Passing on the cost of leasing
We are often asked, "Who pays for all this?", ultimately, you are responsible for the car, so ultimately you must pay, unless you can pass the costs on, which in some cases, it is possible to do.
But before I tell you any more about this, let me clarify - If you return your car to the lease company in a condition where it has damage which the lease company deems to be beyond 'fair wear & tear', then it is you that will foot the bill. You may not be responsible for the damage, but if you are the lease holder*, the responsibility for getting it fixed before return still lies with you.
You may find that there is a manufacturer's fault. Here are a few we have seen recently.
1. On a Toyota Yaris, sometimes the rubbers come away from the door frames.
2. On a Peugeot 307, some of them have develop a hole in the carpet on the drivers side due to there being an abscess under the carpet, this lack of support for the carpet can also cause it to come away from the plastic door strip.
3. On Peugeots, sometimes the windscreens crack around the rain sensors.
4. Mercedes... endless list of electrical faults!
None of the above are caused by carelessness of the drivers of those cars, they are purely caused by faulty parts or bad design. If you feel that you have damage to your car, which may be a manufacturer's fault, the easiest way to find out is to see if other people are having the same problems by checking on a site like www.carsurvey.org or www.peachorlemon.com.
As we said, above, you are responsible for returning the car to the lease company in an acceptable condition. The lease company will not accept manufacture's faults and they will charge you for them, so get them fixed before returns. So if you feel that your car is suffering from a manufacture's fault return it to the dealer. Make sure you do this as soon as any area of worry appears because manufacturer's warrantees don't go on forever!
Under your insurance policy, you may have things like windscreen cover. If you have a chip or cracked window, it is advisable to take advantage of this. Although you will still have to pay any excess, it's worth baring in mind that this is likely to work out far cheaper than a refurbishment recharge.
And of course, it is the same story for more serious damage. For example, if you find that you have a scratch which is more than 25mm long, you could find yourself looking at a refurbishment recharge for the cost of repainting the whole panel. It might be wise to claim on your insurance for this kind of thing... but be aware that you have to make separate claims for each area of damage, you may only be able to claim at the time the damage occurred (you may need to check this with your insurance company), and you can't claim after the car has been returned to the lease company. If you do claim, ensure that you are not effecting your no-claims bonus too adversely. You need to weigh this up because your no claims may be worth far more to you than the cost of the repair. You may think that this doesn't apply to you if you are covered under your company's insurance... but you can get a statement from their insurance company saying that you haven't claimed and this can count towards a no claims bonus on a personal policy.
If tyres do not meet the minimum legal requirement, they will also incur a charge. This may be something covered as part of your contract, either with your employer or your lease agent.
If you have a company car which has incurred damage due to the nature of your work, you may wish to ask your fleet manager or head of department about helping with the costs. For examples, a social worker may be expected to visit some rough neighbourhoods where vandalism is more likely, or you may be expected to visit areas of high industrial activity, railway lines, or even chemical spills and fires where your car may be effected by fallout. It may also be the case that work related equipment such as tow bars or radios cause damage to the car during fitting, or that heavy equipment loaded and unloaded from the car on a regular basis has caused excessive wear, yet this is unavoidable due to the nature of your work.
Don't pay for other people's mistakes!
If you do have work done, don't assume that it has been done properly! Even good companies have bad days!
We have seen a number of cars which have had substandard repairs
which would not pass a lease inspection, even though these repairs have been
done by approved companies as part of a fleet management system. Always inspect
any repairs, and if unsure, ask for a second opinion.
Examples of this which we have seen are badly repainted body repairs which would not pass and had to be redone.
We have also seen badly fitted replacement windscreens and other replacement parts such as a back light unit. The fitting of these was so poor that they would not pass a lease inspection. In the case of the light we were able to rectify this by finding the missing screws, and in the case of the windscreens, we were able to track down the company that originally fitted the replacement - they were able to check their records, confirm they had been responsible, and they came and refitted it properly.
It is also worth remembering that you car requires a full service history... service stations are notorious for forgetting to stamp the book! So check before you leave - and check your service book to make sure it's properly filled in before you return your car. If it's not and you are sure you have had the car services, go back to the dealer. They do keep records and can check back and correct their mistake.
*Usually it is the lease holder who is responsible for the car. This guide is aimed at all lease car drivers. Some will have personal leases. Others will have company cars where the lease is arranged by the company -- usually the company contractually passes the responsibility for the lease to the drivers, but on occassions the company retains responsibility. For fleet managers who do the latter, we recommend this article.
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.