Published on December 7th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
Car Park Operator Ordered To Compensate For Stolen Vehicle
Car parks managers around the country might have a new worry following the Court of Appeal’s oral decision today. In a case involving Euro Rent A Car Sdn Bhd and Sunway Parking Services Sdn Bhd, the courts today confirmed that parking management had to compensate for a car stolen from their lot. It was no small amount either, Sunway Parking Services was ordered to pay out RM117,000 + legal fees and interest to the plaintiffs. Read FMT’s coverage of the case here.
This means that parking lot management around the country may have to beef up security around their premises. In this particular case, CCTV footage showed that a thief had managed to exit the parking lot without a parking ticket by tailgating another vehicle that was leaving just before him.
Euro Rent A Car, argued that Sunway Parking was negligent as they did not take steps to prevent the theft while Sunway Parking argued that they were only responsible for providing the parking space and reasonable precautions were already in place.
Now let’s think about that for a second. Sunway Parking in this case had evidently set up CCTV monitoring in the car park. They had a ticketing system with a barrier. They also had security guards on the premises. The biggest problem here was that the barrier came down too slowly to prevent the stolen car from being driven off the premises. The court did not find any evidence that the parking operators were complicit in the theft.
While we respect the court’s decision, we now have to ask what the practical implications are for parking operators in Malaysia. They can no longer rely on exclusion clauses to evade liability for cars stolen from their lots.
Doubling down on Insurance?
Every single motor car that’s on Malaysian roads today has to be insured to be driven legally. In this case, why couldn’t Euro Rent A Car have just recovered part of their loss from the insurance company? The CCTV footage would have been evidence enough.
Should parking lots now look to getting insurance to protect them should customer cars be stolen from their lots? Given the volume of cars that go through their lots and the varying value of these cars, insurance would be TREMENDOUSLY expensive, and doubtless this cost would be passed down to the consumer.
Ride Sharing and One Way Trips
Go Car and SOCAR both use parking lots to house some of their vehicles. These are cars that can be dropped off by stranger X and driven away by stranger Y. Some of these cars don’t even sport the company livery. With One-way trips on these ride sharing platforms, users can drive the cars off the lots and leave them by the roadside, increasing the complexity of the legal obligations owed to each party.
What About Car Wash personnel or Valets
In Malaysia, basement car parks at malls sometimes house 3rd party car wash providers. What happens if you hand your keys over to an attendant there and the car gets stolen after (with or without the keys)? Does the responsibility of the car now pass to the car wash attendant (it doesn’t right now, by the way), or does it remain with the owner or the parking lot?
Well, at least for now, us regular folk don’t have to worry too much about the legal implications. We can just relax and enjoy a little more protection for our cars while the car park operators worry about what this really means for them. Also, here are some easy tips to prevent having your car stolen.