Can you help me recover the £2,500 that car hire firm Green Motion has taken from my bank account? In January 2016 I hired a small car from the firm, but when I arrived at East Midlands airport I was told the one I had booked was not available. Instead, I was offered a Mercedes.
It was delivered with half a tank of diesel and I was told to return it half full. I refuelled once during the week-long rental, and four days later I returned it. It was signed in and accepted by Green Motion.
More than two months later, however, £2,495 was taken from my Barclays current account because Green Motion claimed I had misfuelled the car. I have a diesel car here in France, so I am well aware of the possibility of putting in the wrong fuel. I also know that if you put petrol in a diesel car it soon grinds to a halt; it certainly will not drive 200 further miles as I did.
Immediately after being informed of the debit, I attempted to contact Green Motion on several occasions but received no reply. I also telephoned Barclays to be told that it would carry out an investigation.
In May, the £2,495 was refunded to my account by the bank, only to be debited again in June, even though the investigation was still “ongoing”. I have repeatedly asked Barclays and Green Motion for concrete proof that this misfuelling took place. Green Motion has not even answered my emails.
In November I was shocked when Barclays admitted that my dispute with Green Motion had been ruled in the firm’s favour on the strength of a letter from Green Motion. But it had seen no documentary evidence to prove that I had misfuelled the car.
• I rented a Toyota Aygo from Green Motion’s Edinburgh airport depot in November, after making a booking through Rentalcars.com, buying its extra insurance. When I picked up the car I paid the £995 excess.
The next day I was involved in a multi-car accident, through no fault of my own. Within 48 hours Green Motion charged me a further £550 and £250, which meant I had paid it almost £1,800. Green Motion said the second set of charges were its recovery fees. I challenged this – even the policeman I spoke to said it costs £120 to recover a vehicle – and argued that it was clearly looking to financially gain out of this situation.
When I requested an invoice I only got one from Green Motion, not the recovery company, which stated there was a £658 recovery fee and £66 damage fee. I was later refunded £78. The most expensive recovery company in Scotland must have picked up the car!
Green Motion has told me its non-fault team is dealing with the claim, but it will take some time to get my money back as it has to recover its costs from the third-party insurers.
Rentalcars, from whom I bought the insurance, says it only covers me if I am at fault, in which case it would have paid out in seven days. Please help.
HM, via email
We have reported on Green Motion car rentals in the past after readers complained about large charges to their bank cards, and what they claimed was a reluctance by the company to provide evidence that the charges were justified.
Last May we reported how several customers – often those from abroad visiting the UK – had found themselves charged several hundred pounds for small scratches, for which they claimed they were not at fault.
We sent these two letters to Green Motion via its solicitor, which it now insists that all contact should go through.
In the latter case of HM, it declined to comment, although Green Motion has since sent an email stating that the actual recovery charge was £398, and so it refunded you £260. It did not offer an explanation as to why it was initially charged at £658.
However, a call to Rentalcars was more productive. It has agreed to pay your excess and other charges applied by Green Motion, and will wait for the refund to be made when the at-fault insurer pays up.
You are delighted, as in your words you won’t have to deal with Green Motion again.
In the case of DB from France, we were as shocked as you that the company would take so much money without providing evidence.
All the company would say to us, again through its lawyer, was: “We appreciate the customer’s frustrations. However, we have carried out a full investigation into this matter and are satisfied that we have acted appropriately and in accordance with our terms and conditions.”
Green Motion did not say why no evidence was sent to you.
We asked Barclays’ head office to take a second look, and it has agreed that you should have been refunded. It says that the Visa rules state that following a dispute, the merchant (in this case Green Motion) is required to provide a series of documents including an estimate of the cost of the damage from a company that can legally provide repairs.
A Barclays spokesman says: “Having reviewed the documentation, we are not satisfied the conditions have been met, and therefore the customer will be refunded £2,495.”
The bank has also paid you £200 as a gesture of goodwill.
While we accept that lots of customers have a hassle-free rental with Green Motion, the complaints we have received, and those posted online, lead us to the conclusion that we would not recommend hiring a car from this company.
We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at
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