Car hire company Avis has asked Harrogate-based legal firm Ashworth to take responsibility for pursuing debts incurred by customers who have not paid out following an accident. Most commonly this involves those refusing to pay the excess following damage to a vehicle whilst under contract, or those who never took out insurance in the first place before having an accident.

According to co-founder of the legal firm, Matthew Cobley, Ashworth was awarded the contract because it had done work for Avis in the past and the rental firm had been impressed with its success rate. Ashworth will now pursue outstanding debts in the UK and across the rest of Europe.

Cobley said businesses were often much easier to deal with than private individuals. He explained that corporations were usually much more prepared to pay out after an accident once it had been proven that the vehicle was under contract to the firm at the time. Unfortunately, when it comes to individuals, Cobley went on, they will fight by whatever means possible to get out of paying their bill.

Of the 700 cases currently on Ashworth’s books, around 30 per cent relate to businesses; the rest are outstanding cases relating to individual private clients. When asked to describe the firm’s success rate in terms of a percentage, Cobley said it was impossible to do so owing to the differing nature of every case.

An Avis spokesman said being a rental business meant that customers’ sometimes caused damage to vehicles. He added that under the terms and conditions of its contracts, Avis was entitled to pursue payment for this damage, where appropriate.