“I was supposed to see an account manager every three months for a review,” says O’Hara. “Appointments would be arranged but then they wouldn’t show up or I would be chasing them to make an appointment.”
She decided to switch to ING as she was already in talks with the company about its risk management package.
“I looked at how its operation worked,” she says. “It was a small service team and I felt we would get a better service.
We also got a competitive deal because we gave it most of the fleet management.”
The vehicles were transferred to ING fairly easily; the biggest issue was missing service history.
“We did manage to get the documents from the previous provider, but it would have been easier if they’d transferred them when they transferred the vehicles,” O’Hara says.
As the vehicles are on finance lease (it was only the management that was being transferred), O’Hara had no issues with end-of-contract damage charges.
Smooth transition to Alphabet
Since O’Hara switched, Alphabet has acquired ING.
It has been a “smooth transition”, according to O’Hara. She has retained her account manager from ING and there have been no contractual issues.
Case study ECG facilities Services
The behaviour of ECG’s previous leasing provider “left a sour taste in the mouth”, according to Tim Muir, planning and resource manager at ECG.
The company was stung by high end-of-contract damage charges, both before switching to a new provider and after telling its old provider it was moving.
“What it demanded was ridiculous,” says Muir.
“Our provider seemed to have a different interpretation of the BVRLA fair wear and tear guide to everyone else.”
ECG’s new provider, Fleet Alliance, challenged the charges on ECG’s behalf. It got about 70% of the charges reduced.
One charge for £1,600 was reduced to £160, while an £800 charge was dropped completely.
“It was just a money-making exercise,” Muir says. “It’s a poor way to conduct business.”
Agreeing when the vehicles would be returned was also an issue. Most of them were due to be returned at the end of March 2011, but Muir wanted a few more weeks to tie in with new vehicles being delivered.
“It didn’t want to do that, it wanted all of the vehicles on March 31,” he says. “I said: ‘So you’re going to bring 11 trailers here in one day?’ It was just trying to be difficult because it had lost the contract.”
Eventually it was agreed the vehicles would be returned over six weeks with ECG paying an additional fee for those vehicles that were kept beyond March 31.
But when it came to the inspection stage another problem arose.
“They sent a company to inspect all of the vehicles,” Muir says.
“It should just have inspected the vehicles that were ready to be returned, but it wanted to see all of them and some were out on the road that day with the drivers.”
It ended up being a three-month process to return the majority of the fleet.
Muir says Fleet Alliance was “a great help”. He was able to pass the inspection reports to its customer service team to challenge the charges, and also had regular updates about when the new vehicles would be delivered.
This information ensured departments at ECG could plan the driver’s work.
Drivers were given a half-day vehicle induction, explaining how to look after the vehicles and the procedures for reporting damage, as well as how to record vehicle condition and mileage on a monthly basis using Fleet Alliance’s e-fleet system.
Muir adds that things are “altogether better now”.