The main concern with vehicle recovery charges is the gulf between the actual and suggested charges

A lot of the unhappiness with vehicle recovery charges centres on the gulf between real-life recovery rates and the draconian charges the Home Office wishes to impose.

Michael Eagles, chairman of Auto-Rescue Logistics, which provides accident and breakdown recovery services across the United Kingdom, said: “A loaded vehicle on the road with minor front end damage that prohibits the wheels turning is a fairly straightforward recovery, costing £400 to £1000. It’s a straightforward front end under lift. Under the new proposals this rises to £6,800.”

He continued: “Again, a relatively minor accident where the wheels of a large commercial vehicle do not roll would cost between £1500 and £2,500. This rises to £8,400 under the new proposals.”

Unfortunately, the Home Office’s consultation closed on 25 January and it is unlikely to reopen it in the future – unless the insurance industry ramps up the pressure to lower the charges.

Responding to the news that the ABI had condemned its proposals, the Home Office explained the current state of the law and the consultation. A spokesperson said:

“The charges are intended to meet the reasonable costs of the removal, storage and disposal of vehicles under police powers, last changed in 1993. Inflation and changes in operating conditions mean they are no longer appropriate as they stand.

“The majority of the respondents to the consultation had broadly supported our views as set out in the consultation and had said that the introduction of scenario based charging would be a significant change for the better.

“We shall take account of comments made by the insurance industry in deciding on charges to recommend to Ministers, on any further refinement of the scenarios and on any guidance that might be appropriate to issue with regulations setting the new charges.”

In other words, there may yet be scope for further challenging the charges.