A New Zealand resident, Tara Ewing, was reimbursed for damages claimed by Auckland-based Metropolitan Rentals after a disputes tribunal ruled that the car rental company held burden of proof to claim the damages, and that it lacked evidence of a pre-rental inspection, according to an April 24 article in the New Zealand Herald.
Metropolitan Rentals had withheld $280 of the couple’s $400 bond for a reported dent in the truck rental, in which the person who picked up the rental testified that he had to walk down the street to get the vehicle, and no inspection with an employee took place. No itemized invoice, photos — before or after — or other documentation of the damage was available from the car rental company.
Ewing told the Herald that she is speaking out to make sure people know that it is the rental car company's responsibility to prove damages, “rather than trying to prove your innocence.”
While disputes tribunals in New Zealand do not set precedent, a consumer advocate cited in the article states that the case is still a “mark in the sand” for others who find themselves in similar situations.
For the full article from the New Zealand Herald, click on the URL: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10801019
The hearing, part of the process to reauthorize the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, was held by the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.