Fleet News

New finance scheme swamped by civil servants

MERCEDES-BENZ Finance-owned contract hire company debis Financial Services has come under fire after it was swamped by inquiries about its Best Choice car scheme operated on behalf of the Civil Service Motoring Association. The finance company was forced to take on five times the original number of staff after potential customers from the CSMA's 320,000 membership jammed debis switchboards.

Best Choice replaced the CSMA's old in-house scheme, through which members bought around 1,500 cars a year through a 50-strong network of preferred dealers. The new scheme offers members a full range of car services including personal contract purchase, new and used vehicle sales and disposals.

The CSMA acknowledged the scheme had experienced a few 'operational problems'. A spokesman said: 'The response was unexpectedly high. debis has responded by increasing its call operators nearly five-fold since the problem was identified and the CSMA is currently holding talks to establish a more attractive pricing structure.'

He said the call centre had started to clear the backlog, sales in July had increased to three times the figure in June and there was a continuing upturn in sales and customer service. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services managing director Neville Evans admitted debis had been overwhelmed by demand but said the teething troubles had been resolved.

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