Fleet News

Van hire firms in bid to stem rising losses

FLEETS renting light commercial vehicles face tough treatment on end-of-contract wear and tear charges, as van hire firms seek to stem rising losses on their buy-back vehicles. TLS is incurring refurbishment costs of about £400 per vehicle to comply with the conditions laid down by its buy-back agreements, and has warned that it will have to pass this expense on to customers.

Tim Minett, TLS business leader, said: 'For too long we have been prepared to overlook damage to vehicles and have not pursued customers to cover the cost of repairs. It's down to us to make sure recharges are made - but I'm afraid we can no longer try to absorb this sort of costs.'

Damage recharges are a thorny issue for van hire companies because of the nature of LCV work, which frequently involves load-carrying and towing. 'The customer's idea of fair wear and tear differs vastly from that of the dealer who wants vehicles back in near-showroom condition,' said Minett. 'This is an industry-wide problem, with other rental companies in the same position. Add up all the £400s and you're left with a huge total loss across the industry.'

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