At the end of the contract your vehicle will be returned to the leasing company and assessed to determine whether the vehicle meets the agreed returned condition.
What is fair wear and tear?
Fair wear and tear occurs when normal usage causes deterioration to a vehicle. It is not to be confused with damage which occurs as a result of a specific event or series of events such as impact, inappropriate stowing of items, harsh-treatment, negligent acts or omissions.
Why do BVRLA members have end of lease charges?
All leasing companies in membership are obliged under the BVRLA Code of Conduct to trade fairly and responsibly in all dealings with their customers. End-of-lease charges reflect the loss of value in the vehicle to the leasing company when it is returned in a poorer condition than originally contracted and / or achieves a decrease in value as a result of a failure to use, maintain and look after the vehicle and its equipment. The leasing company will not necessarily carry out any damage repair or refurbishment prior to selling the vehicle.
Before your vehicle is due back to the leasing company consider the following:
Understand the standard - You should request a copy of the BVRLA industry standard from your leasing company. Alternatively you can order a hard copy direct for a small charge (download order form here).
Appraising your vehicle - This will identify any damage that does not constitute fair wear and tear and requires repair. Use the BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear Guide and these key tips when appraising your vehicle:
- Carry out the appraisal of the vehicle 10 – 12 weeks before the vehicle is due for return. This will allow you to arrange to have any unacceptable wear and tear rectified.
- Appraise the vehicle as honestly as you can – be objective. Ask a friend or colleague to help you.
- Choose a time and place with good light. This is how the leasing company will examine your vehicle. Appraisals carried out in poor light invariably miss some faults.
- Before appraising the vehicle, make sure that it has been washed and is thoroughly clean but remember to allow time for it to dry. Water on the paintwork can mask faults.
- Walk all the way around the vehicle and examine closely each panel including the roof, bonnet, doors, and body for significant damage. Observe where the light is reflected differently from dents and scratches.
- Crouch or kneel down at the front and rear of the vehicle and look along the bodyline on each side. This will help you see scratches and dents that may otherwise be difficult to spot.
- Inspect lamps, lenses, windows and mirrors for chips, cracks and holes.
- Check the tyres (including spare) for damage. Check that the wear on the tread across each tyre is even. Inspect wheels, wheel trims and wheel spokes for scratches and deterioration.
- Clean and valet the interior.
- Check upholstered areas for odours, tears, burns, stains and wear.
- Inspect all controls, including audio equipment and accessories – they should be present and fully functional.
Gain an understanding of the collection procedures - At the end of the lease, when the vehicle is to be collected, a representative from the leasing company must check and agree on the vehicle condition. All readily apparent damage to the vehicle will be noted on the vehicle collection sheet or hand-held device. You as the consumer need to ensure you are happy with the inspection and ask for clarity where necessary.
In the event of a dispute about the condition or damage to the vehicle, customers have the right to pay for an examination of the evidence by an independent qualified engineer, eg an engineer who is unrelated to the original inspection and agreed by both parties. The engineer's decision will be binding on both the customer and the BVRLA member. If the engineer finds in the customer's favour, the BVRLA member will refund the reasonable cost of the examination to the customer.
On occasion, disagreements will arise between customers and BVRLA members which cannot be settled directly. Unresolved disputes can be referred to the Association by the customer and/or the member involved. More information on the BVRLA's conciliation service is available here.
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