Kevin Eastwood, executive director at BOSS, the British Oil Security Syndicate, offers some advice to forecourt operators in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown. He has the following best practice guide for independent forecourt retailers to help reduce the risk of drive off incidents at their businesses:
When a motorist pulls up at a pump try and take five seconds to look at the pump, the person filling up and the vehicle being filled, BEFORE activating the pump. This will help forecourt staff to identify some warning signs and ensure that you have a chance to take the necessary action.
Common signs include the following:
- Driver still at the wheel; passenger filling up
- Open doors or open boot
- Number plates hidden or appear altered
- Lights of the vehicle still switched on
- Vehicle parked facing away from the kiosk towards an exit
- Customer trying to hide behind their own or another vehicle when filling up
What you can do?
- Make eye contact if possible; this can be surprisingly effective if the person knows someone has seen them
- Use the tannoy to make suspicious people aware you have noticed them on the forecourt. Ask them to check their engine is off if lights are on, close open doors, etc.
- If the forecourt is manned by two or more staff, make regular walks out onto the forecourt to restock or clean the forecourt
- Don’t be afraid to request pre-payment; go with your instincts
- Ensure CCTV system is working correctly and the image is clear
- Retain CCTV images of Drive-Off or NMoP incidents
- Share information about frequently offending vehicles with other retailers
When a person enters kiosk and informs you they don’t have the means to pay at that time try to remain calm and courteous. In the majority of cases this type of incident is possibly a genuine mistake.
You should ensure you get your customer’s name, address, postcode and car registration number. As most people have a mobile phone ask for their mobile phone number and try it.
Then follow industry standard procedure, such as BOSS Payment Watch, as a means to help fuel retailers recover monies lost from Drive Off and No Means of Payment incidents.
BOSS, the British Oil Security Syndicate, operates BOSS Payment Watch, the leading debt recovery service for fuel retailers. The scheme features a robust set of guidelines and procedures that help forecourt retailers to deal with bilkings, Drive-Offs and No Means of Payment (NMoP) incidents.
For more information about how you can prevent incidents of forecourt crime please contact BOSS – British Oil Security Syndicate on either [email protected]