Allstar Fuel Card Services and their £2 Network Service Fee

I’ve just been reading that Allstar Fuel Card Services have introduced a £2 ‘network service fee’ every time someone uses one of their cards to pay for fuel.

If the responses of the small number of same day courier company owners who’ve noticed this extra charge are anything to go by, the company had done little to inform their customers of this new charge – several seeming to have only realised when their invoices have arrived or when the matter was raised recently on an industry forum.

Looking at Allstar’s website leaves me wondering how they can impose these charges while continuing to make the claim that small and medium businesses will ‘only pay actual price of fuel used’ (www.allstarcard.co.uk/sme) . I’m surprised that they consider that paying an extra £2 every time you fill your tank can be considered only paying the actual price of the fuel. I consider it as charging an extra 5p/litre on a typical 40 litre top-up.

For many years I’ve recommended Allstar fuel cards as the best solution for small same day courier fleets – giving drivers the flexibility to fill up at most service stations while allowing them to be instructed to use the cheaper ones whenever possible. They were a great alternative to cash and I used them myself for my own fleet from the mid-nineties onwards. This new charging model that they’ve imposed makes it impossible for me to recommend them to any same day courier company though. With vans typically topping up 6-10 times a week companies will be faced with an extra annual cost of £600-£1000 per vehicle at a time when they’re doing everything to keep costs down.

There are cheaper alternatives to Allstar fuel cards which offer the convenience of a fuel card without extra transaction fees and in many cases offer a fixed fuel price set weekly in advance. These other fuel card networks don’t seem to provide access to the large number of sites that Allstar does but it should be feasible to juggle with two or more card accounts to allow access to a large enough number of outlets to be able to operate efficiently.

Certainly I think that many same day courier companies and other businesses within the transport sector will now be looking around for alternative fuel card providers. It would seem to me that Allstar have shot themselves in both feet over this new charge.

Posted under Fuel Prices

Posted by Alec at 3:05 pm, January 28, 2013

23 Comments so far

  1. John Bainbridge added on  January 29th, 2013 at 18:39

    An Allstar competitor rang me in October warning me of the charge, when queried with Allstar I was told nothing is definite and if they do introduce anything we would receive proir notice and the opportunity to negotiate the fee. The first we knew of the fee was when it appeared on invoices.

    We are certainly looking at alternatives – we cannot afford the 4p or 5p increase per gallon.

  2. We have seen enquiries triple since AllStar introduced these transaction fees, with a many companies looking for a lower cost alternative.

    Our company, Forecourt Fuels, offer a unique savings guarantee that ensures business customers will pay at least 3 pence per litre less than national average over 12 months otherwise they receive a cheque for the difference!

    We also supply fuel cards free of charge with no set up costs and definitely no transaction fees!

    Call Becky free on 08000 14 14 64 for further information on our range of fuel cards

  3. Christina added on  January 30th, 2013 at 18:17
  4. We introduced Allstar to our drivers in August 2012 – apparently 6 weeks before they changed their T&C’s. We had no prior warning of the charges, but if you haven’t read their new T&C’s please read them – the audacity of the Company is outstanding! Customer service? I don’t think so.

  5. We have seen a huge influx of calls from existing Allstar customers looking for a better deal.

    We like to think our package of SERVICE, SAVINGS & SECURITY is the best on the market.

  6. Wracked-off-Ralph! added on  February 6th, 2013 at 17:11

    I have just experienced this additional charge on our January invoices. There was absolutely no communication from Allstar regarding the new “Network Charges”.

    I wonder how much money it would have cost the company to have created a standard email and hit ‘send’ to all their customers?

    But I guess they feel that, having the largest network in the UK, they can audaciously slap on the Network Charges and not lose too much custom in the aftermath.

    I, for one, will definitely be looking into new fuel card providers.

  7. Alec added on  February 6th, 2013 at 17:44

    It seems that Allstar is now owned by Fleetcor, who also own CH Jones (Keyfuels) and The Fuelcard Company. Could it be that they’re assuming that many of their disgruntled ex-customers will unwittingly continue as customers of Fleetcor even after changing over from Allstar?

  8. Kate added on  February 8th, 2013 at 12:19

    As mentioned in an earlier comment, we only found out about the transaction fee when it appeared on our invoices. I was told a letter was sent to us on 12th December 2012 informing me of the new charge. I find that in itself a little cynical seeing as we have a 30 day terminiation period and the charges were introduced on 1st Janaury! Odd how weekly invoices reach us no problem but this letter……???? I am now knee deep in fuel card bumph – Allstar are the only national coverage card (as far as I can tell) but we don’t want to pay £thousands just for the sake of convenince. Their sister company The Fuelcard Company (not to be confused with the Fuel PEOPLE Company)have offered to waive the £12 card fee for the first 12 months as a ‘compensation’ for the upset caused by Allstar. No decision yet, still got a shed load of fuel card bumph to read through…….

  9. Kate – how national do you need? My better half uses UK Fuel Cards with no card fees for the first 12 months anyway. http://www.ukfuelcards.co.uk/fuel-cards has some info on site locations.

  10. Colin Appleby added on  February 11th, 2013 at 10:27

    I’m constantly amazed that anybody still falls for the Allstar sales pitch, which has always been based on a massive red herring: universal availability. If you have a fuel card that can only be used at Esso or Shell etc., what’s the problem? Think about it: are their filling stations a rare sight, really? Next time you’re driving somewhere, pick a brand at random and see how long it is before you pass the logo. As for the Fuelcard Company, don’t bother if your most convenient garage is BP, or you refuel on motorways a lot, where BP has the widest coverage – they won’t tell you that they don’t have a card that covers BP, they’ll just try to push you onto something else. You should try The Fuelcard People, not the Fuelcard Company – the difference is, well, the difference between dealing with a company and dealing with real people. No queueing for a call centre, for a start, just phone the same person you always talk to. And, unlike the pump price Allstar card, you can expect 3p or 4p per litre discount.

