THERE is a peril that many of us associate with business car leasing: the cost of refurbishment when the car goes back at the end of its lease term.
In addition, the hassle of negotiating these bills can be time consuming and also stressful, especially when the customer feels the bill is not justified or that they have just been charged too much for the work that was carried out.
What are refurbishment costs and why do they happen?
When a vehicle is returned after a lease period it is normally sold on through an auction house. If the vehicle is ‘clean’ – undamaged – the process is straightforward.
But while fair wear and tear is accepted – given the mileage that the vehicle has driven during the term of its lease – any damage outside this remit has to be either put-right before the vehicle can be sold on or the cost of the repair is charged back to the customer.
It comes down to repairing any damage before the vehicle is returned, in which case you are in control of the costs, or accepting that you will be charged by the leasing company for the cost of the work.
BVRLA fair wear and tear guidelines
If your leasing company is a member of the BVRLA, it will adhere to the BVRLA’s strict code of conduct and also its fair wear and tear policy.
In short, fair wear and tear is any damage that is deemed commensurate with the mileage and age of the car. Small scratches and dents, light upholstery, carpet and instrument wear are usually covered.
Accident damage of any kind or any type of damage that is a result of vehicle abuse (i.e. failure to maintain it regularly or to keep it clean and tidy) is not classed as fair wear and tear.
Do leasing companies profit from overcharging the cost of refurbishment?
In theory, no. While leasing companies obviously have a duty to recover any money lost on a vehicle as a result of damage, they should not really be treating it as a profit area if they are trading fairly.
However, there are claims that would seem to suggest that profiteering from damage does exist.