BOSS – the British Oil Security Syndicate – has introduced Payment Watch, a scheme to help UK fuel retailers recover losses incurred by ‘no means of payment’ incidents.
During trials and an early launch phase, Payment Watch has enabled retailers to recoup an average of 80 per cent of financial losses resulting from drivers filling up, claiming to be unable to pay, and subsequently failing to return to settle.
A co-ordinated system will give motorists the chance to settle up on site or over the phone within seven days before specialist debt recovery agents take over pursuit of the money. If successfully recovered, the full amount is returned to the retailer.
David Charman, who runs BP-branded Parkfoot Garage in West Malling, Kent, said: “BOSS has come up with a really excellent system for controlling and managing our non-payments. The documentation is professionally prepared and easy to use. This alone tends to make people realise they cannot get away with their clear intention not to pay and there are many occasions where we get payment very quickly without the need to take matters further.”
A BOSS Payment Watch starter pack contains everything needed to manage a scheme and costs £99 plus VAT per site for BOSS members. The scheme is open to all fuel retailers, with BOSS associate membership available for an annual fee. Visit www.bossuk.org.
Meanwhile Thames Valley Police in Slough have set up a scheme to tackle thieves who fill up and drive off from service stations, often using stolen number plates. BOSS Regional Co-ordinator Peter Fender added: “Drive-off incidents cost the UK oil industry about £20m in 2010. By building successful partnerships with local police, fuel retailers and other agencies through initiatives such as the BOSS Forecourt Watch schemes, we are able to deter and prevent crime on service station forecourts. Our aim is to maintain service stations as a safe environment for customers and staff, targeting those people who drive off without paying for their fuel and use service stations as a route to commit more serious crimes.”