Four out of five fleets claim they are being hit with recharges from rental companies that would have simply been waived or covered by fair wear and tear in the past.
Stone chips and minor scuffs are amongst the most common misdemeanours they’re now being penalised for, according to a Fleet News poll.
While it also revealed vehicles not being returned with the right amount of fuel are also starting to cost them dear.
“A lot of charges are coming through months after the vehicle was off-hired making it almost impossible to investigate properly,” explained Robert Branagan, of the Selwood Group.
“In some cases damage is being charged for that was already marked on the delivery note before we took control of the vehicle, while some rental companies leave vehicles for a week or more after being off-hired before collecting them.”
Another fleet operator, who did not wish to be named, said: “The cost of repairs was previously between £200 and £300, now we’re seeing them rise to as much as £700.
“Too much of a coincidence, when you consider the gap between re-sale prices compared to the residual value calculated at the start of a contract.”
However, despite 80% of respondents to the Fleet News poll claiming they had seen recharges rise, rental companies, including Avis and Hertz, have denied they are targeting fleets.
“We haven’t changed our policies and we always provide standard terms and conditions with every car rental agreement, so our customers are clear about the reasons why there would be an additional charge if one is ever made,” said Grant Capel, director of fleet operations at Thrifty Car and Van Rental.