Today I received the letter in which they folded and slunk back into their dirty hole!
How did I achieve this?
First of all, by being right – period!
Second, by threatening them with some very ugly legal action – read below.
At the time of my last post on this, I had sent them a pretty sarcastic and drastic reply to their idiotic letter that claimed
- that there is “compulsory comprehensive coverage” in Germany,
– that there is BGH (Federal Court of Justice) jurisdiction on it,
– that they are forced to shape their comprehensive coverage on the general orientation of the compulsory comprehensive coverage
– that according to the terms of that I am always liable.
As I pointed out, that’s wrong on several fronts:
- there is no compulsory comprehensive coverage,
– as a result, there is no BGH jurisdiction on it,
– their comprehensive coverage terms specifically refer to Paragraph 10a of the General Terms of Lease, which says I am liable unless I’m not responsible for the damage.
I told this story to several people over the course of the next few days, and unsurprisingly got a lot of “WTF???” reactions. But one thing kept nagging, and the immediate “But there is no compulsory comprehensive coverage!” everybody threw at me made me realize what that nagging thing was:
the rental company had committed a felony!
Section 263 ” Fraud” Subsection 1 of the German criminal code runs thus:
Wer in der Absicht, sich oder einem Dritten einen rechtswidrigen Vermögensvorteil zu verschaffen, das Vermögen eines anderen dadurch beschädigt, daß er durch Vorspiegelung falscher [...] Tatsachen einen Irrtum erregt oder unterhält, wird mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu fünf Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe bestraft.
(Whosoever with the intent of obtaining for himself or a third person an unlawful material benefit damages the property of another by causing or maintaining an error by pretending false facts or by distorting or suppressing true facts shall be liable to imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine.)
Well, that’s EXACTLY what they did! There is no room for assuming an error on part of the rental car company: they must know their own contracts and Terms of Lease, and they totally made up utter nonsense!
OK, I didn’t fall for it, so what’s the harm?
For me – none. But for them! Subsection 2 of Section 263 runs:
(2) The attempt shall be punishable.
OUCH! They attempted fraud, and that is a punishable crime! If I press criminal charges against them, the Public Attorney’s Office must decide if there is sufficient cause to assume a felony was committed. Up to five years in jail…..
How likely is such an outcome? The company would probably claim an oversight, and blame it on a cleric error. However, there’s this:
Section 263, Subsection 3, German Criminal Code:
(3) In especially serious cases the penalty shall be imprisonment from six months to ten years. An especially serious case typically occurs if the offender
2. causes a major financial loss of or acts with the intent of placing a large number of persons in danger of financial loss by the continued commission of offences of fraud;
As this is a big company, there is reason to suspect that they try this with every similar case. And that, I guess, would get the Public Attorney trotting out an investigation, maybe even searching the offices…..
In any case, I wrote a new letter to the company, telling them that I had concluded they committed a felony, and asked that they declare until Aug. 31 that they drop all demands for good. I sent this by registered with reply advice.
Their letter that says they are folding was sent the very same day they received my demand for abnegation! Additionally, I’d told them off for the second time for sending me unwanted advertisements, and they acquiesced on that, too (saying they forwarded the demand). Funny coincidence, hu?
In any case, I’m happy now, and will in the future rent cars from companies with more Hertz (German: heart), or with a sixt(h) sense. Or any other one that is not by name European.