Darren Bent should have looked for a better car hire deal, court finds

England international footballer Darren Bent paid at least £20,000 too much in credit hire fees and should have shopped around for a better deal, a Cambridge country court has ruled.

Bent had claimed £63,000 in credit hire fees through Accident Exchange after a car crash, and the credit hire operator later billed Allianz. Allianz challenged the claim, as reported by Insurance Times in December 2009.

The court ruled that the amount claimed by Bent, who now plays for Aston Villa, was almost £20,000 more – 30% higher – than if he had made appropriate enquiries. Bent's Mercedes, which was damaged during the accident, is valued at £72,000. Following the collision, Bent hired an Aston Martin DB9 for £573.28 a day over 94 days.

Bent v Highways and Utilities Construction & Another was first heard in March 2010, when Lord Justice Jacob questioned whether credit hire should only be available to claimants who cannot afford spot hire rates. The Court of Appeal sent the case back to Cambridge County Court and it was reheard earlier this month to look closely at the spot rate, the rates charged by credit hire firms.