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What Can I Do To Hurry Payment Up?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 27 Oct 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
What Can I Do To Hurry Payment Up?

Q.

I hired a car from a company in Australia in 2005. Someone ran into the back of me. They accepted full responsibility and signed forms to say as much at the scene.

The car company took the full excess off my credit card, as agreed. They refunded me the difference after the repairs BUT I am still waiting for the balance (Approx £600).

They say that they are waiting for the other insurers to pay up and then I will get my money.

However.. my problem is that no-one has any interest in paying me. I have exchanged or sent around 30 emails and have received no joy whatsoever. In fact I have been fobbed off by office after office all passing the buck. What do I do now?

(Ms R Murray, 25 September 2008)

A.

The problem, of course, is that this happened in Australia and not in the EU, which would make it much easier for you to achieve a resolution.

But Australia has consumer rights protection, too.

What you need to do initially is examine the terms and conditions of the contract you signed with the car hire company and see what it states about refunding your money, if it’s covered in there at all.

Obviously, you’ve had no luck when contacting the car hire company, but that’s not the end to your options.

You should get in touch with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, which is the official body there. If you explain the situation to them, they will be able to offer you advice on what to do, although, as they stress, they don’t give legal advice.

They can, however, advise you on your consumer rights and tell you which agency to approach – you might well find that the car hire company belongs to a trade association you can approach that might be able to help you, or there might be an appropriate ombudsman to hear your complaint.

Obviously, even thought the sum is around £600, which isn’t just pocket change, you want to avoid legal action, which could become prohibitively expensive – you could eat up that amount just dealing with Australian lawyers – so some good resolution is important.

As to contacting the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, they can be reached on +612 6243 1305, or by going to their website (www.accc.gov.au) and filling out either a general inquiry form or a general complaint form. They will then be able to direct you to the right area.

They also have a directory of businesses and organisations that offer business-complaint and consumer services, which might also prove to be an effective resource for you to explore.

Although this doesn’t give you a concrete answer to the question you asked, without real familiarity with Australian consumer protection laws, it’s difficult to be specific, and these experts do have that knowledge and can advice you appropriately, and so they should be the next stop for you. Good luck!

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