A Leading UK van rental company has come under the microscope of Trading Standards Officers, and according to a BBC Radio programme the company look sure to end up in court after dozens of customers complained about charges surrounding their rental agreement.
A1 National Car and Van Rental Ltd offers vans, cars and minibuses for hire all over the UK and aggressive advertising campaigns coupled with a competitive pricing system which offers customers a free pick up and drop off has seen the company become a major player in the rental business. However, Trading Standards Officers in Leicestershire are looking to get a court order placed on the company after 300 customers have complained about their treatment. Complaints centre around deposits not returned but the Trading Officers say they are also concerned about what they described as excessive penalties for vans brought back late. They have also expressed concerns about terms and conditions which allow the company to cancel a booking, yet impose charges on consumers who try to do the same.
Trading Standards Officer, Mike Regan, told BBC journalists “Mr Kumar (A1’s sole director) signed an undertaking and agreed to amend some of these specific unfair trading practices, making sure he returns deposits on time and that the website would be amended. That did not happen so we are now actively seeking a court order.”
A spokesman for the company said A1 National Van Hire had lost over half a million pounds due to customers damaging vehicles and a further £600,000 on a van insurance fraud; but that did not impress customer Mike Worral who is still waiting for the return of his £250 deposit. He said: “The company has not returned the deposit; even though they said on the telephone I was due the full deposit back. I feel rather angry a company like this can treat people in the way that they have done, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.”