Returning your leased vehicle. Consumer Advice -
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.
It’s amazing how quickly the end of the lease contract approaches, particularly when the contract was for less than 24 months. Many of our customers are new to leasing, so whether or not you intend to renew your contract through us, through another provider or purchase a new/used vehicle via an alternative funding plan, we’re still on hand if you have any questions or need our support.
It’s rare that you’ll be contacted by the leasing company themselves, usually you’ll receive contact from an agent acting on behalf of the leasing company such as BCA or Manheim around 3 weeks before the contract termination date. More often than not the vehicles are sent to auction at the end of the contract, however if you’ve not had contact up to 2 weeks before the end of the lease, contact the finance company to prompt the inspection visit.
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.
It’s important to understand your commitments and promises during the lease period, so it may be worthwhile re-reading your lease contract to understand all of your obligations. One main point to remember is that many refer to “Manufacturer guidelines” regarding the servicing regime of the vehicle. As the vehicle belongs to the finance company, the residual values are usually based on main dealer service history so any routine service due under the Manufacturers recommendations would need to be carried out via a franchised dealer, make sure that you retain the receipt and have the service book stamped as this will be required during the inspection process.
We recommend that you begin to prepare around 10-12 weeks before the anticipated contract end date, by giving the vehicle a swift appraisal yourself. If this raises any concern or highlights a potential risk of a chargeback this gives you plenty of time to have it rectified with a local mobile repairer, not only will this give you piece of mind before the inspection but it could save you £££’s. It’s important that any work undertaken is sourced through a professional repairer who can provide a transferrable warranty for the work.
Don’t worry, the funders know that the vehicle is no longer brand new so they do allow elements of wear and tear. All of the leasing companies along with ourselves are BVRLA members, this means that we all work within their remit of the “fair wear and tear policy” with the vehicle at the end of the lease period.
Issues can arise if the driver has neglected to service the vehicle or failed to action warning messages from the management system. Upon collection the vehicle must be in a safe and roadworthy condition. Therefore the following complaints are not acceptable wear and tear:-
You’ll need to sign a copy of the agent’s collection report, this will list any concern that the inspection has highlighted. Sometimes a charge will appear on this document before you sign it, in other instances where the agent does not carry a hand held device, you’ll receive contact from the funder along with an invoice for the loss in vehicle value due to the damage.
It’s important to contact the funder at least 8-10 weeks in advance of the return date to begin to make arrangements to place your private plate back on retention. There may be a small fee payable to the funder for administrating this request on your behalf. Do not confirm and agree a collection date until the original plates are back on the vehicle. It will be your responsibility to purchase these plates once the funder have confirmed the paperwork has been returned from the DVLA. Don’t forget to update your insurance company with the plate information too.
Always point out any unrepaired wear or damage to the collection agent upon inspection as this prevents problems or issues later.
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, e.g. 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, however we’d always recommend that you address your complaint with the leasing company in the first instance.
No-one quite knows this car like you, after all you’ve been the only driver since new, so it’s natural that you may want to keep it. Sometimes this is possible, so if you’d like to purchase the vehicle, contact the leasing company for a cost to buy, you’ll need your registration or agreement number to hand and they’re likely to ask you for the odometer reading too.