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If you are unfortunate enough to have been involved in an accident one of the first things you will do is contact your insurer to report the claim to them.  However be aware that you might not always be calling who you think you are.

In a recent Court case the Claimant Googled the contact details for his insurer in order to report an accident.  Unfortunately it transpires that the Claimant had been the victim of search engine advertising spoofing.  He had in fact called a claims management company.  The claims management company then referred the Claimant on to a credit hire company.  The Claimant believed he was signing documents to allow him the use of a courtesy vehicle  and based on what he was told he had no concerns about incurring any charges and the term ’credit hire’ didn’t mean anything to him.  He was In fact he was  signing a credit hire agreement and although the company knew he didn’t fully understand what he was signing up for they made no attempt to explain this to the  Claimant.

In addition to this it appears that the Claimant signed two documents, one of which had details of a highly increased rate of hire added after the Claimant had signed. 

Court proceedings were issued and as part of his claim the Claimant included the credit hire charges in the sum of £27,000.  The credit hire had not been settled by the Defendant pre-issue and therefore under the terms of the credit hire agreement the Claimant was obliged to include these charges as part of his claim. 

On hearing the Claimant’s evidence the Judge held that the claim for credit hire in the sum of £27,000 was rejected.  The Judge held that there was a ‘dubious and suspicious ‘practice employed by the companies in the claims chain and the credit hire agreement was ‘wholly unenforceable’  against the Claimant.  As such the credit hire company will not receive any reimbursement of the hire charges.

We now await we await the outcome o f the costs hearing which could see the credit hire company even further out of pocket as they may be ordered to pay the Defendant’s costs of defending the claim.

A helpful hint would be to keep the contact details for your insurer in your car at all times so should you need them you will have them to hand.