ACCC takes action against Australian 4WD Hire for penalising customers

Public news

Australian 4WD Hire, a Queensland vehicle rental business, has allegedly engaged in unconscionable conduct and unfair contract terms, penalising their customers for using vehicles in what they claim were less than ideal conditions.

Australian 4WD Hire uses GPS trackers in their vehicles to monitor where their customers are driving, a standard practice in the industry. However, according to the ACCC, the company used contracts since 2016 which allowed them to charge customers for driving beyond built-up suburban and residential areas at night, using cars above speed limits and in poor visibility conditions, sometimes withholding $500 from customers’ security deposits for alleged wear and tear. When challenged, the company would allegedly threaten to impose further charges unless the customer agreed to the contract terms.

The ACCC’s Chairman, Rod Sims said that customers were being charged for using the vehicles as intended saying, “These contract terms are unfair because they allow Australian 4WD Hire to charge customers for purported vehicle damage without having to prove any actual damage occurred.”

“We are seeking to have these terms declared unfair by the court so Australian 4WD Hire can’t enforce them against its customers.”

Mr Sims also pointed out the company falsely sold confidence to customers saying, “We allege Australian 4WD Hire gave its customers a false sense of security by representing they would have the benefit of being covered by insurance, in particular for the off-road use of the vehicles, when this was not necessarily the case.”

This outcome is important to you if you hire out vehicles and if you have any queries in relation to the contract terms of hire cars in your business, please contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations team by clicking here or by calling 8291 2000.