Only half of motorists who lease their car understand their fair wear and tear policy

Autoglass® BodyRepair research has found only half of those who use leasing agreements to purchase their car are confident about the terms of the fair wear and tear policy within their agreement. Those in the other half are either unclear of their policy or do not remember receiving a policy.

Autoglass® BodyRepair conducted a survey of 1,500 people who have privately leased a car in the last five years and found that motorists are often surprised to find themselves liable for minor damage when they return their vehicle at the end of the contract – 69% of those that received repair bills said they were unexpected.

Leasing agreements, such as Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) or Personal Contract Hire (PCH), now account for 90% of the new car market* and specify a maximum level of wear and tear that a car can have when returned. If the car does not meet the level stated in the leasing agreement the lessee is charged for repairs, with the average bill for repairs done by a leasing company being £473.

The research found that people who have had multiple leasing agreements are more likely to understand the need to have repairs completed ahead of returning the car, giving them the opportunity to shop around to reduce repair costs. However, those who have had multiple leasing agreements were more likely to be charged penalty fees for exceeding the mileage, missing logbooks or missing keys, suggesting even experienced customers face unexpected charges.

Autoglass® BodyRepair recommends that all leasing customers follow these tips when returning their vehicle to reduce or avoid unforeseen costs.

Top Tips on returning your leased car;

  • Find your contract 10-12 weeks before the end of your agreement and familiarise yourself with the fair wear and tear policy. Appraise the vehicle after it’s been cleaned and in good light. Be as honest as you can, ask a friend or colleague to help.
  • If you have any damage, get a quote from a third-party repair company – whether you choose to get the repairs done before returning the car or not, this quote could be helpful if you need to negotiate the cost of repairs with the leasing company. Check before getting any repairs done that your policy allows a third-party company to do the repair work. The average charge for repairs by a leasing company was found to be £473 so shopping around and getting repairs done before could save on the cost.
  • Check your insurance for windscreen cover – 22% of repair bills were for glass repair/replacement – which could have been done for free as chip repairs are normally covered free of charge by the insurance company.
  • Try negotiating! – 19% of lessees managed to negotiate a lower cost with the leasing company for their repairs.
  • Double check, even if you have leased before – Those who have had more lease agreements are also more likely to get charged penalty fees for exceeding mileage, missing logbooks and missing keys.

Taxiarchis Konstantopoulos, Managing Director at Autoglass®, commented: “Leasing a new car is now the norm so it is important to ensure that motorists fully understand their fair wear and tear policy, and return their car to the leasing company in the best possible condition. Autoglass® Body Repair offers quality and competitive solutions that could help motorists solve a problem whilst controlling their costs”.

* Finance and Leasing Association (FLA)

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