.

Any card holder is entitled to have the card provider prove the transaction was authorised, car hire company or restaurant. As this was a CNP transaction, the financial regulations means the onus is on the card provider to provide proof. The cardholder may insist that the amount is credited immediately, and interest refunded. They will send out forms for you to confirm the amount was not authorised, sign them and return them.

If the hire company believes the card holder owes them money, they have to prove that, as a civil matter. Unauthorised withdrawals from a credit card are illegal and tantamount to fraud. If they really cannot prove the card holder agreed, they can be in serious trouble.

This happenned to me with a hire company. I informed the Police, got a Crime reference, went to my Card Provider filled in the forms and then got a refund. You have to fight, they will fight your ignorance, prove to them you know what you are talking about and they back down. I also accepted damages, on my demand, from the hire company equal to the amount they charged me, as a goodwill gesture should I drop my complaint. The company was also Hertz.

But, this may all be moot, as after a this practice was outed by Watchdogs etc, Hire Car companies may well have changed the T&C on the rental forms.
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:57
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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Was shocked to find out you don't need to signal going into a roundabout, only when coming out of one. I guess this works, just seems even better to have to signal going in to the roundabout as well.
Why signal going in? Where else could you be going?

Tom
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Old 04.07.2011, 14:58
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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Yeah, don't know what I was hoping to achieve....
I would still take the fight to them... again my incidents above were in England but the one where I gouged the bumper..and I was totally at fault ( don't tell Eupocar ) I argued and got charges reduced by 50%
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Old 04.07.2011, 15:00
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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It was a double laned roundabout and I was on the lane closest to the centre (left hand side). So am I not to blame? I was going straight ahead and on in the left side lane, she was on the right side lane and going left.
I think I have to revert this. I have miss interpreted a rule when two lanes enter a one lane round about. Bundesgerichtsurteil 6S. 633/2000 vom 9. August 2001

If you have two lanes in a roundabout you have respect Art. 44 Abs. 1 SVG. Also if two lanes enter a two lane round about.
http://www.bfu.ch/German/strassenver.../II_A_2_6.aspx

As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, can you make a sketch of your situation? What was her intention, did she want stay on her lane? Did you switch/cross int her lane for exiting?
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Old 04.07.2011, 15:01
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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Was shocked to find out you don't need to signal going into a roundabout, only when coming out of one. I guess this works, just seems even better to have to signal going in to the roundabout as well.
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Why signal going in? Where else could you be going?
Pardon me...buuut
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Old 04.07.2011, 15:03
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Re: Accident in a hire car

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Why signal going in? Where else could you be going?

Tom
Well, if you plan on going out of the left exit (9 o'clock) you would signal left, exiting right you would signal right and going straight ahead you wouldn't signal until leaving the roundabout. Keeps it nice and clear for everyone else around you. This is the rules in the UK and just makes everything that little bit better. The Swiss system works, just not as well as the UK (and there's not many times I can say that)

Last edited by MikeandDzet; 04.07.2011 at 15:06. Reason: clarity
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