Judge upholds decision over hire car charge

A High Court ruling is to force credit hire companies to ensure claimant drivers sign all paperwork before they provide a vehicle.

In the past, hire companies sent documents to the claimant driver after the hire period ended.

The ruling by Judge Worster last month upheld a decision by Birmingham county court, which reduced a charge from Helphire, the UK’s largest accident management company, from £4,250 to zero.

The company had provided a claimant driver with a BMW Z4 for 15 days during April in 2007. The driver signed the hire documents four months later and the bill was passed on to his insurer, Sheehan.

Judge Worster agreed the bill was unreasonably high and the paperwork was not binding because it was signed so long after the hire period ended.

Fiona Butler, who represented Sheehan, said insurers would now have more confidence to defend cases against hire firms that did not make their costs clear to the driver before the contract was signed.