Car owner, burned by rogue YourDrive renter, gets rapid results from Fair Go

Kliment Dmitriev is a Fair Go fan with some high and unusual praise.

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“It was completely trashed,” Kliment Dmitriev said of his Honda, as he asked TVNZ1’s consumer affairs programme for help. Source: Fair Go

"You guys are better than the Russian mafia. Amazing. Russian mafia cannot solve problems as fast as you did."

The Auckland builder is talking about the rapid turn of events that put just over $5000 in his bank account the night before, less than a week after filming with Fair Go.

"I thought I can actually make some easy money by renting my car through the website YourDrive," he told the TVNZ1 programme.

The car-sharing website launched here five years ago, but announced in early March that it was shutting down.

Kliment had rented out his Honda through the site but the very first rental turned out to be a big mistake – a two-day hire became a month-long search and ended with police recovering the car in a terrible state, days before Christmas.

"It was completely trashed, empty tank of gas, really badly damaged tyres, everything taken out - my stereo, my reversing camera, floor mats, to the point that they even took the ashtray. They cut the seatbelts, they painted the bonnet and they did incredible damage inside."

YourDrive paid to have it towed, covered a petrol fill and a new set of license plates - the old ones were gone too - and promised much more. But it came to nothing.

Kliment was communicating with Oscar Ellison, chief executive and founder of YourDrive.

Recounting the conversations, Kliment says: "'Sincerely, apologies Kliment, we're looking into the file, it slipped through the fingers, people got sick, I picked up the file, I'm working with the insurer, we'll get you sorted' - and here I am, nothing's been done.

"What's 'sorry'? You can't put 'sorry' in a cup."

Kliment persisted, seeking help from Citizens Advice Bureau and filing with the Disputes Tribunal.

The company didn't show up to contest his claim, which was upheld with a $5045 order in his favour.

YourDrive ignored it all, but sprang to life when Fair Go called. 

Oscar Ellison says that it had noticed a fall in bookings over February and that in early March as borders closed, it had seen the writing on the wall.

"I'm not trying to skirt out of responsibility here. I'm just not sure what's happened with the correspondence," he told Fair Go.

"We're going to do our utmost to make it right. We think over the next few months we can pay back all our individual owners," he explains, adding that around 100 owners are owed rental fees, but that Kliment Dmitriev's insurance case must have somehow been lost in the wind up of the firm. 

He's also discovered an additional Disputes Tribunal order against YourDrive, which he says he's also paid up.

YourDrive is no more, but the resolution for Kliment means he'll continue carsharing – with one of his apprentice builders who'll use it for work.