Customers of Britain’s biggest fuel card company will have to pay for the privilege of using its services in the future after Allstar introduced a ‘network service fee’.
The move will cost fleets thousands of pounds, but the company has defended the charge by saying it’s unavoidable if it is to maintain its network and continue to invest in the company.
Jakes de Kock, marketing director at Allstar, said: “It’s a small charge, but we’re investing in the business with the aim of saving customers more money in the longer-term and making their job easier.”
The size of the fee will be dependent on a customer’s fuel usage, but Allstar said it will not be more than 2% of their overall fuel bill.
That could leave a 250-strong fleet travelling five million miles a year facing an annual fee of more than £16,000, in addition to a fuel bill of nearly £1 million, for using the Allstar card.
De Kock said: “We accept some customers are not going to be happy and they are obviously welcome to go to another fuel-buying solution, but they need to look at what the impact will be on their business, on their fleet and on their drivers.”
The news has infuriated many fleets, who have been beset with problems with Allstar’s online services over the past few weeks.
Businesses have been unable to access online accounts or download vital data and when they attempted to contact the call centre for help they were faced with long delays as they waited for their calls to be answered.
‘Unable to view fuel data’
One frustrated customer told Fleet News: “I’ve been unable to look at any fuel data for weeks and then when I’ve tried to phone the call centre it’s been 30 minutes or more before somebody’s even answered. It’s a shambles.
“I was already considering changing my fuel card because of this, but now they’re going to charge us for the privilege of using the card it’s made me more determined to change my provider.”
FleetCor Technologies bought the Allstar fuel card business from BNP Paribas in December 2011 for £194m, but was faced with transferring 30,000 customers and 1.1 million cardholders to its own processing platform from the old Arval system.
FleetCor’s Global Fleet Network platform has been developed over the past few years for its global fleet business and is used widely in other markets.
However, De Kock told Fleet News that it had faced problems migrating larger customers to the Global Fleet Network.
He said: “For the majority of customers it’s been quite straightforward, especially for the SME market. But where we still have a problem is with the bespoke reporting of some of the larger customers.
“That is the last piece of the puzzle that our IT department has been working 24/7 to get right.”
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