A few months ago we reported on a prominent Australian 4WD hire company based in Queensland that was accused of ripping customers off. This company carries a reputation for unfairly withholding bond deposits based upon speeding and driving at night or when raining. The customer was expected to pay for repairs if, through wear and tear, the vehicle mechanically broke down. Legal action immediately followed for values in excess of any perceived damage if the customer didn’t pay up. Of course, the hire company claimed they had done nothing wrong and it was all the customer’s fault.
LNP member for Clayfield, Tim Nicholls, showed concern in Parliament that the company would tarnish Australia and particularly Queensland’s tourist reputation. Mr Nicholls went on to accuse the company of ripping off tourists in an “unscrupulous, unfair, fraudulent” and “well-rehearsed” scam.
According to this ABC report the ACCC has been investigating due to the large volume of complaints fielded against Australian 4WD Hire.
Councillor’s accusations are well-founded
As the ABC has reported, Australian 4WD Hire has been forced to back down on claims of negligence, speeding, tampering and wrongdoing on behalf of several hirers, each having received astonishing five-figure demands and litigation.
One report is of a couple who became bogged and hiked out to find mobile phone reception and organise help. Overnight high tidal flows damaged the stuck vehicle causing it to be written-off. The couple had purchased insurance against accident damage, however Australian 4WD Hire demanded $54,000 instead of the insurance excess. Against assurances made by Australian 4WD Hire, the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court found the vehicle was only insured for third party property damage.
Readers who have used Australian 4WD Hire and have had their bond withheld, especially relating to speeding offences that you don’t remember making, would be well advised to pursue the matter further.