17 June 2016

Activa contracts takes the hassle out of end-of-contract vehicle damage charges with new app

Activa Contracts is continuing its focus on bringing greater transparency to the often contentious issue of damage charges on company cars and vans with the launch of what it believes to be an industry-leading app.

Launch of the app, which has been welcomed by customers who have piloted it, follows Activa Contracts becoming one of the first contract hire and leasing companies to publish its own end-of-contract vehicle wear and tear guide.

The app has two distinct uses:

  • A few weeks before a company car or van is due to be returned to Activa Contracts, fleet decision-makers or drivers can take photos of the vehicle and any damage and forward them to the company. Advice will then be provided as to whether or not the damage is within guidelines or a charge will be made. Fleets can then decide whether or not to repair the vehicle prior to its return.
  • When an employee is not available to sign for a newly delivered daily rental vehicle, time-stamped photos can be taken and emailed to Activa Contracts identifying any damage that may already be present in the event of a subsequent query arising.

In each scenario, app users are able to attach their own comments to the photographs asking Activa Contracts for feedback. All images are also stored in the smartphone gallery for future download.

Ipswich-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (UK) Ltd (MSC UK), which has a fleet of some 100 company cars and five vans, is an Activa Contracts’ customer that took part in the pre-launch trial.

Mark Hastings, HR systems and payroll specialist with fleet responsibility at MSC UK, the UK agent for MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, one of the world’s leading container shipping companies, headquartered in Geneva with 480 offices across 150 countries worldwide, that also offers luxury cruises, said: ‘The app is extremely easy to use and saves a lot of time.’

Previously, Mr Hastings used his own camera to take photos of vehicle damage and having downloaded them submitted them to Activa Contracts via email.

After trialling the app, Mr Hastings said: ‘All of our drivers are now able to use the app, populate information on their company vehicle, take photos of any damage and submit to Activa Contracts direct from the app. That eases the administrative burden significantly.’

Activa Contracts’ Remarketing Manager Martin Hughes said: ‘The app gives our customers further peace of mind.

‘We want drivers to think about looking after their vehicle from day one. However, unfortunately vehicle damage does occur. Nevertheless, we very rarely have a dispute with a customer over the validity or the cost of damage recharges, because our process is so transparent and reasonable.

‘We are more understanding of our customers’ perspectives than many other leasing companies are and the policies and processes that we adopt in dealing with refurbishment costs ensure that we simply do not get into dispute in this area.

‘But we do not want our customers having repairs carried out on damage that may well be within our guidelines. Taking and sending us photos means customers will be able to obtain a definitive answer.

‘Just as Activa Contracts was one of the first leasing companies to publish our own wear and tear guide, we believe the app initiative is potentially an industry first.’

Activa Contracts launched its 10-page ‘Wear and Tear Guide’ late last year, which supplements the long-established British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association’s (BVRLA) ‘Fair, Wear and Tear Guide’ as the basis for deciding whether or not end-of-contract damage charges should be levied.

While Activa Contracts continues to use the BVRLA guide, introduction of its own document provides more clarity on the company’s interpretation of fair wear and tear in respect of some areas of damage.

Mr Hughes said: ‘Our aim is to help fleets keep damage charges to an absolute minimum. If our vehicles are returned in a condition where we never have to make another end of contract charge, we couldn’t be happier.’

Android and iOS smartphone users can download the Activa Contracts’ app from Google Play Store and the App Store.

For further information contact Activa Contracts managing director Ian Hill on 01908 288400.