How to Avoid End of Contract Damage Charges
Friday 23 March 2012 Back to Blog
You've had a good few years with your van, but your contract is coming to an end. Over 1200 of our customers contracts are finishing this year alone. We want to help you avoid an unwanted end of contract damage charge when you hand your vehicle back.
As a leasing company, we need to return leased vehicles back to the finance companies in good order for them to sell on. Some people think end of contract charges are a scam, but we don't make money on refurbishments. It is simply a case that it's cheaper for you to cut out the middleman and get necessary repairs done yourself.
Wear and tear is of course inevitable for any vehicle, especially commercial vehicles used for business; however, drivers leasing these types of vehicles may incur charges if a vehicle is returned with unreasonable levels of damage. We understand that it can be difficult to judge what damage is acceptable, so here are a few tips on how to prevent the likelihood of charges at the end of a contract:
• Getting a van ply lined will not only keep it looking clean inside, but can also save a lot of money in damage recharges. Scuffs and scratches on the loading floor caused by the transportation of goods are acceptable but the deformation of body parts, van walls or doors because of incorrect loading or general abuse is not.
• If you have a sign written,always make sure it is the vinyl kind and remove it before returning the van. A heavily sign written van can take a day to de-sticker and the cost of this would have to be passed on.
• Scuffing and scratching of paintwork that can be removed by a machine polisher is considered acceptable (as a guide if you can get your finger nail into the scratch it probably won't polish out). Bumps, scratches or dents that exceed 25mm (about the size of a £1 coin) are not acceptable. Avoid end of contract charges, by using a Smart Repair technician.
• It's also worth getting the vehicle professionally valeted if it's not been regularly cleaned during the lease period.
All leasing companies are responsible for advising their customers on how to best avoid refurbishment charges so will offer free advice. You can also use the BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear guide to help assess your vehicle. http://www.bvrla.co.uk/Advice_and_Guidance/Fair_wear_and_tear_standards.aspx
Here are some more tips on how to assess your vehicle before handing it back:
TOP TIPS FOR APPRAISING YOUR VEHICLE
Phone a friend - It's hard to be objective when you're looking at your own vehicle. So why not ask a friend or colleague to help you?
Think ahead - carry out the vehicle appraisal at least ten weeks before the vehicle is due for return to allow for any undue wear and tear faults to be put right.
Light matters - You are likely to miss faults if you inspect your vehicle in poor light. Choose good natural daylight instead.
Spick 'n span - Water on the paintwork may mask faults so before appraising the vehicle make sure it is thoroughly cleaned and allow time for it to dry.
All angles - Make sure you examine all the panels including the roof, bonnet and doors. Kneel down to look along the side of the vehicle and see how light reflects differently on dents and scratches.
Glass check - Inspect the lamps and lenses, windows and mirrors for chips, cracks or holes. If you find a chip then very often you can have this repaired for free by companies such as www.autoglass.co.uk without affecting your no-claims. Even it needs a new screen it's worth paying a £50 excess, rather than getting a charge for a full screen when you return your vehicle.
Tyres - Don't forget to check the spare too! Here, you are looking for even tread across each tyre. Inspect wheels and any trims for damage.
Come inside - Clean and valet the interior, check upholstery for tears, burns and excessive marking or wear. Do a damage check on all controls including audio equipment and accessories.
Dealer opinion - If you were to take your vehicle to a dealer and offer it as a part-exchange against a new vehicle, part of the process in valuing it will be an inspection based on all of the above. When they give you a value ask them to list any damage that they have spotted. Although they are likely to give an inflated figure for repairs in order to give you a lower part- exchange price it does give you an idea of how the industry will look at it. Obviously you can't really sell your vehicle to them, but it is a helpful fact finding mission.