How to fight a UK company when we live in France. Small claims court or

We are british (I guess you knew that really), living in France (ditto), being diddled by a uk car hire company (trustpilot rating 0.5/5!) for a car rental when we were in UK. Using a UK credit card. They are claiming damage and etc which is just lies.

We are using (which is good, saves on all those recorded letters). But it keeps going on, they keep charging semi-random amounts on the card which we have to get frozen and so on. It really has been a considerable amount of trouble by now.

We've got the "bill" down from £1450 to £85, so we are making progress. They are only claiming now for a valet charge which is baloney. (Just so you know what it's like, they sent us the valet bill, for 60 then charged 85. Dishonest and incompetent)

Can I use the uk small claims court procedure without having to attend? Should I? Is there some better alternative (like getting a hearing in France would be handy).

Anyone got any other approaches?


PS for those who picked up on our being burgled thread, hurray for the cops, we first got the bill for £1450 the same day the burglars came! Not a good day.

Be warned, I had a small claims court action thrown out because I did it online and didn't use a UK address. Also, despite the cleric of the court assuring me that my letter would be taken into account (I could not attend due to illness) the judge found in favour of the defendants because they turned up and I didn't. Very frustrating and costly.

RE: Credit card authorisation.

Just make certain that your car hire company hasn't already registered you as a bad debt with the debt collection agencies. This can adversely affect your credit rating and a devil to remove. Suggest you check your current rating through Experian to make certain that the deed hasn't already been done and then a note to both your bank and all your credit card companies explaining the problem you are having and steps taken to refute same. The other advice you have been given is also excellent but you could help yourselves by contacting the Trading Standards Office in the town where the hire car invoices emanated from and also contacting the BVRLA , British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association(somewhere in Henley I believe) who have an interest in such affairs. In my days they also ran an Ombudsman service. The last bit of advice about ignoring their invoices is OK providing that you are doing something to get the invoice completely written off your account.

If you have stopped them being able to take the money automatically why do you not just ignore the bill from them and let them persue you (in France) through the courts for it rather than worrying about. They can just write it off as a bad debt and you can rest in peace. Let them do the chasing.

Not sure if this helps you but under legal on this site:

Small claims in Europe

This EU web page details the European Small Claims procedure designed to simplify and speed up cross-border claims of up to €2000.

and that gets to:


I have claimed from small claims in the Uk for a virgin flight over 3 hour delay which they refused to pay out.

I used the forms you can find on-line and it was fairly easy I think there was something like an £80 fee which I tagged onto what I was claiming back.

I also pursed a claim in Spain from France for travel insurance which I won but didn't get paid out on on a technicality.

Both claims were easy to do with the EU claim form which you may have to Google.

Steve, as this occurred in UK I think that you will have to pursue it there.
If you look at the costs for the small claims court, I think you could be paying about the same amount of money you are finally claiming.
Is there a trade association you could approach in UK?