Trimble MRM campaigns for "customer charter" for telematics firms
The company says that tracking firm Minorplanet may have narrowly avoided a winding-up order from HMRC for debts of £2 million, however its troubles highlight the confidence crisis that is facing the tracking industry in its present form.
As such, Trimble MRM is calling for a "customer charter" to restore faith in the industry.
Poor financial models and the use of third-party leasing is proving disastrous for many telematics suppliers, forcing them into financial ruin and leaving customers stranded.
'The news that Minorplanet is in severe financial difficulty is a huge concern for the industry,' said Andrew Yeoman, MD of Trimble MRM Europe. 'The vehicle tracking sector is already fighting a damaged reputation from the number of suppliers which went bust last year.
'Now that the economy is turning a corner and customers are spending again, it is crucial they feel confident in their contracts and have faith in the industry as a whole.'
New accountancy rules coming into place in 2011 mean vehicle tracking customers will be better protected when signing contracts with service providers. All suppliers will be forced to spread the income from contracts for the length of the deal instead of spending it all upfront and risking financial instability.
But Trimble MRM says it wants to further enforce this safer buyer environment with a charter that agrees in principle how suppliers should operate and what customers can expect from their contracts.
Recent research by Trimble MRM found that 74% of fleet managers were in favour of such a charter.
'We need to win back confidence in customers,' said Yeoman. 'Tracking is a fantastic tool for businesses and should not be overshadowed by individual incidents.
'We all want the industry to thrive and to keep customer confidence high. For our part we have set up a helpline for anyone worried about their contract and will offer a special deal for those wanting to move.'