Fleet managers have called on contract hire and leasing companies not to automatically pay and recharge parking fines incurred by company drivers.

Members of ACFO, the fleet-decision-makers’ organisation, say that availability of technology - text and email - should enable contract hire and leasing companies to immediately notify customers when a Penalty Charge Notice or Parking Charge Notice (in respect of vehicles parked on private land) has been imposed on a driver.

A survey by ACFO in advance of its “Another Fine Mess?” seminar at the Henry Ford College, University Way, Loughborough, discovered that 48% of leasing companies automatically paid the fine and then recharged the cost to fleet customers with 86% adding an administration fee..

However, once a Penalty Charge Notice or Parking Charge Notice has been paid it cannot be appealed.

Amanda Brandon, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association’s legal and policy executive, said that improvements to the current “completely manual” administration process for most leasing companies was being discussed with members.

Newly elected ACFO chairman John Pryor questioned why leasing companies, who receive the fine as the registered keeper of a vehicle, could not use technology to notify clients that a charge had been incurred.

Ms Brandon told the seminar that future best practice could see the recommendation of email notification requiring a response from fleet mangers within 48 hours or fleets being notified of a fine by post and asked to respond within 14 days.