Fleet News

Fraud warning over free fuel provision

FLEETS could leave themselves open to fraud if they give up fuel cards when they ditch free fuel provision.

Last week, Arval PHH urged fleets to treat free fuel and the use of fuel cards separately, stressing that the cards play an important role in easing administration and keeping tabs on fuel spending.

A growing number of companies have already given up free fuel provision, or plan to, because the cost of tax on private mileage is often much more than the value of the fuel the drivers are using.

Now, cfc solutions is warning fleets that ditching fuel cards could leave companies vulnerable to fuel abuse. It adds that moving to a receipt-and-reclaim system makes it difficult to administer and also makes tracking fraud difficult.

Jason Francis, managing director of cfc solutions, said: 'The return of fuel abuse is something that we first became aware of about 18 months ago when several customers who had dropped free fuel and fuel cards simultaneously spotted some pretty widespread fuel abuse happening.

'We have since seen a number of them move back into fuel cards to solve the problem and it has worked well. Our concern is that the steady number of fleets who continue to move out of free fuel seem to fall straight into this trap of dropping fuel cards at the same time.'

Francis said the most common pay-and-reclaim abuses seen involved drivers filling up their partners' cars at company expense, or adding items such as newspapers and sweets to fuel claims.

He said: 'Pay-and-reclaim is a very uncontrolled and unwieldy way of handling company fuel. The number of receipts that are processed make it unlikely that abuse will be stopped unless fleet departments log, in detail, the contents of every one that they handle.

'When even a small fleet produces hundreds of receipts a month, this is unlikely. They may not spot the diesel car driver who fills up their partner's unleaded petrol supermini every fortnight.'

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