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GRACE ON THE CASE: Who is responsible for paying for damage to my wall?


In October a car drove into my garden wall, demolishing a section. I eventually found out the car responsible was actually knocked into my wall by another coming out of a side street.

The cost of repairs is about £400. After tiresome research and many phone calls and emails, I found the name of the driver who hit my wall, his car registration plate and his insurance company.

I contacted him, then his insurers, the AA. The AA insist he is not responsible for the damage to my wall and that I must claim against the driver of the car who pushed him into the wall.

However, the AA won’t give me the name or number of the other driver. Who is responsible in this situation and how do I get the money for repairs? R.D., via email

One property owner had a car crash into a wall after it was smashed into by another car (stock image)

Grace Gausden, consumer expert at This is Money, replies: You found yourself hitting a brick wall when trying to find out who was responsible for damaging your property.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t a simple case of contacting the driver who crashed into your wall as that driver was also crashed into by another motorist, creating a confusing chain of events.

The accident happened outside a flat you own, not your main residence, and so you didn’t see the incident but were informed after a police incident was raised.

It took you quite some time to track down the name of the driver who crashed into your wall and their insurance details.

You contacted him, then his insurers, the AA. The insurer said their client is not responsible for the damage to your wall and you need to make a claim against the driver of the car who pushed him into the wall.

It said this is due to the principle of subrogation which enables an insurer to step into the shoes of its customer and enforce the customers rights against a third party who is responsible for the loss. 

In this scenario, it means the third party insurer is responsible for paying out, not the AA.  

The AA said it was the third party who would be responsible for paying any repairs to the wall

The AA said it was the third party who would be responsible for paying any repairs to the wall

The problem was you didn’t have the name of the driver or his insurer and the AA wouldn’t give you this information leaving you in a tight spot. 

You didn’t want to claim on your house insurance as you believed it would raise your premiums next year.

It became so convoluted that you considered taking the driver who hit your wall to the Small Claims Court.

However, this should always be a last resort as the process can be time consuming, stressful and costly.  

GRACE ON THE CASE 

Our weekly column sees This is Money consumer expert Grace Gausden tackles reader problems and shines the light on companies doing both good and bad.

Want her to investigate a problem, or do you want to praise a firm for going that extra mile? Get in touch:

grace.gausden@thisismoney.co.uk

I contacted the AA to find out why it hadn’t given you the details of the third driver in the situation, especially if it was putting the blame firmly on them. 

The AA said it is unsure why the third party details were not passed on to you when you initially asked for them and it apologised for this.

A spokesman for the AA said: ‘We apologise for the delay in providing the third party details to the customer.

‘In any claim, the party which caused damage holds ultimate liability regardless of the number of claimants involved. Therefore, the costs in this scenario lie with the vehicle which instigated the collision.’

After I spoke to them, it contacted you to give you the name and contact details of the other driver involved as well as his insurance company.

It added with any motor claim, liability for who should pay the costs of the damages would be with the negligent parties insurers.

In this case, the root cause of the incident was due to the third party vehicle pulling from a side road, so therefore their insurance company would be responsible for its costs and yours.

You then contacted the third party insurer which promptly sent you a cheque for £360, the cost of the repairs.

The wall can now be repaired and the incident is closed. It’s just a shame you’ve been driven around the bend for it to be sorted. 

One Wish consumer ordered a faux fur coat that never arrived and she never got a refund

One Wish consumer ordered a faux fur coat that never arrived and she never got a refund

Hit and miss: This week’s naughty and nice list

Each week, I look at some of the companies that have fallen short of expected standards as well as those that have gone that extra mile for customers.

Miss: This week, one reader, who does not wish to be named, reported her trouble with online firm, Wish.

She said: ‘I ordered a faux fur coat from Wish.com on 20 October last year and paid £63.32, which was debited from my account.

‘The expected delivery date was 14 November. It didn’t arrive but I thought it was running late because of Covid and Brexit.

‘In December, I checked the status of the delivery and discovered that on 18 November, Wish had cancelled the order but not informed me.

‘I asked for the money back through customer services and they say it is too late to get a refund because there is a 30-day return window.

‘I have tried to contact them six times by email but get the same automatic reply.’

This certainly did not make any sense so I contacted Wish to get an explanation.

A Wish spokesperson said: ‘We have looked into the customer order and unfortunately a logistical issue caused the order to be cancelled after the merchant had marked it as shipped. 

‘In the majority of cases, a customer would automatically receive an immediate refund.

‘However, on this occasion, due to an error in communication this did not happen. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and are happy to confirm a full refund has been credited to the card used for payment.’

You might wish you had never dealt with the firm but at least you now have a refund.

Hit: In better news, one reader, Malcolm, said this week he had received excellent service from Garmin.

He said: ‘My Garmin forerunner 935 watch was around three years old. The optical heart rate sensor was deteriorating, the exterior of the sensor was crazing and cracking.

‘I decided to talk to Garmin to see what the cost would be to have the sensor repaired, after all the watch when new was over £400 and is still very functional.

‘The representative mentioned they had a batch where it was a problem and even though the warranty had expired they would replace the watch with a refurbished unit.

‘Within 10 minutes I had a returns number, I duly sent it off and received emails to say it had been received and when they sent out the replacement.

‘All it cost me was the price to send it to Garmin. The total turnaround time was two weeks.

‘Excellent service from Garmin and from my experience they are going beyond the call of duty to look after their customers.’ 

It’s good to hear of a customer service experience which doesn’t get the heartbeat monitor racing. 

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.



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