Fleet News

Businesses calling for charge refund

A BUSINESS campaign group is calling on London’s transport officials to reimburse thousands of motorists who have been charged administration fees by rental and leasing companies after incurring congestion charge fines.

The extra fees are collected by drivers in leased or rented vehicles as the provider of the vehicle pays the fine before claiming the money back from the driver – often with a £25 administration fee for doing so.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is lobbying London Mayor Ken Livingstone to reimburse those drivers, many of whom are small business owners and their members.

An FPB spokesman said: ‘We are not saying that rental and leasing companies should shoulder the burden of the admin charge but instead we want the fine to go directly to the driver so there is no need for an admin fee at all.

‘Transport for London has already pledged to make this process simpler and if this is the case then we believe it has admitted there was a flaw so want it to reimburse drivers for the admin fees that have already been paid.’

Leasing and rental company experts believe it would be impossible for fines to be sent directly to drivers of rental vehicles. Transport officials would first have to contact the rental supplier for the driver’s address, causing extra administration anyway.

John Lewis, director general of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, added: ‘Also, while the names of companies who contract hire cars are often used for the registration of the vehicle the address normally given is that of the leasing company so the fine will be sent to them anyway, which they will then have to pass on so there will always be an admin charge.’

He added: ‘If the congestion charge is paid on time there is no fine. If a fine is incurred you can hardly expect rental companies not to recoup the extra costs that drivers who haven’t paid the charge, have cost them.

‘And the charges to customers for the extra work imposed on rental companies through drivers not paying the charge, either wilfully or accidentally, have not been generally increased for some years. In the light of ever increasing costs that is a situation that may need to be reviewed by rental companies.’

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