As an existing customer, they had to go through the return and “collection” process which can often cause some trepidation for customers looking at contract hire. There is a little myth that the leasing process is deigned to catch-out customers at the end of the contract with expensive damage charges, excess mileage charges and to fundamentally ensure that a customer cannot return a vehicle devoid of any cost. Unequivocally, we can state this is very much NOT the case.
The most important part of returning a lease vehicle is being organised and making the necessary preparations to return the vehicle.
In terms of the car shown here, the Volkswagen Polo Hatchback 5dr 1.0 TSI SE 95 Manual, this is based on the following configuration:
· Special paint – Flash red
· Millie cloth upholstery
· Black high gloss trim
· 15″ Sassari alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tyres
· Ultrasonic front and rear parking sensors
As standard the car includes dimmable interior rear view mirror, 15” alloy wheels, air conditioning, heated insulated tinted glass, post collision braking, hydraulic brake assist, hill hold control, Bluetooth, driver alert system, electrical operated heated door mirrors, composition media system, DAB radio, body coloured externals, LED daytime running lights, multifunction leather steering wheel, interior light, full size spare wheel, immobiliser, tyre pressure monitoring system and cloth upholstery. In terms of additional factory options, consider rear tinted windows, carpet mats and a winter pack for the ideal car.
On the technical-side, company car and business users can note the P11d value at £16,675.00 and CO2 at 101g/km. The 999CC engine delivers 64.2 combined MPG, 95ps and 0-62 times of 10.8 seconds. Service intervals are set every 12 months or 10,000 miles whichever lands sooner.
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As part of our internal leasing processed, we will email our customer 12 months into their contract to ensure that they are conscious of:
· Mileage – are you covering the miles as per the contract? If you are under-mileage, you may be able to ask for a reduction (this is limited to certain finance companies) or if you are over-mileage, you can chat to the finance company about increasing the mileage. The total contract mileage is only relevant at the end of the contract, this is not something which is calculated from year to year. The mileage is only relevant at the point you return the vehicle to the collection agent. If the vehicle is under-mileage you will not be offered a rebate or money-back. However, in cases of over-mileage you are charged at the excess mileage rate in your contract – shown as “pence per mile” – notably some finance providers can offer “unlimited mileage contracts“;
· Servicing – every vehicle needs to be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer recommendations. This will be every 12/18/24 months or every x thousand miles (whichever comes sooner). Most vehicles will tell you when a service is due but, for the avoidance of doubt, 12 months is generally the time to appraise the situation. Servicing a lease vehicle is important as this a) prevents any charges at the contract end for a missed-service; and b) preserves the manufacturer warranty (usually between 3-7 years depending on the product).
Speak to your credit broker or finance company about servicing, as you may be given the option of a main agent or a VAT registered garage using genuine parts.
Whatever the case, ensure you keep a stamped service book or a copy of the invoices to prove a service has been undertaken; and
· Tyres – fundamentally it is a legal obligation to ensure you tyres are in the correct condition and that they have a tread of 1.6mm or more. For most leasing companies, they will expect that the tyres have 2mm of tread or more when the vehicle is returned. The most practical way of managing tyres is to ask the servicing agent to check these for you. If they fall below 2mm or tread (or they have punctures/damage) make sure you change the tyre with a like for like premium brand. Do not use budget tyres as you will be charged for this at the contract cessation.
To supplement all of the above, we email a customer 6 months before the contract is due to end.
In our opinion, getting your leasing vehicle ready for return should be carried out at this stage. This provides you with the right amount of time to ensure the above has been carried out and that any mileage charges are correctly budgeted for.
In addition, this provides you with enough time to prepare the vehicle for return and ensure any damage the vehicle may have incurred is correctly remediated. To help a customer returning the car, the BVRLA have produced a fair wear and tear guide which sets out in detail the return standards for a vehicle. So long as you adhere to this guide, you minimise the chances of any costs at the contract end.