Analysis of several thousand Drive-Off incidents from BOSS, the British Oil Security Syndicate, has revealed that two thirds of Drive-Off incidents are the result of a failure to pay in-store and that only one third of Drive-Offs are the result of vehicles driving away from the pump without making any attempt to pay for the fuel.
The analysis of results follows a year-long trial of a new Drive Off recovery service from BOSS at numerous retail fuel outlets. Drive-Off incidents cost forecourt retailers over £20 million per annum and the trial has analysed Drive-Off incidents in two ways; firstly, drivers filling up, making no attempt to pay and then driving off; and secondly where drivers draw fuel, enter the store and then leave without paying for their fuel.
The BOSS survey found that 67.3% of incidents were recorded as a failure to pay in-store, while 32.7% of incidents involved a vehicle drawing fuel and driving off without making any attempt to pay.
The trial involved BOSS pro-actively pursuing the registered keepers of vehicles reported as driving off without making payment for fuel. Following receipt of a Drive-Off report from a forecourt retailer BOSS initiated its new recovery strategy and during the survey period 77.9% of incidents were subsequently fully paid for by the motorist, without referring the incident to the police.
During the 12 month trial BOSS estimates that the new initiative has saved 4,600 police man hours (576 police man days).
Kevin Eastwood, executive director at BOSS said: “There may be many reasons why drivers fail to pay for fuel, a mistake or deliberate action, but we’re finding police tend to treat in-store Drive-Offs as a civil offence and are therefore not treating these incidents as a crime, so take no action.
“What’s exciting about this new BOSS Drive-Off initiative is that it’s the industry taking control of reporting and recovering losses. During the trial only five per cent of incidents have had to be reported to the police, which saves the police a huge amount of time. We’re planning to make the initiative available to police forces across the country so that both police and retailers can benefit.”