Charging hundreds of pounds to 'repair' damage and then selling the vehicle untouched can make the difference between an overall loss and profit on a contract for some firms. But Mark O'Callaghan, operations director of Associates Fleet Services, attacked 'unscrupulous' companies for damaging the industry's reputation.
He said: 'We are completely fair when it comes to the assessment of damage recharges, but some firms are starting to use recharges as a way of clawing back cash. They look to recharges as a way to offset losses when faced with the cost of bringing vehicles up to scratch before disposal.' Associates says its record is a clear example of fair practice, with just 96 out of 4,000 vehicles needing end of contract charges, averaging £6.06.