15th May 2014


Berkshire-based Rabbits Vehicle Hire has witnessed a dramatic decline in dubious rentals and unsavoury clientele after publically displaying its state-of-the-art vehicle tracking system.

Managing Director Kevin Rapson, whose company is part of the United Rental Group, firmly believes his decision to openly demonstrate his telematic tracking system – provided by Crewe-based Trak Global Solutions – via a huge computer monitor in his reception has helped in his fight against fraud and theft.

Flying in the face of the normal cloak of secrecy associated with telematic tracking, he believes he is the first vehicle rental company to take this stance and urges others to follow suit.

“We initially installed the monitor to show our live tracking system as a further way of engaging with our clients,” Mr Rapson said, “we felt by actively promoting it, and not hiding Trak’s system away, we were providing our customers with that extra piece of mind. In essence, it was our way of proving that we were always looking out for them.

“However, without question, it has helped prevent any wrongdoing. What do they say about prevention being better than the cure? We’ve lost count the number of times customers have walked in, asked what the monitor is, studied it, realised the implications of driving a vehicle equipped with a tracking unit, and then turned around and walked straight back out again. You have to ask yourself why they would do that if they didn’t have anything to hide or were up to no good?”

“The monitor, particularly being able to see the live tracking of our vehicles, has become something of a talking point, that’s for sure.”

Paying tribute to the precise data each tracking unit provides, Mr Rapson supports he has also witnessed an instant return on investment by not having to make unnecessary insurance claims or having to pay for non-fault repairs.

Dave Turnock, Operations Director for Trak Global Solutions, said: “Being so open about its use of a tracking system is a bold move by Rabbits, especially when you consider that it wasn’t so long ago businesses hid the fact their vehicles were being tracked.

“For any vehicle rental business, reducing costs is absolute paramount and while we cannot have any bearing on the price of fuel etc, a tracking system, if monitored correctly, can successfully fight fraud which clearly has the potential of ensuring huge savings on insurance premiums.”

Trak saved Rabbits claiming for a £5,000 repair after a customer was left stranded after a van with relatively low mileage broke down. On investigating, the vehicle was found to have severely contaminated red diesel. While the customer denied using the untaxed – cheaper – fuel Trak’s data showed he’d covered several hundred miles and while the customer protested his innocence by saying he’d legitimately paid for the fuel used, tracking his precise route lead Mr Rapson to the only fuel station used while the vehicle was being hired and, more importantly, the exact time it had been there. Further enquiries and CCTV footage provided by the garage owners showed the hirer had spent just £10 on diesel, far below the sum needed to cover the amount of miles travelled, leaving the only explanation as he’d used the contaminated fuel.

“All of our vehicles are inspected thoroughly before they’re hired,” Mr Rapson added, “so when red diesel with a thick layer of sediment appeared from the fuel tank we knew something wasn’t right. While the customer protested his innocence, when we showed him our findings he really didn’t have a leg to stand on and paid for the repair, quite literally saving us the decision to either pay thousands for the repair or to make an insurance claim.

“We had another case involving a burnt out clutch on a new vehicle while on hire to a lady. Again, while we all know a vehicle can break down at any time, a burnt out clutch on a nearly new vehicle is practically unheard of. We investigated and the data provided by Trak Global showed the vehicle had been stationary, in a field, for some considerable time and yet the engine had been running. When we confronted the hirer, she freely admitted she’d taken the van off road and got it stuck in mud, clearly burning the clutch out trying to free it. She also confessed she’d allowed a third party to drive it, on both accounts contravening our policy when being hired. On admitting her errors, she reluctantly paid for the repair, saving us the costs of having to do so, and apologised profusely.