Do the lease company make mistakes?
The lease company can make mistakes, as can collection drivers and the lease inspectors.
There are procedures in place to make sure things run smoothly and are fair, but it tends to be the case that when things go wrong, it rolls down hill and ends up on your doorstep.
If a driver is collecting the car, he will do a basic condition report (as we do) which is just a quick look around the car to note any obvious signs of damage. However, this isn't a thorough inspection. The car is then usually taken to the auction, where it might sit in their car park for days before an inspector comes to do his report.
It is possible things can happen between you relinquishing the car and the inspection. We have had some enquiries from people that claim they have been charged for damage that is on the car that wasn't there when they handed it over. We can only take their word for it and at this stage in the process, there isn't much we can do to help. Unless you document the condition of your car shortly before you hand over, and take enough photos and videos to serve as evidence in your dispute, then the lease company are holding all the evidence.
Our reports have been used to successfully dispute recharges. The lease inspector who documents the condition of the car doesn't make decisions on what to charge, that is done by somebody sitting in an office looking at photos. Sometimes the lease inspector's photos might show something in a bad light that makes it look worse than it is. Our photos and our report might, for example, note a piece of damage as slight and superficial, whereas they are looking at a photo which makes it look serious. They will generally err on the side of caution and charge for the worst case. Providing them with your own photos and report may change their mind.
We have also had our customers billed for things like missing wheel nut keys, because the inspector was looking for it in the boot, while it was in the glove compartment. Our video showing that it was in the car saved the customer a £500 charge.
Another thing that seems to cause disputes is not getting things in writing. We have heard of people calling the lease company and asking whoever answers the phone for an opinion. Everybody has an opinion, that doesn't mean it's correct. Complaining that you talked to Polly, and Polly said you wouldn't get charged doesn't carry much weight, especially if Polly's advice was less than stellar. Always try to back up phone calls with an email and if possible photos and videos.
Lease companies can make mistakes. But generally they are very good, and they certainly aren't out to get you.
Written by Danny Argent. Last updated 16/06/2022 15:51