Vehicle hire firm Europcar claims to have slashed accident costs by more than 50% since making it mandatory for customers to sign for keys when taking delivery of rental vans.

Europcar claimed the introduction of the ‘No Signature, No Keys’ policy in February not only protected its vehicles by ensuring drivers were made familiar with their controls before getting behind the wheel but also covered customers in disputes over damage. The risk of using the old system, where keys were dropped off however possible, including being handed into reception desks and left with third parties, or even under flower pots, posed considerable risks to both the van supplier and the hirer, Europcar claimed.

For example, vans could be left unattended while the customer was denied the chance to check over the vehicle before taking possession of it. Ensuring keys are signed for before the vehicle is handed over reduces disputes that arise over vehicle condition and damage, according to Europcar.

Europcar claimed the system had resulted in a 57% reduction in accident costs compared with the same period last year.

“We have significantly improved the customer experience,” claimed Ken McCall, managing director of Europcar UK Group.

“Since its inception, ‘No Signature, No Keys’ has meant less aborted deliveries, thereby reducing cancellation charges for customers, as well as improving the speed and accuracy of any damage processing. “Customer satisfaction has increased as a result.”