SMART / PDR
Lease vehicle returns - What you should know.
The return of a lease vehicle is not something you think about until it gets nearer the time.
The information here is a general guide about how the return process works and what you should know. When a lease / rental car is returned it could be subject to charges to you for damage to the vehicle. This charge may not reflect the cost of repair, but the devaluation of the vehicle which could be a lot more. Often lease / rental cars go straight to auction without any repairs taking place.
If you have damage on the vehicle, it needs to be classified into either "Fair Wear and Tear" or "Damage". Most lease/rental companies are members of the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association) and the website offers advice on these areas but in general fair wear and tear is down to the every day running of the vehicle which acquires paint chips on the bonnet, minor scratches and swirl marks. Dents, bumps and scrapes fall into the latter category. Lease companies have different criteria for what they consider acceptable or chargeable. A 2 inch scratch that is through the lacquer coat may be acceptable to one company but not another.
Each lease company provides a list of what is or is not acceptable so check your documentation or ask them for a written list. See our What you can do page here as to types of damage and repair actions.
Be aware that the lease companies use different techniques to establish any damage. Most will do a visual inspection at your home or the return point and provide you with a written damage report. Some carry out a detailed inspection under artificial light after it has been returned and use a paint spectrometer to establish paint thickness and therefore determine if any area of the car has been repaired.
What you should do.
1 - Check your documentation for damage guidelines.
2 - Request a pre-return inspection and likely charges.
3 - Take photographs of the damage and document all of the above steps in case you need to make a complaint.
4 - Depending on the result of 2 above either return the vehicle and accept the charges or consider getting the repairs done yourself. Bare in mind you might be charged again for any repair considered not acceptable or discovered using the methods above.
5 - If in doubt call us for a FREE inspection and advice.
If the worst comes to the worst and you are unhappy with how the lease / rental company has treated you then there is a complaints procedure through the BVRLA website.