We have all been there - signed an agreement or simply ticked a box saying we have read its terms and conditions when, really, we have not. But what are the implications for a claim if it cannot be proved that the terms and conditions of a credit hire agreement were not accessible and read by the hirer? The case of Ferullo v Hunt Trucks Ltd helps to answer this question.

The importance of Terms and Condition in Credit Hire actions

First it is necessary to understand why a hirer needs to have sight of the terms and conditions in these matters. Credit hire agreements tend to be entered into when a person has been involved in a road traffic accident which was caused by another driver. Terms and conditions form the basis of the relationship between the hirer and the hire provider.  The hirer should be aware of what they are signing up to. If it cannot be shown that appropriate terms and conditions formed part of the contract that the hirer entered into - and that the hirer did not know about those terms and conditions - it could render the agreement between the hirer and the hire provider unenforceable, and the hire costs unrecoverable from the other driver or their insurer. 

Ferullo v Hunt Trucks Ltd 2021

This is an unreported case heard by the County Court in England in 2021. The defendant had admitted liability for the accident and the only argument was over the level of hire costs the claimant was looking to recover.

The claimant provided the court and defendant with documentation relating to the credit hire agreement but did not produce anything which showed that the necessary terms and conditions which render a credit hire agreement enforceable had been agreed. Although there was reference to the terms and conditions in other documents through various 'click here' hyperlinks, the terms and conditions themselves were not available. Crucially, the claimant (the hirer) was unable to remember whether he had access to or read the terms and conditions in the first place. Without an enforceable agreement, the hire provider would not be able to recover its costs from the hirer. Given the claimant had no obligation to pay the cost of hire to the hire provider, in turn, there was no basis for him to seek to recover the cost from the defendant.

Why is this an issue?

The decision in Ferullo v Hunt Trucks Ltd illustrates that a claimant seeking to recover the cost of being provided with a replacement vehicle under a credit hire agreement requires to evidence that they had sight of the terms and conditions during the period of hire.  Without that, the costs of providing a hire vehicle may be unrecoverable.  


Laura McMillan

Partner & Director of Advocacy

Orla White

Trainee Solicitor