  11. That’s from your totally unbiased position as an employee of ‘Creative Marketing Direct’ presumably Colin? I see that your employers list ‘The Fuelcard People’ as a client on their website.

  12. Colin Appleby added on  February 12th, 2013 at 15:41

    Alec, if I’d wanted to hide my affiliation, I’d have signed in with just my first name and not used my work email. Which bit of my posting isn’t true and fair comment? Oh… It’s all true and fair comment, you just wish that I hadn’t pointed it all out? By the way, “Alec,” are you now going to reveal your true identity and vested interest?

  13. You seem to be accusing me of having a vested interest in some fuel card business, is that correct?

  14. Colin Appleby added on  February 13th, 2013 at 17:02

    No, not accusing you of anything, old sausage, merely enquiring with a half-smile and a raised eyebrow – I’m always bemused if somebody who doesn’t want their own identity known decides to have a pop at me. Let folks draw their own conclusions, but it’s really not that big a deal, is it?

    Meanwhile, you didn’t answer my question, so I’ll ask again: which bit of my original posting isn’t true and fair comment?

  15. I haven’t passed comment one way or the other on the truthfulness of what you’ve said, I have no knowledge of the subject. I passed comment on the fact that, unlike everybody else who’s spammed this topic offering their services, you chose to promote your client’s offering without mentioning your connection with them and as if you were a disinterested third party making a recommendation.

    When challenged you made a libellous accusation against me, claiming that I had a vested interest.

    As for my identity, my name’s Alec Simmons, not that it’s any of your business. It’s no secret at all and I’m extremely well known in my industry so I have nothing to hide. I have no vested interest at all in any fuel card companies.

  16. If anyone was curious about UK Fuels following Su’s post. Feel free to contact me to discuss any thoughts on our cards. 01473 295 444 – just ask for Matt

  17. Andy added on  March 5th, 2013 at 15:02

    Does anyone have any (preferably impartial) advice with regards to viable alternative fuelcards for a fleet of 20 or so diesel cars and vans? Good UK wide coverage is essential. I’m currently looking at UK Fuels Plus Card, TMC Fuel and BP plus.

  18. Karen added on  March 5th, 2013 at 18:05

    What an absolute disgrace! I have just noticed the charge on my Feb invoices, after telephoning them they told me that nobody could talk to me about the “network fee” and they would have to ring me back it would take 5 days!!! I phoned as a new customer and they told me that they may introduce a fee…..! Out of order,moving as we speak to an alternative provider!

  19. Julia added on  March 26th, 2013 at 13:01

    Had noticed a Network fee on our invoices and contacted Allstar, after being told they had no idea what the charges were and that someone would ring us back in about five days, we stopped using the cards. Someone has just phoned back saying we were informed of the new charge last year, the guy did not know what the charge was for and told me that he had only been with Allstar for 5 weeks!! I then asked if I was a new customer would I have to pay the extra charge and he said “I don’t know”, apparently they paid for a new computer system last year to send all invoices out by email and that didn’t work, makes you wonder if we are being charged for their unusable computer system! A terrible service from a provider we have used for 15 years. We are a small building company running company vans and cannot afford extra costs etc. This is a complete con and totally unacceptable.

  20. We are also having major issues with Allstars new Transaction Fees. We recently had a meeting with our account manager and expressed our outrage, she agreed to negotiate a lower transaction fee for our group and would call me back the following Monday, this was in January and we are still yet to recieve that call back, the only response i get from the “Dedicated customer service team” is that Julie (the account manager) is off sick, surprise!!

    It is alos no surprise that these transaction fees are not applied to any Government Funded account i.e. Police force, Department of Transport etc..

    I feel strongly about using another Fleetcor fuel card provider but we do need a wide coverage of both major brand and supermaket forecourts,for both Petrol and Diesel,but they seem to own all the fuel card companies that can provide such coverage, without the additional admin time to manager more than one fuel card when each driver at every cost centre has one. Any recommendation would be appreciated, preferably from other fuel card users.

  21. Rod Collins added on  April 5th, 2013 at 16:18

    We are also suffering from a lack of customer service or interest by Allstar.
    Their Terms and Conditions clause 6 on fees is clear that they will communicate tariff changes. Clearly they have not and on being pushed they have provided us with their August 2012 standard tariff in April 2013.
    They are taking funds without authority.
    Perhaps they need a class action to bring them to their senses. They take a mechant fee fromn the petrol stations as any “credit card” provider. What unique additional service makes them think their “network” is worth £2 plus VAT?

  22. Rod Collins added on  April 9th, 2013 at 15:17

    Business Car is proposing to run an article on the Allstar Network Fee fiasco in their next issue.
    I’ve just received an email from Allstar with attachment of the cover pages from our September 2012 invoice that invited us to subscribe to their ebilling to SAVE TREES, SAVE MONEY and SAVE TIME… it failed to attach the tariff that would add costs not SAVE MONEY!

  23. Christine Frost added on  May 14th, 2013 at 14:35

    I also tried,(and I do mean tried) to speak with someone at Allstar regarding this network fee which suddenly appeared on our invoices without any advance notice. In the end I emailed them and eventually got a reply 16 days later with the same twaddle regarding their tariffs. We are also looking for an alternative provider.

Leave a Comment

Name (required)

Email (required)

Website

Comments

Comments