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WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

Sydney, Australia
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7 posts
1 review
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WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

I rented two Daihatsu Sirions from Cairns Older Car Hire. I paid a deposit to book the vehicles ahead of time. At no time was the condition that there was a 25 cent per kilometre over 200km driven in a day mentioned. Had it been I would not have rented the cars.

This condition was only mentioned on pick-up, at which point, due to time constraints and the difficulties presented in attempting to retrieve the 'non-refundable' deposit, it was decided that rather than ruining our holiday we would just accept this term.

I also note that this term is not found in the COCH Terms and Conditions available on their webpage, nor those sent to me via email at the time of booking.

Prior to being given the keys to the cars there was a perfunctory 'condition report' by one of the staff. It was noted that the cars had existing dents, scratches and windscreen chips. There was no attempt to specify exactly where on the car these were as the number of said defects was so high. There was no internal check or lights check performed.

This became a safety hazard on the last night of our hire term. This was the first time we drove at night where it became apparent that one of the cars' tail lights did not work while the other car had a broken headlight.

Having returned the vehicles and thinking to be rid of such a dishonest and dangerous company I then discovered that I had been charged $300 on top of the extra charges related to excess kilometre usage. Upon calling their office my husband was treated in a perfunctory and rude manner by Craig whilst 'explaining' that the charges were related to scratches alongside one of the vehicles.

Craig also made an unsubstantiated claim that there had been multiple calls to say that the driver (of which vehicle was not noted) was being a hoon. As there were four people in each of these 1.0 litre cars, amongst them grandparents and children, this pernicious claim was impossible and untrue - another attempt at coersion.

As to the $300 for the scratches, I asked to see evidence of said scratches and the time-frame within which they occurred. I was told to f*ck off. I note that COHC is affiliated with a garage, where I assume the $300 quote for unspecified and unsubstantiated damage was generated.

Look at reviews for this company - even some hotel websites suggest staying well clear of these crooks!!!

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Cairns
Cairns
Cairns Region, Australia
Sydney
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2,580 posts
25 reviews
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1. Re: WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

The time has come, for all people renting cars from all companies to do their own damage checks + photos. Do not rely on the rental company.

There are so many of these stories about damage on return that was present on rental being charged for. I had my own experience with Avis, where the damage condition report said "Damage to front bumper and door". I checked the car, confirmed the damage (which was to the front bumper and rear door) and drove off, on return for them to say that there was no damage on rental to the rear door, and that "front bumper and door", actually meant front bumper and front door.

That was my final lesson.

Everybody renting a car has a camera.

Always, no matter what, make your own damage inspection and notes on the contract. Always, no matter what, photograph the damage. Always get the rental company to sign them. Every Single Time. No matter if it is raining and the middle of the night, just do it.

Edited: 8:04 pm, August 03, 2011
South Pole
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15,381 posts
35 reviews
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2. Re: WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

agree with the above.

photographs are an absolute necessity these days.

read the top tips on this Choice report on car rental.

choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/travel-and-t…

shame it has come to this but that's the way things are these days.

Broadford, Australia
Destination Expert
for Melbourne
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2,609 posts
61 reviews
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3. Re: WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

From the Webiste of COCH Terms and Conditions:

(s) if the duration of the rental is less than 3 days, the customer is permitted to drive an average of $200km per day at no extra charge. Mileage in excess will be charge at $0.25 per km. Rentals of 3 days or more will be permitted unlimited kms so long as the car remains within the designated region.

When you book online this is also noted on the Vehicle Information page. And again in the quote summary page with further clarification of the "Designated region".

It is not clear from your post what length of time you rented for.

I agree with the above posts about car condition and photographing same.

This does not of course excuse the way you claim to have been treated by the staff at the hire company. As Lien says, read the Choice report. It seems as though many if not all of the Hire Car Companies resort to all sorts of tactics to separate the hirer from his cash. Sorry to hear you had such a bad time of it.

Cairns, Australia
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400 posts
7 reviews
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4. Re: WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

Oh dear, I wish you'd asked a local. I had a guest who rented a car from this company for a week, as she rather stupidly left in a long no-park area in the middle of Cairns city whilst she went on a liveaboard (she was duly notified by crew on liveaboard that she would incur at least a $300 parking fine) the liveaboard ( Reef Encounter) rang me, arranged for the car keys to be brought back from reef to their office in Cairns, and I picked it up and drove it home. There is no doubt about it, the vehicle was not roadworthy.

