"Are they out to get me?"
Many people don't even realize that there could be additional charges at the end of contract for excess wear and tear. And there is a feeling amongst some people that recharges are a scam, and that the lease companies are making huge profits for charging for excessive wear. They think it is just an extra way to make money. Is there any truth in this?
Quite simply, the answer is 'no', in fact our experience has been that they are very fair, even generous with the amount they take in recharges.
Most people don't realize that their lease company doesn't make a penny in profit until they have taken the car back and sold it on. So any damage to the car that diminishes the resale value eats into their profits.
Furthermore, the demands of the resale market mean that even minor damage to a car needs to be addressed before it could be resold. Take a look at the photos taken by lease companies of damage to cars that they charged back on our gallery page... would you buy a car from a dealership with any of this damage? Probably not, you would insist that the dealer get it fixed, or else you would demand a discount.
The lease companies only want that you should return the cars in a fit state, and you can hardly blame them. They don't expect them to be returned as like new and they do allow for certain amounts of wear and tear, but they have to draw the line somewhere, and if you see the shocking state that some cars are in when they are returned, you would understand why lease companies now apply re-charges to damage.
In truth, the amounts that lease companies re-charge for damage to a car are often less than you would actually pay if you were to get the work done yourself at a car body repair shop. What they normally do is charge a fixed rate for for the area. So if there is damage to a front bumper, you would be charged £175 for the panel. If you went to a body shop, you could end up paying £250 to have the bumper resprayed as often they have to blend into the next panel, however, if the damage to the bumper is slight, for example a scuff or scratch, you could get it repaired using Smart Repair techniques for around £25-£100. So, the lease companies tend to charge somewhere in between.
The lease companies want your repeat business, and so would rather not give you a shock at the end of contract. So they would much rather you return your car in good condition than have to charge you, its for this reason that some Lease companies now reward careful customers with better deals next time around. So if your car sailed through with no charges or minimal charges, keep the inspection report and use it to negotiate your next lease car.
Our End-of-Lease Services provide quality repair for excessive wear and tear, and is acceptable and appropriate for Contract Hire, Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), Private Lease, Contract Purchase and Lease Purchase. Fleet managers wishing to efficiently prepare off-lease vehicles can contact us or send their drivers directly to our Q&A. Our advisors are trianed by Manheim to work to the BVRLA guidelines.