Broken Breaker. A Tale of Tool Hire.

Here's a not-so little story for your amusement...
I rented a Makita HR5211C for a week to help with the knock-through on my kitchen extension. With the wall and the huge concrete lintel duly demolished, I took it back about 15 minutes before the end of the last day of hire (yesterday). They accepted it without looking at it.
Today, the hire company phoned me to say they'd just noticed it had been damaged and looked beyond repair. Could I come and have a look? Off I went and they showed me the damage - a dent in the aluminium panel surrounding the roto-stop control and a bit of plastic casing which looked like it had bowed and come unhooked from its mating half. I was then directed to the boss, who I must now come to "an arrangement" with, despite my protestations that it hadn't been damaged whilst I had it.
The boss explained that the tool, dispite still working, was now scrap since it was uneconomic to repair and certain to fail a test vital to allowing it out on hire (PAT presumably). I would have to pay for a new one but, luckily for me, I would only have to pay 485 quid, since he could get them cheap. I offered to buy the "broken" tool from them for 200 quid since I could do with a decent breaker and I didn't care about the "damage". This met with laughter. The tool was "only six months old" and only a brand new replacement would compensate them for the fact that it was now a total loss.
There followed a discussion about what my options were. The boss urged me to make a claim on my house insurance. I elected instead to refuse to pay, which would result in the dispute being escalated to "the directors". The boss warned me that "the directors" weren't likely to be as understanding as him and they would probably come after me for the full list price which he helpfully looked up - 1200 quid. If I still refused to pay, it would go to court and "we always win".
The tool was quite gnarly and I was a little sceptical about it being only six months old, so I asked to see it again to take the model and serial numbers. When I commented that the serial number started with "2008" the boss, quick as a flash, said "That's the date of the design". I bade him farewell and left.
Back home, I rang the Makita service department who were very helpful. They confirmed that 2008 was the date of manufacture and that, from my description of the damage, the tool would be quick and cheap to repair. I passed this info on to the boss at the hire firm who responded that the tool had been bought as "pallet stock" but was still effectively new six months ago. He did seem much more accommodating though and said he would take it to Makita and show me their repair price before authorising a payment.
All in all, I've come to the conclusion that these people won't be my first choice next time I want to hire something...
Cheers,
Colin.
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On 25/06/2013 21:19, Colin Stamp wrote:

You have convinced me that I shall always photograph the tool at start and end of any hire. (With something like a TV broadcast in the background!)
If it proves to be as you suggest, then it is out and out fraud, attempting to obtain money by deception or whatever.
--
Rod

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On 25/06/2013 21:25, polygonum wrote:

Yes, and a photo of the "serial number" plate too in case they were less cooperative.
Well done, and thanks for the post.
Was this a "big name" hire place or just someone local? If the former, I definitely think you should have the courage to "name and shame" for the benefit of the rest of us. Probably one for trading standards too: who knows how many people they have successfully intimidated.
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On Tuesday 25 June 2013 21:25 polygonum wrote in uk.d-i-y:

I'd recommend the OP ring Trading Standards at (probably) his country council. They may or may not be able to help but should this shop's name have come up before, then it might be useful. For the price of a phone call...
I think the OP is doing the right things so far.
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polygonum wrote:

Not UK Gold though.
--
Adam



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On 26/06/2013 17:57, ARW wrote:

OK Dave. :-)
(I was thinking of a news program!)
--
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Colin Stamp wrote:

That's their look-out. It's basic to their trade that tools are checked when returned. The thing stinks.
Bill
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I wonder if it's even the same tool as the one you hired? I wonder if they thought that this, much older tool, could be replaced by pressurising you; they might even have deliberately not checked the one you returned so that they could try to pull a fast one.
--
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Here's a not-so little story for your amusement...
I rented a Makita HR5211C for a week to help with the knock-through on my kitchen extension. With the wall and the huge concrete lintel duly demolished, I took it back about 15 minutes before the end of the last day of hire (yesterday). They accepted it without looking at it.
Today, the hire company phoned me to say they'd just noticed it had been damaged and looked beyond repair. Could I come and have a look? Off I went and they showed me the damage - a dent in the aluminium panel surrounding the roto-stop control and a bit of plastic casing which looked like it had bowed and come unhooked from its mating half. I was then directed to the boss, who I must now come to "an arrangement" with, despite my protestations that it hadn't been damaged whilst I had it.
The boss explained that the tool, dispite still working, was now scrap since it was uneconomic to repair and certain to fail a test vital to allowing it out on hire (PAT presumably). I would have to pay for a new one but, luckily for me, I would only have to pay 485 quid, since he could get them cheap. I offered to buy the "broken" tool from them for 200 quid since I could do with a decent breaker and I didn't care about the "damage". This met with laughter. The tool was "only six months old" and only a brand new replacement would compensate them for the fact that it was now a total loss.
There followed a discussion about what my options were. The boss urged me to make a claim on my house insurance. I elected instead to refuse to pay, which would result in the dispute being escalated to "the directors". The boss warned me that "the directors" weren't likely to be as understanding as him and they would probably come after me for the full list price which he helpfully looked up - 1200 quid. If I still refused to pay, it would go to court and "we always win".
The tool was quite gnarly and I was a little sceptical about it being only six months old, so I asked to see it again to take the model and serial numbers. When I commented that the serial number started with "2008" the boss, quick as a flash, said "That's the date of the design". I bade him farewell and left.
Back home, I rang the Makita service department who were very helpful. They confirmed that 2008 was the date of manufacture and that, from my description of the damage, the tool would be quick and cheap to repair. I passed this info on to the boss at the hire firm who responded that the tool had been bought as "pallet stock" but was still effectively new six months ago. He did seem much more accommodating though and said he would take it to Makita and show me their repair price before authorising a payment.
All in all, I've come to the conclusion that these people won't be my first choice next time I want to hire something...
Your hire paperwork should detail the tool, serial and other equipment you hired with it at the time, As an ex Makita service engineer for a small tool hire company a few years back the description you give of the damage is easily repairable and indeed could be effected easily. HAE Europe clearly states in its guide notes that the company hiring equipment is responsible for checking it back *in* and issuing a completed hide note to ensure the hire is terminated and that they accept the equipment has been returned by the hirer in good condition less any obvious wear and tear associated with the job the tool was used for, for example blunted tool tips for breaker steels etc.
Tell them to go stuff themselves as the onus is on them to prove it was damaged on return, if you didn't get any offhire paperwork then that's their fault for not complying.
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On 26/06/2013 05:19, Nthkentman wrote:

