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    Avoid charges on an end of contract fleet car lease

    When you are considering a fleet car lease, one of the main things to stay on top of is making sure the vehicles are returned in the best condition possible. Avoiding any unwanted charges for damage at the end of the fleet car lease will ensure your budgeting can stay on track, and who knows what you could end up being charged.

    At the end of a lease each vehicle will be inspected and whilst any minor wear and tear issues will be overlooked, extensive damage will not be taken so lightly. An inspector will judge the condition of your vehicle within the BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear guidelines which cover the exterior, interior, engine and tyres. If the condition of the vehicle falls outside these guidelines then you could be in for some hefty costs, which the lease company won’t be trying to keep down on your behalf. If you feel that a bill is not justified or too high then it will be difficult to negotiate past the inspection date.

    Tips to avoid penalty costs

    With costs of repair often coming in quite high and multiplying that by however many vehicles there are within your fleet it is crucial to communicate the importance of vehicle care to your drivers.

    If the contract of your fleet car lease is longer than your warranty then you may want to consider extending it. Most warranties are 3 years, but a fleet car lease can be longer. Whilst a warranty extension doesn’t cover everything that the normal warranty covers, it will help to avoid some unexpected heavy costs. It is also important to make sure each of your leased vehicles are serviced regularly at a franchised dealership to keep on top of any issues and this will often be agreed as part of your lease contract.

    Forethought and planning in advance of returning the vehicle is highly recommended. Before returning the vehicles for inspection, it is a good idea to inspect them yourself and take pictures of each panel, bumpers, alloy and interior with date stamps on which will help avoiding any potential disputes. If you do this well in advance then you will have time to arrange any necessary repairs and control the costs involved. The best way for you to avoid any charges up return of your lease vehicles is to get everything repaired prior to inspection.

    Should you have any disputes concerning any charges and feel that you are within the BVRLA guidelines then you can contact them directly and they will help with any conflict resolution, having the last say in this area.

    Finally, it goes without saying that it’s important to make sure that your fleet is correctly insured so any damage that is incurred to a leased vehicle in the event of an accident can be dealt with effectively and repaired with ease and speed.

    So what does fair wear and tear include?

    Fair wear and tear is basically any damage that is deemed commensurate with the mileage and age of the car. For example, small scratches and dents, light upholster, carpet and instrument wear are generally considered as expected.

    Acceptable wear and tear includes:

    • Scratches up to 25mm;
    • A scratch that does not interfere with the driver’s line of sight;
    • Scuffs on alloys up to 25mm;
    • Tyres should meet legal requirements;
    • Light staining to the driver seat;
    • Lens damage where there is no broken glass and no water ingress

    Any damage to the vehicle greater than this will be considered unacceptable and therefore chargeable come the end of the contract on your fleet car lease. It is best to consider that if there is anything that you would want flagging to you prior to buying a vehicle then it is likely that this will be considered unacceptable upon return and you should get it fixed.

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