Avis Budget Group in Germany is claiming I damaged its car and has sent me a bill for £1,200.
I feel it is trying to take advantage of the fact I refused to buy excess cover when I collected the vehicle.
Even if the damage claim was true – which it is not – charging £1,200 for chips in a windscreen feels excessive.
Rental wrangle: Avis sent a customer a £1200 bill claiming he had returned a hire car with a chip on the windscreen
I have seen no evidence of the damage, only photos taken from some distance away, which could just as well be showing bird mess.
No one checked the car when I returned it to the airport.
C. A., Sutton.
Tony Hazell replies: I’ve looked closely at the photos provided by Avis, which you sent me, and suspect those are chips.
Avis says for safety reasons it must repair or replace windscreens if there are chips in the line of sight.
However, I am amazed at the cost being quoted. What are they using for the repair? Diamonds?
Generally, repairing a chip can cost less than £300. Avis has looked at your case again and decided to waive the £1,200 charge.
However, as we start travelling abroad again, it is worth reiterating the golden rules of car hire.
Number one is to buy excess cover online, which can cost less than £40 for a year.
Number two is to photograph the car when you collect and return it. I take a video, including showing the windscreen and tyres, to use as evidence in case of any dispute.
Avis says: ‘To ensure our vehicles remain safe and roadworthy, we have a policy to ensure any possible damage to windscreens is checked and monitored.
‘We handle all investigations on a case-by-case basis and on this occasion we will no longer be charging Mr A.’
Why do my life insurance terms keep changing?
I took out a life assurance policy in 1992 with GA Kaleidoscope, now Aviva.
It cost £15 per month, and on my death my daughter would receive £50,000. I was a single parent and wanted security for my daughter.
In December 2016, Aviva offered three options: I could increase my premium to £41.33, keeping benefits at £50,000; continue paying £15 per month with the benefit reducing to £21,105; or take the value of the policy, which was about £350. I chose to pay £15.
Now they have written again to say I can pay £35.10 per month to keep protection the same, keep paying £15 per month for £10,907, or have the payments made from my fund value until it runs out. The letter says they’ll review it again in five years.
D.M. by email.
This reader took out a life assurance policy to provide for her daughter if the worst happened – but is now being asked to up her premiums for the same benefit (picture posed by models)
Tony Hazell replies: Basic life assurance is cheap and runs for a set term, say 30 years. You’ve got a whole-of-life policy with reviewable premiums.
Every few years the policy will be reviewed and, depending on investment returns, cover will be cut or premiums increased.
In your case, investment returns were not as good as those projected when the policy was sold.
Once you turn 70, the policy will be reviewed every year.
When you bought life assurance, did you want something that would pay out no matter how long you lived, or to offer protection when your daughter was young?
If your daughter is no longer dependant on you, perhaps your monthly payment could be better used.
- Write to Tony Hazell at Ask Tony, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email [email protected] — include phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organisation giving them permission to talk to Tony Hazell. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given