How to reduce your lease car penalties!

Over the years we have noticed an increase in the penalties customers face when returning their cars back to the lease company, they have been charged for minor paint damage or poor paint repairs carried out by the body shop or SMART repairers.

The process normally goes something like this:

  • Customer has the damage repaired prior to inspection by the lease company.
  • Car is collected and inspected by car collection company and customer signs damage check report.
  • Car is then delivered to the lease depot and a few days later customer receives a letter with charges for paint rectification and damage.
  • Customer has 7 days to accept the charges or not.

You will receive a letter with images that look something like this:

damage assesment

A simple letter that we drafted to the lease company saved this customer £331.20.

The first photo shows a small dent with no paint damage this can be rectified via PDR

The second photo is an excessive cost for a panel that has been sprayed there is no documentation in the VBRLA that states there should be no orange peel to the paintwork. This is a 10 minute fix to minimise the orange peel.

The third photo is the same as the second.

We received this email from the customer after he had sent the letter to the lease company:

Hi Steve

Just want to send a massive thank you for helping me with the letter they dropped the charges for the paint and the total came to 48 pounds.
Kind regards,

This was another case that we dealt with in December 2015:

Amazing! Thanks for your help with the wording!!

Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:

From: Query Resolution <Lease company email>
Date: 11 December 2015 at 16:09:29 GMT
To: <customer email>
Subject: Damage recharge Advice Note, Ref: LPGB-A52N45

Dear Nicola,

Thank you for your recent communication raised to the Query Resolution Team on 09.12.15. We appreciate feedback from all our customers regarding our service. I have investigated your query regarding the advice note,  raised against vehicle registration DN62JCV.

LeasePlan UK has a robust procedure for collection and subsequent inspection of our fleet and as such, and to ensure impartiality we use two independent parties for these tasks. Guidelines are in place which confirm the acceptable return condition for all leased vehicles, and what is classified as fair wear and tear. These guidelines align to the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association Code of Conduct, and are available to all LeasePlan UK customers at under section managing your fleet, fair wear & tear.

During collection the agent will complete a vehicle collection report and conduct a basic inspection highlighting significant damage to the vehicle. This report is signed by you confirming you agree with the information contained within the document. This report also confirms the vehicle will be taken directly to a location nominated by us, where it will undergo a secondary more detailed inspection to ascertain the actual condition of the vehicle based on our fair wear and tear guidelines. It is this secondary inspection which forms the basis of the damage charges.

The inspector’s assessment is an independent appraisal based on our fair wear and tear guidelines, conducted with the benefit of seeing the reported damage on the vehicle first-hand. However I agree that the evidence does not wholly support the claim and therefore, as goodwill, will credit the following:

Item No. 1, Door – Left Front, Previous Repair 25 – 30 cm £81.37
Item No. 2, Door – Left Rear, Previous Repair 25 – 30 cm £68.17
Item No. 3, Side Panel – Left Rear, Previous Repair 25 – 30 cm £85.38
Item No. 4, Bumper – Rear, Previous Repair 25 – 30 cm £79.37

I have reviewed both the collection and the independent inspectors report. The collection report describes the vehicle as clean on collection, and the weather was wet. As a gesture of goodwill, we will remove these 4 items from the Invoice.

In conclusion I can confirm that a deduction of £314.29,  will be removed from the advice note and an invoice will be raised for the remaining damage charges of £61.82.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to look into this query for you, I trust the above to be a full explanation to the concerns you have raised.
Yours sincerely

As part of our service Smart Auto Repairs offers a service to it’s customers where we come out and carry out repairs to cars on vehicles that are being handed back to the lease company. There are certain guidelines BVRAL (industry guidelines) on the kind of the condition the car needs to be returned in, this a fair wear and tear policy.  Click here to see the guidelines.

We can inspect your vehicle and advise on what will require repairing and what is classed as fair wear and tear. Once we have repaired the car if you receive any recharges we will advice and help with the follow up to the lease company. This includes drafting a letter that is relevant and individual to your case. So far we have had a 100% success rate with all our customers that have had recharges due to damage or repairs carried out to their cars.