Courtesy Car: The Importance of a Clear Agreement With the Client

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Me Rose Morissette is a Lawyer at Jurisolutions Champlain in Quebec City and focuses her practice on civil litigation. Photo Rose Morissette

Lending a courtesy car to a customer while their vehicle is being repaired is based on an agreement that must be clarified to protect the rights of all parties.

A collision shop that provides a customer with a courtesy car must act in a way that eliminates the potential for conflict and irritation for both parties.

The shop must have a clear, detailed and complete contract that must be signed by the customer at the time the courtesy vehicle is delivered. This vehicle, owned by the collision shop, must obviously be covered by appropriate insurance.

The shop must also offer its customer a clean vehicle in good mechanical condition. The question of what type of vehicle to offer the customer is directly related to the availability of vehicles in the shop’s fleet. In this regard, the customer must be realistic and understand that this is a temporary and accommodating solution and that it would be unreasonable to demand a luxury car when entrusting a sub-compact car for repair.

The importance of the contract

It is important for the shop to do its homework before handing over the keys of the courtesy car to its customer. The most important piece is the contract.

Taking an hour to ensure that this legal document is up to date is an excellent investment. The Corporation des carrossiers professionnels du Québec (CCPQ) has a contract template that can be customized for your business.

This contract must indicate essential considerations such as the return date, the user’s responsibilities and the rights and obligations of each party, particularly in the event of a breach of contract. For example, if the customer accumulates toll charges or traffic tickets, it should be stipulated in the contract that he will be responsible for paying them.

Furthermore, it is important that the contract clearly states to the client that in the event of damage to the vehicle, he will have to notify the shop and entrust it with the repair work, for example, the shop thus ensuring the quality of the work done on his vehicle.

Moreover, before entrusting the vehicle to a customer, the shop or a member of its team should take the time to inspect the vehicle with the customer. Just as a rental agency does, every damage to the car, no matter how minor, should be noted and the customer should sign the report. I also recommend adding photos of the vehicle to the file before it leaves.

It is also a good idea for the collision shop to keep a record of the vehicles in their fleet. This allows the shop to know exactly who was entrusted with which vehicle, on which date and for how long. In the event of a dispute, this information will be of the utmost importance.

All these steps may seem tedious, but they allow to clearly define the rights and obligations of each party, repairer and customer, and to protect against any possible dispute. In this regard, it is prudent to remember that each situation is unique and that in case of doubt, you should not hesitate to consult a lawyer.



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