Petrol retailers call for introduction of drivers’ database to tackle forecourt ‘drive-offs’

IPRA wants to introduce measure that will make it much easier for retailers to seek payment for forecourt drive-offs without having to use gardaí resources

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13 April 2015 | 0

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The Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) has written to Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe asking him to introduce a new database measure to deal with forecourt ‘drive-offs’ more effectively.

The industry body which represents more than 500 independent forecourt retailers throughout Ireland, has asked Minister Donohue to make drivers’ information available to the association.

In the event of a motorist driving off without paying for their petrol, the forecourt’s cameras will currently record the vehicle’s motor-plate number. If the proposed database of information was available, forecourt retailers would be able to send a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle asking them for restitution, without having to contact gardaí and use up their time-scarce resources.

The IPRA said: “The drive-off is still a regular feature at our [members’ stations] and despite the best attention of gardaí, this is not a priority for them and we continue to suffer losses.”

The Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) in Great Britain regularly gives out drivers’ information on request from the public or a company for certain uses including, “to help trace keepers of vehicles that drive off without paying for goods/services”. This results in an 80% payment rate in GB.

The group also wants its members to be able to claim the duty back on drive-offs, in the same as they can reclaim VAT on a bad debt.

Pat Towey of Topaz Ballaghaderreen told ShelfLife: “What the IPRA is proposing makes an awful lot of sense; primarily it will speed up the process.”

 

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