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## Situation: Running Over a Pothole with a Rented Car

I hired a car last bank holiday and happened to run over a pothole which caused a flat tire. I pulled over and tried to call the rental agency but they had already closed for the day. I called the out of hours number and this took me to a Roadside Assistance service, which filed an incident with the RAC. While waiting and speaking to other victims of the same pothole (there were about 10 of us), it became obvious that the RAC wouldn’t be able to patch the tire and they’d only be able to help us get somewhere where we could replace it ourselves anyway so we decided to skip ahead and just get it replaced.

With the AI Legalese Decoder, you can easily input the terms and conditions of your car rental agreement to quickly determine your rights and obligations in situations like this. The AI tool can help you understand the legal language used in contracts and policies, making it easier for you to navigate such disputes with the rental agency.

## Dealing with the Rental Agency

Once we returned the vehicle, the agency told us that they would have to replace the tire anyway and we’d be charged for this, as it wasn’t a ‘like for like’ for the old one. We asked what we should have done and they said we should have gotten towed back and let them handle it. We asked them where the ‘like for like’ rule was stated in the T&Cs and at first they said ‘it doesn’t say in the T&C’s but it also doesn’t state you can replace it’. When we insisted that we will dispute the charge if it isn’t stated, they came back to highlight that it does say that ‘Hirer(s) will return the vehicle together with all tires (…) in the same condition when received’.

The AI Legalese Decoder can help you analyze the terms and conditions of the rental agreement to determine if the agency’s actions were justifiable. By inputting the relevant clauses, the AI tool can assist you in building a strong argument to dispute the charge on your credit card.

## Understanding the Legal Language

This seems ambiguous to me, as ‘the same condition’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘like for like’ to me but rather ‘the same working order and the same state of repair’, which was true of the new tire. Am I misinterpreting this paragraph? If not, what’s the best way to dispute the charge to my credit card?

With the help of the AI Legalese Decoder, you can gain a better understanding of the legal language used in the terms and conditions of your rental agreement. By clarifying the meaning of key phrases and clauses, you can effectively challenge the rental agency’s interpretation of the contract and protect your rights as a consumer.

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12 Comments

  • warriorscot

    They’re totally right, but they should give you the tyre back, if you had them take you to where you needed to go the rental company would have had the tyre replaced or swapped your car and done it at their own depot.

    They own the car, your service included the roadside, if the roadside couldn’t patch it or replace it under contract it wasn’t for you to do that for them because they have no assurance of the work or that it meets their policies i.e. they’ll have a set tyre quality and replacement specification that will likely include always replacing two tyres at the same time.

  • Happytallperson

    It’s a difficult one. There are a few issues. 

    1. Generally it is always advised to change tyres in pairs to avoid having uneven wear on each side. You should also avoid having different treads on different sides of the vehicle. 

    2. Returning with the tyres in the same condition is alsl not really possible as tyres are a consumable product that wear down – so they’re asking for a brand new tyre to replace a part worn one. 

    3. From a safety audit point of view, they presumably don’t want to let out a vehicle with a tyre of providence unknown and a fitter unknown, so I can understand them wanting to change it.

    It’s quite hard to estimate how the term in the contract might get understood in that context. 

    Honestly, I think the sensible way forward would be to agree to pay for a new tyre, but on condition you get your new tyre back, to either sell on or fit to your own vehicle at some point. 

  • ShaneH7646

    I work for a well known rental company, we recharge 99% of tyre issues, regardless of situation. If you were to appeal it based on this, they’d likely drop it as its not really worth it for the cost of a tyre, most people don’t appeal.

  • gmailreddit11219

    IMO the company are fair, tyres should match on brand and model on each axel, for example a matching pair on the front, and a pair on the rear.

    Having two different tyres on the same axel is not ideal and can cause a very different level of grip from left to right. For a rental company this is an unacceptable level of risk if someone is driving the car in poor conditions.

    Whenever you see a car for sale with mismatch tyres on the same axel, it’s a clear indication it’s been maintained as cheaply as possible and probably one to avoid.

  • bau2you

    Thanks everyone for all the helpful answers. The consensus is clear so I’ll accept the charge and move on. It’s a shame since we really did do our very best to do what was right given less than ideal circumstances but it will now serve as a lesson learned.

  • TheDisapprovingBrit

    If the RAC came via the hire companies recovery service, you should definitely not accept the charge. Your position is “I called you, your recovery agent told me to buy a new tire, that’s the end of the matter. If I needed to be recovered back here and have you deal with it, that’s what your recovery agent should have done”

  • Wise_Monkey_Sez

    Firstly, the wording of the contract is indefensible. Simply by driving the car the tires will not be “in the same condition (as?) when received.” There is a standard formula for calculating the wear and tear on tires issued by the AA, but suffice it to say that the tires **will not** (and never could reasonably expected to be) “in the same condition” when the vehicle is returned. It’s an absurd clause.

