Man sues Qantas after rats chew wiring of his car

Qantas is facing a lawsuit after one of the airline's Platinum customers claims rats chewed through the wiring of his Aston Martin.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Ian Lock, a liquidator from Adelaide, says he dropped off his brand new Aston Martin at Qantas Valet parking on 16 August, but when he picked it up the next day, he found that rats had chewed through the wiring.

Mr Lock filed a lawsuit in the Magistrate's Court after nothing came of contacting Qantas about the incident. He told BusinessDay: 'I complained to Qantas, expecting an explanation, apology or offer of compensation.'

Mr Locke said that as a Platinum One Frequent Flyer with the airline, he had 'expected a modicum of courtesy.'

'However, after nearly three months without a single word from Qantas, despite numerous emails and telephone calls by me, I issued a small claim in the Magistrates Court.'

Qantas responded with a letter from its lawyers Ashurst.

'(They are) threatening me with indemnity costs if I didn't withdraw my claim forthwith, saying that otherwise Qantas had no option but to pursue the matter to judgment,' said Mr Lock.

'The irony is that I take about 30 domestic flights and four overseas flights each year, nearly all business. Since the rat incident both my wife and I have travelled exclusively with Virgin – 12 domestic trips and three overseas trips booked, in three months, all business class.'

Mr Lock filed his claim in the South Australian Magistrates Court on 22 October claiming negligence, breach of contract and breach of duty and care.

According to the claim, the damage to the wiring on the engine harness appeared to have been made by 'a rat or rats'.

Mr Locke's mechanic advised that the cost of a new engine harness would be $9,297 (£6,113).

Qantas told BusinessDay that while it understood Mr Locke's frustration at what happened to his car, there was nothing to suggest this occurred while it was parked with the airline.

A spokesman said: 'Naturally we take the fact people leave their cars with us seriously, so we had an independent pest expert do a thorough investigation and they found no evidence of rats in the area.

'We've never had an issue like this out of the thousands of cars that use our valet service in Adelaide every year. The most likely explanation was that the rats had entered the car somewhere else.'

In June last year, Qantas was forced to ground one of its passenger jets after rats were found on board.

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