SINGAPORE: A lady was left devastated upon receiving a bill of S$914 from the car-sharing company GetGo for a flat tyre.
As reported by Singapore media outlet Stomp, the incident was brought to attention on October 4th when the woman shared her situation on the Facebook group GetGo Carsharing Spottings Singapore.
She explained that she had accidentally hit the curb, leading to a flat tyre, probable bursting, and metal scratches.
She posted: “Can anyone guess how much GetGo will charge me for the flat tyre that I had caused? I accidentally hit the kerb and it caused the flat tyre, probably burst, and scratches on the metal.”
She shared a screenshot of the bill in the comments section, revealing a total due of $914.42, adding that she was “heartbroken”.
The bill included a charge of $621.62 for replacement parts, along with an additional $111.11 for “loss of use.”
Responding to fellow group members’ comments, she lamented, “Unfortunately, I cannot argue any more! The bill is final and appeals will not be accepted.”
She added, “I’ll settle the bill and move on.”
In another comment, she shared, “For now, after seeing the invoice, I lose my confidence in driving because a very small incident like this can cost this much.
“I’m so traumatised seeing a GetGo car now.”
In response to the woman’s post, a GetGo spokesperson emphasized that the repair costs associated with the incident went beyond a simple punctured tyre.
“We want to clarify that the repair costs related to this incident go beyond just a punctured tyre.”
“We always strive to help our users get a fair and reasonable rate, and we work closely with our partners to manage and minimise repair costs.”
Netizens stunned by excessive compensation demand
Commenting on the Stomp’s Facebook post, some expressed their astonishment at the exorbitant compensation demand.
While certain comments acknowledged that the lady was responsible for the damage, others pointed out the seemingly excessive and unnecessary nature of the inflated charges.
Some individuals, claiming to be from the vehicle parts sales industry, revealed that even a single tyre would not usually incur such significant costs.
A netizen pointed out that with over S$900, one could purchase an entire new set of tyres for a small car.
An argument highlighted that the lady indeed drove the rented car and hit the curb, causing a scratch on the rim. However, some doubted whether the cost of minor rim rash restoration would truly be significant.
Meanwhile, another netizen defended the company, suggesting that they might have factored in the time taken to send the rim for repairs, adding it to the loss of usage of the vehicle, which affects potential earnings.
The argument was made that it’s not just the repair cost that needs consideration but also the broader investments.
In response, the earlier comment further emphasized that even if the potential loss of earnings, calculated at S$120 per day for 2 days, was included, the total cost should not surpass S$500+.
The netizen said normal pricing for a single tyre replacement typically falls within the range of S$150 to S$180, making the claimed total seem excessive.
Meanwhile, others suggested that while the lady referred to it as a “small accident,” hitting a curb could potentially affect other spare parts, especially suspension components, leading to the inflated repair cost.
However, another user, who identified himself as a seller of vehicle parts, pointed out that a single tyre would not typically amount to such a significant cost.
Additionally, if one were to consider all the associated components, including rims and more, the total price would undoubtedly be higher.
The netizen went on to express suspicion that the lady might be paying an inflated price, including additional costs for the loss of income from the vehicle, workshop insurance commissions, and other inflated costs by the workshop that procures the parts and labour costs.
Others suggested that if the woman were to visit any regular car tyre workshop, they might be able to fix it for a much lower fee, possibly even less than S$300.
Cautions against vehicle rentals
Some comments suggested avoiding renting vehicles as it is deemed “too risky.”
They emphasized that driving can be a stressful experience and recommended considering the use of public transport or opting for an e-hailing ride or taxi for a more peaceful commute.
However, another comment implied that the car rental company might be charging prices above the market rate.
Netizens urge the company for a comprehensive breakdown of charges
Meanwhile, some comments emphasized that for transparency, GetGo should provide a detailed breakdown of the charges. Additionally, wear and tear parts should not be subject to charges.
A suggestion was made that GetGo should itemize a breakdown of the parts and provide the replaced parts to the woman for further clarity.
Calls for enhanced regulation of car rental damage charges
In order to safeguard consumers, a netizen proposed that car rental companies should be subject to regulations regarding how they charge for damages.
There appears to be a lack of transparency, and the netizen suggests that rental cars should fall under a distinct COE category.
Echoing a similar sentiment, another individual suggested that the COE should differentiate between private users and commercial users.
He recommended expanding the commercial user category to include subcategories such as company purchases, car rental companies, shared cars, and ride-hailing services.
Previous instances of GetGo car users facing exorbitant damage charges
Notably, there have been reports of other GetGo car users who were involved in accidents and faced staggering bills.
For instance, in February 2023, a user, who was in a “small accident,” ended up receiving a bill from GetGo amounting to S$4,636.80.
The user’s GetGo car grazed a white Mercedes parked adjacent to their vehicle while exiting a parking lot.”
The user compensated the Mercedes driver a total of $288, which the other party agreed to settle privately.
However, to the user’s astonishment, GetGo demanded payment of S$4,636.80 for damages, leading the user to describe the bill as “absurd beyond belief.”
The car renter wrote, “Be warned if you are renting a GetGo car, or plan to do so! I have heard many horror stories about accident claims from GetGo when involved in a car accident (sic). Until it happens to me, I know it is all real!”
According to Stomp, GetGo at the times defended that all charges associated with accidents are clearly outlined in their terms and conditions and frequently asked questions, and emphasized that they “adhere to the industry practice of collecting the costs of Third-Party Damage Excess in the event of at fault and shared liability cases.”
Furthermore, they highlighted the option for Mutual Settlement in minor accidents, provided that both parties explicitly agree not to make claims against each other’s insurance.
“In the event that our user is not at fault, as determined by the insurer, we may not open the option for Mutual Settlement. Upon submission of proof of private settlement between both parties, the Third-Party Damage Excess cost will be removed from the bill.”
Additionally, they highly recommended that their users consider opting for the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), which can potentially reduce Third-Party Damage Excess costs by 50% in the event of an accident.
Another GetGo car user who rented from the company on 28 June 28 2022, was taken aback when he received a bill of S$5,589.79 following an accident involving a motorcycle.
Although the user had followed GetGo’s procedure by reporting the accident to the police, the user was shocked to be presented with such a hefty bill. The repair charge for the bumper alone amounted to S$1,775.50, and the third-party damage was listed at S$3,000.
When the user checked with the motorcyclist regarding her repair bill, it was revealed to be a mere S$130.
He then requested GetGo to provide documentation related to the rental car and third-party claims, they were informed that it was not company policy to furnish such documents.
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