It has been reported that A1 National Car and Van Rental Ltd is under investigation due to claims that they are failing to return customer’s deposits. The company offers van, car and minibus rentals to customers for low prices with the promise to pick up and drop off the vehicles for free. However, it was revealed on the BBC Radio 4 programme You and Yours that the Leicester based company is now under investigations by trading standards.
Customers are complaining that hiring commercial vehicles from A1 ultimately ends up costing more than they thought possible due to the fact that the company has been failing to return deposits even when the vehicle is returned on time and undamaged. One customer from Birmingham has claimed that the company agreed to repay his deposit of £250, however he still has not received any monies. Trading standards officers have also claimed that some customers have had unspecified amounts taken from their accounts weeks or months after the vehicles have been returned.
There have already been over three hundred complaints against the company, not only for failing to return deposits, but also for charging penalty fees for late returns that have been dubbed ‘excessive’. Furthermore, customers have complained that the company has been cancelling arrangements at the last minute, yet impose charges on customers who have tried to do the same. Some customers have been lucky enough to receive refunds, but this is only if they paid via credit or debit card.
An A1 spokesman claimed that in the last year the company lost over half a million pounds due to customers damaging vehicles, and yet another half a million due to fraud. However, Keith Regan from Leicester trading standards has gone ahead with seeking a court order against A1 after the company failed to return deposits on time and amend their website. Regan has stated “At the end of the day it’s simple. You return people’s money when you said you would and you start to trade fairly”.