Rental company Avis has hired law firm Ashworth to chase businesses for unpaid rental bills.

Avis has taken on the Harrogate-based company to track down former customers who left the rental agency to pick up the tab following bumps and crashes.

About 30% of the 700 Avis cases that are on Ashworth’s books are business rentals.

According to Ashworth co-founder Mathew Cobley, businesses tend to accept liability when the case is proven and explained in a clear and concise way. Individuals, however, “usually attempt to get out of paying by any means possible”.

“Businesses tend to be fairly compliant and accept that debts needs to be paid. Only about 8% of cases result in us issuing legal proceedings against them,” added Cobley.

“We have an industry-wide reputation for debt recovery. Having worked with Avis in the past, but on a smaller scale, they know the quality of our work and our success rate, hence our appointment.

“Our job is to chase clients who have either failed to pay the excess after an accident, or haven’t had insurance in the first place, not just in the UK but Europe-wide.”

The firm hopes to recover around £1 million over three years.

Cobley added it was impossible to give average times that debts are paid: “The average time varies so much from case to case an average would be meaningless.”

An Avis spokesperson said: “Like any business, Avis takes appropriate steps to recover debts owed to it.

“As a car rental business, some of our debts relate to damage caused to our vehicles by our customers which we are entitled to reclaim as clearly explained in our terms and conditions of rental.”

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