Life of a Fleet Manager: End of contract recharges

About Sandicliffe Motor Contracts, Fleet Manager

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The dreaded day has arrived… it’s end of contract day for a handful of your leased cars.

This is your only real chance to see the how the vehicles have fared during their 36 months of ownership.

You take a deep breath. First you check the alloys. Phew, just a few scratches, nothing too serious; tyres are a bit worn but that’s what they’re for!

Next the windscreen, a bit mucky and fly-spattered but generally in good nick. Paintwork looks okay if not a bit dull, and the interior, apart from needing a good hoover and a dose of Febreeze, there’s no sign of any tears or holes. Radio still works and windscreen wipers and headlamps all functioning as they should.

A quick conversation with the drivers – just one issue of squeaky brakes and the odd rattle or two but all in all, it looks like your worry was for nothing.

You breathe a sigh of relief as you sit back with a cup of tea thinking how great this new leasing company have been, really competitive prices, good customer care – you should have made the move sooner.

Without another thought you wave goodbye to the old vehicles and welcome three new shiny additions to the fleet. Job done.

A few weeks later….

The phone rings, it’s your leasing company’s ‘claims department’ calling to inform you of some outstanding recharges. Two of the returned vehicles it seems have suffered a raft of damages that only a small fortune will suffice in getting them repaired.

“Well, they looked okay to me,” you say.

You ask for more details in which you are issued with a list of the damages, informed that those vehicles have now been sold and payment is expected within 30 days.

How about that for a sting in the tail?

End of contract recharges are one of the most common causes of dispute when it comes to leasing companies and their customers. If only it could be different.

One way that we at Sandicliffe Motor Contracts try to avoid clashes over recharges is to offer complete transparency.

“Because all of our vehicles are collected by and returned to us personally,” explained Steve Goodall, technical services manager at Sandicliffe Motor Contracts, “we have ample opportunity to carry out checks, assess any damage and feedback directly to our customers on what we have found.

“For some leasing companies, end of contracts checks are handled via a third party so you can see how easy it is for things to get lost in translation,” Steve added.

“Damage repair for us isn’t about plucking a figure out of thin air or a manual. We treat every case separately and be honest and open about the amount of vehicle depreciation that has occurred.

“By keeping sight of our vehicles we can have real-time conversations with customers to explain and demonstrate, if indeed any aspect falls outside of the BVRLA’s fair wear and tear guide.

“We can even invite customers to our head office where they can come and inspect the vehicle for themselves.”

Contract hire is about the whole package – from vehicle selection to renewal – and monthly rental amount is just one comparison point.

Try to get a feel for what happens when things do go a awry and understand what support is available when issues need to resolved.

To stay clued up on what constitutes as fair wear and tear, email [email protected] to request a copy of the BVRLA fair wear and tear guide.

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