A group of No Deposit Cars customers have called for a police investigation into tax evasion and fraud by the company from where they bought their cars.
In a judicial protest filed in court on Thursday, the 26 clients also asked the court to rescind the hire purchase agreements they had signed with the hire purchase company.
The judicial protest was filed against No Deposit Cars, its parent company Princess Holdings and the company’s owner Christian Borg.
According to the clients, Borg participated in a criminal conspiracy and forced them to pay more than €1,000 in contraventions. They asked for Borg to be investigated by the police for having “promoted, constituted, organised or financed an organisation with a view to commit criminal offences which are punishable by imprisonment for four years or more.”
The clients also claimed that the company issued receipts of just 1c when they would have paid hundreds of euros, indicating that Borg and the company were defrauding the state. Some said they were paying for a car they had not even seen and had not yet driven.
"Nobody can do anything to me because I have very powerful people backing me up," the clients alleged that Borg had told one customer who complained about Borg’s refusal to hand over the car’s logbook.
“If the police stop you, tell them that the car belongs to Christian Borg and they won't do anything to you,” he allegedly said.
The protest, signed by lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Kris Busietta, also called on the court to rescind the contracts which contain a number of clauses that they claimed were illegal and order the payment of damages.
Among the illegalities, they said, was a clause that obliged them to accept that the vehicles they had bought or rented from Borg or his companies would be fitted with a tracking device and be under 24-hour surveillance.
The customers said that they had not known about the tracking devices hidden inside the vehicles which they had only found by coincidence.
On Wednesday, the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) was asked to investigate Borg and his car hire company over reports that it was making customers sign contracts accepting that their car may have a GPS tracking device installed.
PN MP and consumer rights spokesperson Rebekah Borg said she asked the authority to investigate Borg's firm 'immediately' for an alleged breach of consumer protection rights.
The story first emerged when Times of Malta reported that Christian Borg's car hire-purchase firm - No Deposit Cars Malta - makes customers sign contracts accepting that their car may have a GPS tracking device installed.
It says the devices can then be used to track customers if the company suspects they have breached the car purchase agreement.
Some 21 customers have taken the company to court for a range of complaints, including employing unfair terms in its customer contracts.
Borg is facing separate criminal charges for allegedly abducting a man last year.
Information and Data Protection Commissioner Ian Deguara had told Times of Malta that the data tracking clauses in the contract break data protection laws. He said the clauses are “absolutely abnormal... not acceptable... [and] very invasive”.
He said the terms used in the contract run contrary to the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation, an EU law introduced in 2018 designed to safeguard personal data.
Asked by Times of Malta about the practice, the MCCAA had said these terms “may potentially be deemed unfair”.
But when a bitten customer sought help from the authority, he said they told him that although they can attempt to apply pressure on the company, previous attempts to do so have been unsuccessful.