DAC Beachcroft Update

I reported previously that DAC Beachcroft have been engaged on their recurring round of Credit Hire and Vehicle Damage roadshows. Yesterday, they posted an update about their successes and plans for dealing with the challenges of credit hire claims. They also published details of a few cases where they had been successful in court.

They have clearly had the marketing team hard at work. They came up with “The Hire Way” as their catchy branding for these communications. For those of you that have not had the pleasure, I set out below the key points reported in the November edition.

The most newsworthy element of the release is their intention to focus on specific challenges in workshops to be held in November, January, and February. Those workshops will focus on BHR in November, Credit Hire Fraud in January, and Intervention in February. They are advertising these sessions as ‘Bitesize Refreshers’ (more input from marketing) and they will last no more than an hour and take place remotely. I think, on that basis, it is fair to assume that DAC are not bringing anything particularly innovative or fresh to the debate, but I do think that it is interesting that BHR is on their radar. It can’t be long before the BHR experts are incapable of evidencing that the BHR was lower than the commercial rate charged by CHOs where those CHOs have invested in some market intelligence to get their pricing right.

In other news, DAC report on recent industry developments. One of those is the proposed extension to Fixed Recoverable Costs. You can access their feature at https://sites-dacb.vuturevx.com/59/7421/landing-pages/extension-of-fixed-recoverable-costs-to-most-civil-cases-up-to-the-value-of-£100-000.asp

Of more interest to CHOs is their summary of harnessing technology to address credit hire fraud (https://sites-dacb.vuturevx.com/59/7421/landing-pages/harnessing-technology-to-successfully-defend-credit-hire-claims.asp) where they focus on Fundamental Dishonesty and the deployment of ANPR evidence. Their article does not advance matters much, but CHOs would be advised to give it the two minutes reading time it deserves.

The third issue they address is the evolving judicial response to Hussein v EUI [2019] (https://sites-dacb.vuturevx.com/59/7421/landing-pages/hussain-v-eui--2019----2-years-on--are-we-really-seeing-a-difference-.asp) and the fourth is a section that really isn’t worth two minutes of your time. It is their self-serving article on collaborative innovation within their Vehicle Hire and Damage team (https://sites-dacb.vuturevx.com/59/7421/landing-pages/vehicle-hire-and-damage-team--collaborative-innovation.asp)

As regards their report of recent successes at trial, it seems that there is healthy competition between Keoghs and DAC Beachcroft and some serious work from the marketeers who decided to polish some turds to suggest there might be some evidence of legal and intellectual storm trooping when the reality is that they’ve been involved in a case where somebody at the CHO may have dropped the process ball. The six cases they report (and their summary) are repeated below for your convenience:

A&K Homecare Services v EUI Ltd

This case proceeded to a hearing with the issues on quantum being around the duration and the daily rate of hire. At trial we were able to successfully argue that the duration be reduced from 55 to 29 days based on unreasonable delays in the Claimant’s vehicle being inspected. The daily rate was also then reduced by the Judge in line with our basic hire rates evidence with 7-day rates being awarded. In total a 75% saving was achieved.

Mr Krishna Shekhar v Ms Rose Hutchful

This quantum dispute proceeded to trial where the Claimants hire claim was dismissed in its entirety along with the engineer’s fee and collision damage waiver sought. This was on the basis that the Claimant Solicitors had failed to provide the rental agreement supporting hire. This was not even exhibited to the Claimant’s statement. On this basis the hire claim was unsupported and therefore struck out resulting in a 100% saving.

Mr Selemon Gebru v UK Insurance Ltd

A taxi loss of profit argument in line with Hussain v EUI was pursued on this matter where we proceeded to trial maintaining a stance that the Claimant should have presented a claim for loss of profit as opposed to hiring a vehicle on credit. To further support out position the claimant had access to another, non taxi plated vehicle, so there was no need for a hire car that could be used social and domestic purposes. With the Claimant failing to prove impecuniosity the Judge was in agreement with our stance awarding loss of profit which resulted in a 78% saving on the hire claimed.

Mr Reece Anglin v DPD Group UK Ltd

There were duration and rates arguments on this matter. First despite 70 day being claimed only 1 rental agreement and invoice had been provided with 40 days hire being unaccounted for. Rate was also then disputed with formal basic hire rates obtained. The Claimant attempted to rely on the additional hire documentation at the hearing however the Judge refused a request to adjourn for this to be considered. In total duration was reduced by 49 days to 21 with our Basic Hire Rates evidence being utilised to reduce the rate. The saving achieved on this matter came to 82%.

Mr Andrew Verdie v Aviva Insurance

This matter proceeded to trial due to an intervention argument. The Claimant confirmed they had received the intervention letter sent by the Defendant as well as having received a call with regards to the offer for services prior to entering into credit hire. The Claimant advised they were dubious about the offer and did not consider it realistic. The Judge found there was no dispute the offer was received by the Claimant and they were satisfied the offer was Copley compliant. The Claimant whilst honest about their reasons for not accepting the offer still has a duty to mitigate and they have failed in that duty by not accepting the offer. The intervention rate was awarded for the full period resulting in an 84% saving on the hire claimed.

Mr Ahmad Nazar Omari v Miss Charlotte Begley

This was a credit hire claim for a taxi yet the Claimant did not even reference the fact he was a taxi driver until witness exchange and even at this point there were 4 generic sentences regarding hire. This is despite hire being the only head of loss sought.

The Claimant failed to correctly serve or address impecuniosity and later failed in providing disclosure. The day before the hearing the Claimant sought to apply to rely on a further witness statement and also seek relief to rely on the impecuniosity documents, stating that there would be no prejudice on the Defendant and that the breach of 6 months was not significant. This application was dismissed.

We made no offers throughout as the Claimants evidence was so poor. A statement filed with the Court days before the hearing outlining all the clear signposts left where we asked the Claimant to evidence their claim. The Judge agreed, found the Claimant had not made out need which was not self-proving and dismissed the claim in full resulting in a 100% saving of £34,720.00 on the hire claimed. Currently an application has been made for a non-party costs order against the CHO and we await the outcome of this.

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