ACFO Ltd, the non-profit making UK organisation representing the interests of businesses which operate cars and vans as part of their normal commercial activities has issued a series of tips for fleet managers on the handling of parking fines.
Launched in conjunction with SAFO Europe which specialises in the provision of outsourced Fines Management and other administrative outsourcing services and technology solutions for Operational Lease, Rental and other large fleet companies, the fines management company says that fines are a hugely emotive issue with “pain points” for fleet managers.
The two organisations’ recommendations include:
• Keep track – retain a record of all in-coming and out-going correspondence in case the authority or private operator claims they have not received a response
• Act quickly – always act immediately, especially within 14 days in order to reduce the parking penalty, if the fine is accepted• Recorded delivery – send all correspondence via recorded delivery to cover the company. If that is not possible send all private operator correspondence via recorded delivery, as unlike local authorities they do not allow a statutory declaration to be made which enables the registered keeper to declare that the correspondence was sent.
• Prioritise – treat fines requiring a response within seven days from posting with absolute urgency
• Be wise – remember closed circuit TV is increasingly used in the industry for both moving traffic and car parks. Do not assume that drivers’ will get away with a contravention just because the warden/police are not around
• Pay or appeal – do not assume that the driver is at fault. Immediately speak to the driver and find out the circumstances, then make a decision to appeal or pay the charge.
Karen Stringer, sales and marketing manager, SAFO Europe, identified key “pain points” for fleet managers as: resource management to handle fines, data updates in relation to drivers and vehicles, keeping up to date with legislation changes, managing costs associated with fines, the storage of documentation relation to fines and associated paperwork and customer service issues.
She added: “Fines can be incredibly emotive. Without good data the whole process will not be right and it can be chaotic. There is not doubt that fines can be a problematic issue for fleets.”