Driver wins compo fight after Facebook crusade

By Hayley Gastmeier -
12 comments
Masterton teacher Paul Andersen with his 2-year-old daughter Hana. Mr Andersen has been fighting a three-month insurance battle with Ace Rental Cars after a tourist drove into the side of his family car.Photo/Andrew Bonallack
Masterton teacher Paul Andersen with his 2-year-old daughter Hana. Mr Andersen has been fighting a three-month insurance battle with Ace Rental Cars after a tourist drove into the side of his family car.Photo/Andrew Bonallack

A rental car company says it will pay out after a Masterton man posted his frustrations on social media regarding a three-month battle to claim insurance after a tourist crashed into his family car.

Paul Andersen had been driving through central Masterton three-and-a-half months ago when his car was struck by a vehicle belonging to Ace Rental Cars.

"A Canadian tourist went through a give way sign and crashed into me," Mr Andersen said.

"Luckily I was on my way to pick up my wife and children and they weren't with me."

The father-of-four said the driver of the rental car had "admitted liability straight away".

Mr Andersen got in touch with the rental car company the next day.

"I had to call them heaps of times. A manager at Ace Rentals said [insurance] would be about three months to sort out, and when I said to him that that was unacceptable because we have a family, he laughed."

Mr Andersen was told that Ace Rental Cars insured through Hertz, another rental car company, who are self-insured.

"When I was finally assigned someone to manage the case, he again said it would be three months, and that's not acceptable."

The person managing Mr Andersen's case through Hertz is based in Australia, meaning many long-distance calls.

"They don't return any emails or phone calls. It's been a really drawn-out process."

So far the claim has been passed through three different case managers' hands, with one allegedly telling Mr Andersen he would make things "difficult" if a complaint was made.

Mr Andersen said his damaged 2001 Toyota Epsom had been "in very good condition" and that a valuation said it was worth between $8000-$9000.

"When they finally gave us the price it was a lot lower than the value of the car."

Mr Andersen was offered $5500 with $1000 deducted to cover a "10 per cent fee" and salvage.

The $500 salvage fee then escalated to $1000 after he challenged the insurance company with a salvage quote of $80, which he received from a Masterton wreckers.

On Tuesday night Mr Andersen, a teacher at Lakeview School, shared his frustrations on Facebook, which prompted numerous comments of sympathy and received hundreds of 'likes'.

The general manager of Ace Rental Cars called Mr Andersen late yesterday afternoon, after media inquiries had been made to the company about the situation.

"They offered what we asked for, which was $7000," Mr Andersen said.

"We're really happy with that and we're really grateful with the people who commented and shared the post on Facebook to get this result.

"I recommend calling the Ace Rentals' head office to other people who have had problems with them."

In a statement to the Times-Age yesterday, a spokesperson for Ace Rental Cars said the company wished to apologise to the Masterton family.

"We take claims relating to staff conduct very seriously and an investigation has begun into allegations made following the incident," the statement read.

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