    Secondly, the damage to the tire was not caused by you. It was caused by a third party, namely the local city council responsible for maintaining the roads. The damage caused by the pothole should never have been your responsibility in any way, shape or form. At this point the car company will probably be filling in the paperwork to get their money back from the local city council for the tire replacement.

    Thirdly, you contacted the Roadside Assistance service as directed by the car company. Anything that follows from that is therefore their responsibility. If it was their desire that the car should be towed then they should have directed the Roadside Assistance service to take that action, **not** to take you somewhere to replace the tire. In effect the car rental company delegated authority over the matter to the Roadside Assistance service. Any action taken or advised by the Roadside Assistance service (in this case replacing the tire) is to be considered to have come from the car company. You did as they advised and replaced the tire.

    What you need to do is:

    1. Cancel the payment to the car company.

    2. Demand an itemised bill and dispute the cost they’ve added for the replacement tire maintaining that this is nothing to do with you, and is a third party issue between the car company and the city council, and that you won’t tolerate them trying to transfer liability to you for the actions of a third party.

    3. Demand that the bill be **reduced** by the amount that you paid for the replacement tire stating that this action as taken on the advice of the Roadside Assistance service that their after-hours message directed you to, and as such you paid for the replacement expecting to be reimbursed by the car company. What they do with that tire afterwards? Not your problem. The car company’s Roadside Assistance service told you to buy it, you acted in good faith. Now it’s their problem.

    You should also contact the relevant city council and find out if the car company has put in a claim for the damaged tire. If they have then they’re trying to “double-dip”, getting money for the new tire from both you and the city council, which is clear and blatant fraud. You should also contact the car company’s insurance company as they might also be trying to get money for the damaged tire from there.

    Even if they’re not doing these things you position should be that (a) the pothole damage is a third party issue, and (b) that you replaced the tire on the advice of the car company’s agent, the Roadside Assistance service, and you expect to be reimbursed for the repairs. They can then sort out the costs with the third party responsible for the incident.

    Refuse to pay until the matter is resolved satisfactorily. The car company have insurance against these sort of things **and** can claim from the city council. This is not your problem.

  • cogra23

    If you do fight this request all invoices they have received for tyres. Then check if any are for fewer than 4 tyres.

  • Scragglymonk

    was given a car a few years ago with front tires bald, never realised at the time.

    called the company and got them replaced at a tyre dealer

    what is their written policy of tyre repair or replacement during out of hours

    make sure to demand the tyre back that you paid for and sell it on, they might decide it is not worth the hassle or the vehicle has already been re-hired

  • Greedy-Mechanic-4932

    So, you had five functional tyres when you hired the vehicle?

    What happened with the flat one? Did you return it flat, or repaired?

  • Cool-Narwhal1500

    I used to work for fleet management & logistics on the corporate side of a vehicle rental company, very possibly the one you hired from but the policies are generally the same.

    I can’t comment for the legality of the interpretation of the T’s & C’s as I’m NAL, but when I worked there the policy was always you use the hire companies roadside, & if they can’t fix it you take it to the branch. You should never get it fixed yourself, the main reason actually being the insurance. As the rental company’s insurance will only cover the vehicle if maintained to the company’s standard.

    So an unauthorized repair by a garage that isn’t one of their approved repair stations would void the insurance if they were to rent the vehicle out to another customer without getting it repaired at an approved repair shop.

    The tyre is likely just fine as you say, but from the point of view of the company’s fleet management they can’t guarantee the work & therefore they can’t rehire the vehicle without redoing the work themselves.

    Unfortunately I think you might be out of pocket with the rental, but I would ask for the tyre back as others have said if they’re charging you for a new tyre, the tyre you bought (which I assume you have a receipt for) is yours. You could then possibly claim that back from the council responsible for maintaining the roads where this happened.

  • Papfox

    By it not being “like for like”, I assume the tyre isn’t the same brand or model as the one on the other end of the axle. Having mismatched tyres on a car isn’t a good thing to do (I’m a car person) and can cause handling issues which may put future renters of the vehicle in danger, particularly if the tyres on the same axle don’t match. This is worse if it’s the front axle. I can see why the rental company wouldn’t want to expose themselves to potential liability for this should a future renter of the car have an accident. I don’t think they’re being unreasonable about this. If I was renting a car and the company offered me one with mismatched tyres, I wouldn’t be comfortable with that.

    I would try claiming against the council in the area where the damage occurred for the cost of the replacement tyre. Their failure to maintain the road in a safe condition caused you loss. If it’s not an expensive tyre, they may just pay you rather than spend more than the cost of the claim fighting it