A British driver has been charged more than £9,000 by Enterprise car hire for filling up a vehicle with the wrong kind of fuel. The firm clobbered Toby Gawin for the cost of repairs to a Mazda 3 after he inadvertently filled it up with petrol instead of diesel.
Commenting on the £9,272 bill, Mr Gawin told reporters he had picked up the vehicle from the Durham Enterprise depot. He also noted he hired cars on a fairly regular basis and knew the Mazda ran on diesel. He carried on by saying that as the car came with an empty fuel tank he filled it up with 30 litres.
He said he did not realise he had put petrol in until the car came to a resounding halt two miles later. Mr Gawin gave the vehicle back to Enterprise and assumed his only liability would be the £1,000 excess specified in the terms of the rental agreement.
He explained he thought that was the end of the matter until he checked his bank account and found it had been emptied. A call to the bank revealed Enterprise had cleared the account out in one hit. He contacted Enterprise who told him that a small-print clause in the contract rendered him liable for the full repair cost in the event of mis-fuelling.
After taking the money from his debit-card account, Enterprise sent Mr Gawin a breakdown of the costs. Four new diesel injectors were billed at £3,376 out of a total £8,491 for parts. Other charges were an engineers’ assessment report at £264, £65 for administration and £271 for 14 days loss of hire income.
Mr Gawin told the reporters he knew he was liable to pay something for filling up with the wrong fuel, but complained £9,000 was way too much. He said this liability needed to be made clear on car hire firms’ agreements.