What is a threshold?

The threshold can be the secret to saving money when returning a lease car.

A lease company has admin costs. They have to pay somebody to send out a bill, they have to pay for somebody to chase  the money, they even have to pay for payment processing. On top of that, they have to assume that some people will dispute the charges  and tie up their phone lines while they put up a fight. 

They also realized that recharges make customers unhappy, especially if they are seen as being petty.

The lease company is there to make profit, and they will have calculated all this and figured out that if the damage and devaluation to your car is under a certain figure, it just isn't worth sending you a bill for it.

They didn't tell you that, did they? But I think you'll agree that it's useful to know!

You can ask your lease company what the threshold is, some will tell you, some may not. We have even seen companies advertising on the fact that they have a high threshold. So it could be between £200 and £400.

Armed with this information, we can entirely alter our strategy when returning a lease car and save you money.

If you are faced with a car with half a dozen bits of damage, the conventional wisdom is to tackle the big, expensive problems first, such as a set of scuffed wheels.  And then tackle all the of the cheaper problems.

However, if you have a rough idea of what the lease company's threshold is, it is possible to just do the cheaper repairs and have the expensive repairs fall under, thus avoiding any penalties at all.

Of course, it also helps if you have a list of charges or have a good idea what is expensive and what is cheap. To have a set of wheels refurbished yourself is quite expensive, because the wheel company will  do a proper job and charge you retail prices. While the cost of recharge is often based on the trade price. 

Conversely, if your high heels have worn a hole in the carpet under the accelerator, to pay to have a repair for this is relatively cheap, but the recharge would mostly likely be to cover the cost of a new carpet. They may even include the cost of having the car stripped out to fit it. 

There's more...

It is, worth remembering that the lease inspector who will be examining your car is not working off of the matrix of charges, nor is he concerned about thresholds. He is just listing damage as he sees it. Although there are standards which are supposed to take all subjectivity out of the process, lease inspectors are human and have biases. If a car is generally in very good condition, they might be a little more generous in the way they record what they find. A mark on the roof might be borderline, and they might feel it would be a shame to make too much of it on an otherwise good car. However, if they are approaching a car with scuffed wheels and a dented bumper, that borderline mark is just another thing to add to the list.


Written by Danny Argent. Last updated 16/06/2022 15:51