Fleets are threatening to find an alternative fuel card company after losing patience with Britain’s biggest provider.
Several weeks after Allstar customers first started having problems accessing account information and driver data, issues still remain.
David Astley told Fleet News that he had been trying to get basic fuel consumption information to help reduce his annual £60,000 fuel bill.
He said: “When I finally got through and asked for help with the MPG report, the operator didn’t know what MPG was.
“On a second call to one of their analysts, I asked when I would be able to use the reporting system only to be told they didn’t have any dates.”
Another Allstar customer, Linda Spooner, who has been with the fuel card company for around 20 years, described the situation as “a shambles”.
She claimed: “Not only does it take forever to get through to anyone on the phone, sending an email asking someone to contact you is a waste of time because they don’t bother.”
FleetCor Technologies bought the Allstar fuel card business from BNP Paribas at the end of 2011 for £194 million.
As part of the acquisition agreement, it has been migrating 30,000 Allstar customers from the Arval system to the FleetCor processing platform during the past two months.
Responding to comments on the Fleet News website, Fleetcor marketing director Jakes de Kock apologised for the ongoing problems caused by the software migration.
“Resolving these inevitable teething problems is our top priority and we have added 40 heads within our customer call centre to cope with the additional traffic and to get service levels to an acceptable level,” he said.
“In no way do we want to encourage our very valued customers to discontinue working with us. We are working as hard as possible to resolve any issues and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Thousands of drivers could be hit with tax bills
Paul Jackson, managing director of TMC, warned that in a worst-case scenario, thousands of drivers could become liable for private fuel benefit because many employers rely on fuel card data to calculate payroll deductions.
Jackson said: “Unless it is 100% clear that an employee has covered 100% of their private fuel costs for the year, the employee is liable for fuel benefit and the employer liable for Class 1A NIC of 13.8% of the benefit amount.
“HMRC is under no obligation to make allowances for your reimbursement process breaking down because your fuel card supplier wasn’t able to invoice you.”
The issues experienced by fleets have been compounded by the announcement from Allstar that customers will have to pay for the privilege of using its services after it introduced a ‘network service fee’.
The move will cost fleets thousands of pounds, with many claiming that the fees have been poorly communicated.
Joanne Johnson, who only signed up to Allstar in August, 2012, said the terms and conditions stated the company had to inform her of any changes.
“The notification was a new ‘T&C’ page inserted in with the December invoice,” she said. “Allstar has confirmed that nothing else was included to flag this change up.”
Allstar defends communication of charge
“Charges were also not mentioned in the ‘Important Account Changes’ pamphlet we received on December 24,” added Johnson. “I am currently looking at changing our cards.”
Allstar said the charge is unavoidable if it is to maintain its network and develop ‘value-added services’ for customers. The size of the fee will depend on fuel usage, but Allstar said it will be no more than 2% of a customer’s overall fuel bill.
The RAC’s business services director David Aldridge said fleet would feel let down by the move to introduce fees at a time when fuel prices are high.
“This news is even more disappointing and ironic as the company is an active supporter of the FairFuelUK Campaign,” he said.
The RAC is developing its own fuel card, which it says won’t carry a transaction fee.