Queensland Parliament has been told that a man operating Australian 4WD Hire, Vitali Roesch, had been ripping off tourists in an “unscrupulous, unfair, fraudulent” scam.
LNP member for Clearfield, Tim Nicholls, is quoted in a story published by the ABC as saying the scam “involved the company unreasonably charging clients when the vehicles broke down and threatening them with legal action if they did not pay up.” The company denies any wrongdoing.

The company’s former director, Mr Roesch, who is now the fleet manager, said the drivers who have complained were negligent and should have read the fine print in their contracts first. He said the company had serviced 9,000 customers in the past five years and 99 per cent were happy.

According to the ABC however, many customers  — some of whom are now being sued — believe they were the victims of a fraud, designed at the very least to take their security bond, often as much as $5,000. Others faced much higher costs the report adds.
“At least 10 cases have been lodged in the Magistrates Court in the past two years, with some clients settling and others vowing to fight.
The report highlights two examples – Tasmanian couple Stuart Edwards and Janetta Welinska are being sued for more than $54,300 after the Landcruiser they hired became bogged, then suffered water damage. In Melbourne, racing car driver Gavin Bullas is fighting a claim for more than $33,000.”
According to the ABC, Mr Roesch said the company instituted court action only when individuals refused to pay for damage, but admitted most would settle beforehand.
He said he welcomed any investigation. “If it’s mechanical breakdown we don’t even charge people for that but … we are talking here in these specific cases gross misuse of vehicles and negligence, that’s why you end up in trouble,” he said.

Edited by Ian McIntosh