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Intervention management critical in avoiding rental ‘rip-off’ charges

Vehicle rental is rapidly becoming the corporate mobility preference of choice but intervention management is the key to avoiding unwarranted rental charges.

Tony Donnelly, chief executive, Goodwood Corporate Mobility

The warning comes from Goodwood Rental, which has highlighted how fleets are increasingly switching to flexible short-term hire from long-term leasing but face being massively overcharged for vehicle hire because they failed to pro-actively manage costs and did not question invoice charges, according to the firm.

Tony Donnelly, chief executive of Goodwood Corporate Mobility, parent company of Goodwood Rental, highlighted the recent example reported by The Sunday Times (January 26, 2020) of a person hiring a car from an international rental company and subsequently receiving an unwarranted charge of more than £500 for alleged damaged two months after the vehicle was returned. The hirer, who had prepaid the original car hire charge, contested the additional cost and seven months later, following the paper’s intervention, a full refund of the additional amount was promised.

Donnelly said: “Goodwood Rental has dealt with numerous examples of unwarranted charges being levied on corporate customers by vehicle rental companies.”

Consequently, he advises businesses and fleet decision-makers to impose a pre-event control mechanism driven by fair but robust service level agreements (SLAs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure that such ‘rip-off’ incidents do not occur.

Donnelly said: “At a time when the entire corporate car using community is focusing its attention and preference on short-term rental and leases to eliminate the risk associated with long-term contracts and the attendant early termination charges that arise when a business needs to realign its operations, the practices that beset the rental community need a major rethink if they are to be trusted.

“Intervention management is critical to prevent any chance of unwarranted charges being levied by rental companies on corporate customers.”

He continued: “The key component that keeps Goodwood Rental ahead of the game lies in its profiling process. It’s essential we know and understand a client’s specific method of operating and their use of car and van rental. That way our clients get a sensible tariff that accurately reflects their usage. If their profile alters we provide them with meaningful measurements that are designed to save them time and money in equal measure. Trust and openness are the key to good working relationships.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.