Hastings: a total loss

A member has sent me the latest generic communication outlining Hasting’s policy relating to Covid and hire car charges incurred following an accident in circumstances where the Claimant’s vehicle was deemed beyond economic repair.


The document contains no mention of Hasting’s relationship with Interflora (or Nestle in cases where they also provide accident victims with a box of chocolates), but they have sought to simplify a complex situation in a manner likeley to impress the court in future arguments but in a way that misrepresents reality.


A copy is of the note is available here:


https://www.dropbox.com/s/0hvyv8hvnlzuwbd/Hastings%20Covid%20Car%20Hire.pdf?dl=0


In terms of the message, it seems that Hastings communication fails to recognise that one of the consequences of the Covid pandemic has been a shortage of used vehicle stock in the retail market because demand has outstripped supply resulting in sharp retail price increases for whatever stock remains.


The imbalance has arisen because many consumers have delayed buying new vehicles amidst legitimate concerns for the economy, their livelihoods and the future post Brexit. That material decline in new car demand has cut-off the traditional supply of used stock for dealers, stock that Hastings imply is available simply because they can identify that dealer websites exist.


One media source coined the problem quite neatly arguing that whilst ‘demand for used vehicles is there, supply is not’.


It may be worth testing whether this problem of replacing a claimant’s vehicle could be one for Hastings to resolve. Providing them with a specification of the claimant’s damaged car and inviting them to source a directly comparable car – by reference to manufacturer, model, age, mileage, colour and specification - and then inviting them to take the risk of presenting it to the claimant for a test drive if they imagine the process to be as easy, and the supply of cars as ubiquitous, as they imagine. Just an idea…

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