As an online business we don’t always have the opportunity to meet our customers face to face; indeed about 95% of our transactions occur via emails and telephone calls only. However, we do experience a small batch of customers from Leigh, Wigan, Warrington and St Helens who visit the team to discuss a deal within our offices. But are the prices the same? Absolutely.
We are not the type of business to operate an “online only” style approach. In fact, we will sit with our customer and guide them through the website so that they can see the various cars and vans we have to offer.
For those leasing a car for the first-time it is often more practical to speak with our team personally due to the plethora of queries they have. If you do want to visit the CarLease team just call us on the number on the website and make an appointment with one of our account managers.
Is it safe to lease a car online? The move to online procurement for many of our services and goods has changed the fundamentals of most industries; the automotive industry is not bespoke in this respect. However, the last 5 years has seen a seismic shift from customers visiting a group of dealers and trying to organise a PCP (which many consider was the leasing we are referring to) to using online leasing brokers and portals offering contract hire.
The necessity to own a car has reduced and the appetite for prestige/luxury vehicles on short to medium term contracts has increased. The reality is that the modern customers wants choice, flexibility and luxury for a competitive price.
Add to that is the obvious fact we are increasingly time poor and simply don’t have the time to visit every dealership in our area. The online platform makes all of this possible. However, undertaking a car lease involves providing a number of key details about yourself and you need to ensure you are dealing with a reputable company.
So how do I check if a broker is “safe”? Before providing any personal details there are a few basic, but key, steps you can undertake to ensure you are working with a proper organisation. This includes:
· Check the company registration number – every limited company in the UK must display their registration number. This is a bespoke reference which you can use to input into an easy to use system online – https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-a-company – this will allow you to see the directors, shareholders, registered address and accounts. This will give you a good idea of the organisation you are working with and how long they have been in business for example. If the information doesn’t match what is displayed on the website, check this further?
· The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are the conduct regulator for the financial services sector in the UK. They operate to ensure that markets are honest, fair and effective with a result of the customer receiving a fair deal and products/services which are suitable for their needs and requirements. Every leasing broker must show their respective FCA number (FRN) which the customer can use to check on their register. In order to operate in the UK sector, we must fulfil certain criteria and processes which ensures our customers are treated fairly. If you want to check further, get the company’s FRN number and input into the FCA register checker – https://register.fca.org.uk/
· Speak with the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) if you have any real concerns. Our trade body uses the facts/guidance from the FCA and other regulators top ensure we have practical day to day guidance and processes on how we manage our customers. This includes a bi-annual audit of our business – file checking, process checking, register checking. The BVRLA also have a code of conduct and dispute service which customers can rely on if there are any concerns. Every leasing broker who operates to the highest standards will be part of the BVRLA and will show a number on their website. Use this to check with the BVRLA – https://www.bvrla.co.uk/rental-directory.html
The whole emphasis is on you having a safe and secure experience. Our industry wants this to happen as we need to sustain consumer confidence. If you do the reasonable checks above, then you ensure you are not going to subject to any fraud or misrepresentation. Don’t just concentrate on the monthly rental!
In terms of the car shown, the Ford Focus Hatchback 1.0 EcoBoost 125 ST-Line 5dr (Petrol Manual), this is based on the following configuration:
· Shadow Black Premium Metallic
· Cloth – Charcoal black with red stitching
· 17” 5×2 Spoke Alloy Wheels with rock metallic finish
· Rear Privacy glass
· Ford Pass Connect
As standard the car includes cruise control, quickclear heated windscreen, heated rear windows, auto hold function, hill start assist, post collision braking, Bluetooth, lane keeping aid with lane departure warning, Ford SYNC 3, DAB radio, electrically operate and heated door mirrors, body coloured externals, LED daytime running lights, air conditioning, 60/40 split back rear seats, river’s lumbar support, keyless start with starter button, 17” alloys, steel spare wheel and a Thatcham cat 1 alarm/immobiliser.
In terms of additional options considering – privacy glass, front and rear parking sensors and comfort seats.
On the technical-side company car and business users can note P11d at £21,675.00 and CO2 at 107g/km. The 999CC 6 speed manual petrol engine delivers 58.9 combined MPG (EC), 46.3 (WLTP), 125ps and 0-62 times of 10 seconds. The service intervals on the focus are every 24 months or 18,000 miles whichever lands sooner.