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Cairns City Motel
Cairns City Motel
52 Reviews
Cairns, Australia
Cairns
Cairns
Cairns Region, Australia
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
7 posts
1 review
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5. Re: WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

RE: Unclefey:

They changed their T&C half way through my dispute with them... nice attempt at a cover-up on their part.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
7 posts
1 review
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6. Re: WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

RE: Unclefey:

They changed their T&C half way through my dispute with them... nice attempt at a cover-up on their part.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, New South Wales, Cruises
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11,636 posts
160 reviews
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7. Re: WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

Honestly !!

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, New South Wales, Cruises
Level Contributor
11,636 posts
160 reviews
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8. Re: WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

If you have been wronged in terms of the contractual obligations, then you have an option of going to the Department of Fair Trading.

There is a link at the bottom of this FAQ which has hints and tips about renting cars in Australia - tripadvisor.com/Travel-g255055-c119403/Austr…

Re the km charge - that's quite a usual thing to be charged extra by many companies and it should be on the T&C that you signed.

Re the scratches and dents - one of the oldest tricks in the book .. and as others have said, it's up to you to ensure that every little dent and scratch is noted - photographed if you will.

So all up, trying to save a few dollars per day cost you a bundle ... why does that not surprise me ?

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Australia
Australia
South Pacific
Sydney, Australia
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7 posts
1 review
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9. Re: WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

The extra kms was not in the T&Cs - not the original ones anyway.... looked into legal action but cost is same as moneys lost (just filing costs over $100), plus all the hassle. Best result is just to warn others of their skullduggery. Dept. of Fair Trading have no teeth and will not get my money back but will merely 'recommend' action. In this case they I assume they recommended to COCH that they include extra clauses in their T&Cs as those T&Cs mysteriously appeared after I lodged my complaint... so all they did really was provide free legal advice for COCH and tell me to pursue legal action- pointless organisation.

Interesting that all the complaints about COCH by OZ residents are for under $500, about the amount it costs to take it further, while the overseas complaints are up to $1000 - safety in distance I guess.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, New South Wales, Cruises
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11,636 posts
160 reviews
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10. Re: WARNING Cairns Older Car Hire

"Dept. of Fair Trading have no teeth and will not get my money back but will merely 'recommend' action."

I'm not sure that is the case - IME, they encourage you to take up the matter with the trader and if you cannot resolve the matter, then lodge a complaint to be heard by a Tribunal ... not a court.

The figures quoted in your post 9 sound a bit high to me for fees usually associated with the Consumer Claims Tribunal which is what I was referring to in my post # 8.

The reason consumer claim tribunals were set up were to provide consumers with a way cheaply and efficiently to resolve complaints under the Trade Practices Act and Consumer Protection laws. In NSW last time I looked it cost around $25 to lodge a complaint and have the matter heard by a Tribunal.

One of the key focuses for any Dept of Fair Trading is to take action against rogue traders and if warranted, publish warnings about traders. I don't think that officers of the Depts of Fair Trading read TripAdvisor looking for issues that tourists raise, and they certainly cannot take action against traders who are alleged to have done the wrong thing under these cuircumstances. The only way they can be alerted and take action is when a consumer contacts them and lodges a complaint.

If aren't willing to take it further, then why complain on TA? How will your complaint against this trader help others when your thread will be eventually lost in the ethernet ?

The best thing you can do is to take action.

Here's some links below to help you get started.

.....

Cut and paste below taken from …qld.gov.au/unfair-business-practices.htm

Avoiding unfair business practices

Misleading or deceptive conduct

A business is not allowed to mislead or deceive you in their advertisements. Learn about the kinds of advertising you are protected from, and what to do if you see illegal advertising.

False or misleading representations

It´s illegal for a business to make false or misleading statements about the goods or services they are supplying.

Unconscionable conduct

Businesses must act in good conscience when selling their goods and services.

Representations about country of origin

A business may only claim that a product is ´Made in Australia´ under certain circumstances.

Resolving disputes

If you are unhappy with the conduct of a business about any of these issues, put your concerns in writing to the manager and try to resolve any disputes directly with the business first.

If you are unsatisfied with the response to your concerns, lodge a complaint with us - fairtrading.qld.gov.au/complaint-general.htm - or lodge a claim with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal - http://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/

RE Misleadning and Deceptive Business practices - …qld.gov.au/misleading-deceptive-conduct.htm

RE False and misleading claims - …qld.gov.au/false-misleading-representations…

RE Unconscionable conduct - …qld.gov.au/unconscionable-conduct.htm

Qld Office of Fair Trading complaint form - …qld.gov.au/Forms/General_consumer_complaint…

Edited: 3:42 pm, January 30, 2012
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