It certainly should. Standard procedure.

Absolutely. Every time I've hired anything similar they always open the case to check that the chisel & point are there.

Agreed. They don't have a leg to stand on.
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman www.medwayhandyman.co.uk

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Sounds like when you walked in someone there thought you had MUG written on your forehead. Brian
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"Colin Stamp" < snipped-for-privacy@stamp.plus.com> wrote in message
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Works both ways... I have told this tale before...
Standing at the counter of our local motor factor watching someone return a 3 leg hub puller. The customer left and the attendant, for no apparent reason, picked up the puller and threw it down onto the lino covered counter top.
The tang from one of the legs promptly flew off as the temporary (probably Araldite in those days) repair failed.....
--
Tim Lamb

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Thanks for all the replies. To answer some of the points:-
The hire paperwork doesn't have a serial number for the tool, though I don't doubt the one they showed me was the one I'd hired. It certainly looked in a very similar state of general wear. I do have a problem with their assertion that it was damaged on my hire. We don't remember it having any accidents but I suppose a bit of block or something could possibly have fallen on it whilst we weren't using it and we didn't notice.
The situation is a bit more complicated than it might look from my original post. I actually have two hire orders "open" with them at the moment. One for a Genie lift and seven Acrow props, and a later one for the breaker and another six Acrows. All the stuff is now off hire, but I'm still waiting for them to pick up the lift and the Acrows, so neither hire is closed and they still have 200 quid in deposits from me.
When I returned the breaker, they gave me a copy of the despatch note with the Acrows crossed off and "DESPATCH" changed to "RETURNED". They also signed it. I'm guessing the reason they didn't open the box was that they were just about to close. I didn't worry at the time since I didn't know about any damage and I had my bit of signed paper...
I think it's likely that they did first notice the damage after I returned the breaker, but we'll never know if it was already damaged when I picked it up. It's the sort of damage that could easily go unnoticed on a ratty old hire breaker. I'll certainly be a *lot* more critical of the condition of tools I rent in the future!
We'll see how it goes with the Makita bill. If it's reasonable, I'll probably pay. I might still ring trading standards though, just in case they try on the same crap with someone else...
Cheers,
Colin.
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On 26/06/2013 09:49, Colin Stamp wrote:

In that case, they can't prove the damaged one was the one you hired.
Also, the bit about 'pallet stock' is total bollox. I spent years selling stuff to hire shops & they don't buy anything until they absolutely need it - cheap or not.

I would chain the Genie lift down with a substantial padlock and tell them they can't have it back until they return your deposit.

Their problem, not yours.

They should have examined it when you returned it & pointed out the damage then. Tell them to take you to court.

--
Dave - The Medway Handyman www.medwayhandyman.co.uk

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"The Medway Handyman" wrote in message
On 26/06/2013 09:49, Colin Stamp wrote:

In that case, they can't prove the damaged one was the one you hired.
Also, the bit about 'pallet stock' is total bollox. I spent years selling stuff to hire shops & they don't buy anything until they absolutely need it - cheap or not.

I would chain the Genie lift down with a substantial padlock and tell them they can't have it back until they return your deposit.

Their problem, not yours.

They should have examined it when you returned it & pointed out the damage then. Tell them to take you to court.

+1 on what Dave says
They're trying it on because they fucked up.....
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On 26/06/2013 09:58, The Medway Handyman wrote:

That is dangerous, they could quite easily and justifiably add further hire charges, and penalties for late return.
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On 28/06/2013 10:33, Fredxx wrote:

So you tell then to f*ck off.
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Dave - The Medway Handyman www.medwayhandyman.co.uk

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On 28/06/2013 17:46, The Medway Handyman wrote:

So they hang on to his 200 quid.
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Roger
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On 28/06/2013 22:29, Roger Mills wrote:

So he hangs on to their several grand Genie.
--
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If it were me I'd find out who the managing director is and put the case to him in writing. Also I believe they have a trade association and probably like many it exists for the benefit of its members but one might hope that they see cases like this in a differing light and might ask their member to adhere to their rules of practice..
Seems to me the branch manager is either on the make or fiddle somewhere..
I've not hired from that firm but the few I have done so with I've had very good service from. One in Wisbech we had a faulty breaker from not only did they come out in a van with a replacement they were very perfuse with apologies and refunded half the rental charge as compensation not that we were actually inconvenienced that much if at all;!....
--
Tony Sayer


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