Terri Wrigley.
Terri Wrigley. The Northern Star

Terri's hire car registration trauma

TERRI Wrigley loved his VN Commodore, so when it was stolen and burnt out in December he was devastated.

As part of his NRMA Insurance policy, Mr Wrigley, 37, of Ballina, was able to hire a car for 21 days, which he did on January 9 this year from Hertz in Ballina.

The next day, Mr Wrigley was pulled over by police because the registration sticker displayed on the vehicle's windscreen was out of date.

Mr Wrigley was told to take the car home or back to the hire company and not drive it again, or he would be charged.

When he contacted Hertz in Lismore, which also runs the Ballina branch, about the car's registration he was told the car was registered but the sticker had not been changed.

Highway patrol Senior Constable Steve Hilder said it was an offence to display an expired label on a vehicle and that the vehicle's owner and driver could be both hit with an $81 fine.

“It is highly unlikely the driver of the hire car would get a ticket, but the onus is on both the driver and the owner of the car to make sure it is registered and roadworthy,” he said. “The problem with hire cars is they go from base to base and the rego papers don't catch up with them, especially if they are interstate cars.”

The Lismore Hertz manager yesterday declined to comment on Mr Wrigley's claims.

However, Mr Wrigley's problems went beyond car hire. He said a change made to his insurance policy while recovering from surgery at Lismore Base Hospital weeks before the theft left him unwittingly liable for a big excess tab on his insurance claim.

Mr Wrigley said he had called the company because his hospitalisation meant he was going to miss a premium payment and that he believed he had negotiated a policy that negated any excess by paying a higher premium.

But the claim for his burnt out car was so far costing him about $1400 - including a $600 excess, a $250 fee on stolen car claims and to catch up on his premiums.

NRMA spokeswoman Emma Garland said not only did company records show Mr Wrigley had to pay an excess for his stolen car, but she had personally heard a clear recording of him agreeing he would have to pay the fee if he made a claim on the policy.

“He accepted the excess and he would have been sent a policy document which would have outlined the excess,” she said.

However, Mr Garland still insists he should not have been charged the excess, saying he feared the stress of the issue could make him ill again.

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