In last year’s FN50 supplement, it was estimated that the cost to fleets of damage recharges and excess mileage charges was more than £100 million a year.
Fleets were told then that they were not doing enough to tackle the problem and bring down the costs, but now a fresh warning has been sounded that they could be victim to overcharges, errors and miscalculations in contract hire supplier invoices.
It comes from fleet management company CLM, whose bosses say that over the past three years it has rejected a substantial number of end-of-contract invoices on behalf of its fleet customers.
In 2004, the company received 2,699 such invoices, with 63% being paid immediately and 37% (1,012) being rejected and returned to suppliers for amendment.
In 2005, the company rejected 43% of end-of-contract invoices and last year the figure increased further to 59%.
CLM managing director Tony Hulatt said that up to 70% of the rejected invoices were re-presented to the company for an amended amount and were then paid.
The remainder were written off due to issues such as unresolved queries.
He added: ‘The increasing proportion of invoices being returned under query is a concern and indicates a need for ongoing vigilance from us as fleet managers.’
John Lewis, director general of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) – the trade association for the vehicle rental and leasing industry – said: ‘I’m afraid that having not spoken to all parties concerned and not having a full run-down of the information, it’s just not possible to comment at the moment.’