The Insider: Things I hate to hear
I’ve been in fleet a long time now so for a change, I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve really hated hearing over the years. All of them actually happened, for different employers. Many of them were avoidable, providing valuable lessons for me and the driver.
‘Why should I pay the insurance excess – I was only there for work so the accident wouldn’t have happened otherwise.’
‘Company car tax is so high’ – I think they were paying about £120 a month but didn’t figure that if they had taken the allowance they would have handed over at least £220 monthly to HMRC.
‘I’ve done something really silly’ – a drink drive charge.
‘You did put my car on the congestion charge autopay system before I drove into the zone all last week, didn’t you?’ Am I telepathic?
‘It’s only a little bump….’
‘HR here – we have a new starter joining us tomorrow. What cars do you have lying around?’
Any weather forecast with the word “snow” in it, or “ice”, unless it’s immediately followed by “cream”.
‘It’s the lease company here. Your employee’s car is uneconomic to repair so we are taking it back from you now. His personal stuff is at the garage. Please ask him to collect it.’
‘Mr F’s car is ready for delivery,’ immediately followed by a second phone call from a second and unrelated source telling me the same thing. I ordered a car through our normal channels; the driver ordered the same thing from his broker friend. He and the broker subsequently fell out.
‘My car has been stolen.’ It was a four year old high-mileage diesel Ford Escort estate, for goodness’ sake. There’s no accounting for taste.
‘I can’t find the spare wheel.’ It was in the usual place in the boot, under the false floor.
‘I’ve lost the key to my husband’s company car and he is away for a week.’ OK, use the spare key we gave you. ‘Well we lost that three months ago but we never quite got around to replacing it.’
‘Our company credit has run out on the toll crossing and I have no cash or cards with me.’
‘I have filled up with fuel and my company fuel card has been refused – and I have no cash or cards with me. And they won’t allow us to use details of yours over the phone.’
‘We have arrested your driver following the accident as they had a bald rear tyre.’
‘I didn’t think the water was that deep.’
‘My sat nav told me to go that way.’
‘The handbrake failed.’
‘The 2.0-litre car which your driver ordered seven months ago and which has just been registered for delivery is actually a 1.6.’
HR again. ‘We’ve terminated so-and-so’s employment so you can have her car back. Unfortunately she has hidden it, and we don’t have her current address either.’ Note – reporting the car as stolen doesn’t wash with the police; she gave it back the day the MOT expired.
‘Unfortunately we are refusing to service your employee’s car as their dogs appear to have been living in it and have completely chewed up the back seats. It stinks.’
‘The engine has stopped and I don’t know what to do. I had a funny red light flashing on the dashboard for the last week.’ The car was out of oil. The driver paid for the resulting new engine, in instalments.
‘Your director’s new Audi which you waited for for six months has arrived alongside at the port of entry. Unfortunately it then fell into the water.’
The chairman on delivery of his new BMW: ‘My wife doesn’t like the colour, I don’t want it.’
‘My new car has turned up as an automatic.’ Yes, that’s what EGC means. ‘Oh, the dealer just said it was lower CO2. I’ve never driven an automatic.’
‘The car I ordered as a hatchback with a spoiler has just turned up as a saloon with a spoiler. It looks really stupid.’ It did, too.
‘Your employee has written off our hire car in an accident. She didn’t take the full CDW so we are charging you 12,000 euros.’ This was in Germany; and they didn’t.
Experience, good and bad, still teaches you the most. At least a job in fleet isn’t boring.