End of Contract Guide

If it’s getting towards the end of your leasing contract you will have lots of questions about the return of your vehicle, such as what is considered wear and tear, what to do before the vehicle is collected, damage charges and excess mileage.

Please find below some useful tips and information to help you prepare for collection of your vehicle.

What to do before the vehicle is returned

Fleet UK recommends that you check your vehicle around 10 to 12 weeks before it’s due to be collected by the BCA (British Car Auctions Limited) and identify any damage which doesn’t count as fair wear and tear and needs to be repaired.

Here’s a checklist of what to do when inspecting your vehicle:

  • Been washed
  • It’s meticulously clean
  • You’ve allowed time for it to dry, as water on the paintwork can cover faults
  • Choose a time and place with good light as this is how the BCA will inspect the vehicle. If you appraise your vehicle in poor light you risk missing some faults
  • Walk all around the vehicle and examine closely each panel, including the roof, bonnet, doors and body, for significant damage.  Observe where the light is reflected differently from any dents and scratches
  • Kneel or crouch at the front and rear of the vehicle and look along the bodyline on each side. This will assist you to see scratches and/or dents that may otherwise be difficult to see
  • Inspect lamps, windows, lenses and mirrors for chips, cracks and holes
  • Check tyres (including the spare) for damage. Also, check that the tread for each tyre is even
  • Inspect wheels, wheel trims and wheel spokes for scratches and deterioration
  • Inspect all controls, including audio equipment and accessories, making sure they are all present and functional
  • Clean the interior and valet
  • Check upholstered areas for odours, burns, tears, stains and wear
  • You have all sets of the car keys to hand

end of contract wash car

end of contract wash car

end of contract wash car

What is considered 'Fair Wear & Tear'?

The car should be returned to the BCA in line with the BVRLA (UK trade body for companies engaged with vehicle leasing or renting) as well as the BVRLA’s fair wear and tear guidelines for a lease car. Fleet UK recommends that car leasing drivers follow the guide below.

‘Fair wear and tear’ is considered as any satisfactory deterioration to your lease car or van which has occurred throughout the period of the leasing contract. 

You should not be charged for fair wear and tear damage. This includes damage to:

  • Tyres
  • Window glass
  • Bumpers
  • Interior

What are the potential damage  charges?

Your vehicle will be inspected for any damage that falls outside of what’s considered as ‘fair wear and tear’ by BCA (British Car Auction) either before or upon collection.

Fair wear and tear does NOT include damage that has occurred due to a specific event or a series of events such as:

  • Impact
  • Negligent acts or omissions
  • Harsh-treatment
  • Inappropriate stowing of items

While a lot of our customers haven’t paid end of lease penalty charges, some of the most common issues which have resulted in penalty charges include:

  • Missing sets of car keys
  • Missed services
  • Missing documentation
  • Damage to wheels due to kerbing
  • Windscreen chips
  • Scratches over 25mm (relative to the vehicle’s age and mileage)
  • Scratches under 25mm (where the primer and bare metal is showing)
  • Damaged or stained interior

car keys

car keys

car keys

Who will inspect and collect my lease vehicle?

Your vehicle will be inspected by BCA (British Car Auctions) either a few days before it’s due to be collected or they may inspect and collect the vehicle on the same day. BCA must advise you what to expect when the vehicle is collected.

It is recommended that you are present when the vehicle is collected.

At collection, you and the representative from the BCA must check and agree on the vehicle’s condition. All readily apparent damage to the vehicle will be noted on a vehicle collection sheet/hand-held device and both parties should sign the documentation or hand-held device.

If the vehicle cannot be inspected for any reason, due to poor weather or poor light, for example, you will be asked to agree to abandon the inspection and sign the condition report to that effect.

If the vehicle is not sufficiently clean to allow a detailed inspection, the collection process may need to be abandoned and a charge may be applied. You will be asked to agree to abandon the inspection and sign the condition report to that effect.

If BCA intends to charge you for damage or missing equipment when the vehicle has been inspected, you must be advised of those charges no later than four weeks after the vehicle was returned. BCA must provide you with a summary breakdown of the charges, an explanation of how the charges have been calculated and photographic/video or other documentary evidence supporting why the charges have been made. You will also be advised how you can query the damage charges made.

What to expect on collection day?

On the day of collection, the Collection Agent from BCA will check over the vehicle and record its condition and mileage on a Vehicle Condition form.

Please ensure you have all the following ready to hand over to the Collection Agent from the BCA:

  • Fully stamped service history
  • A valid MOT certificate (if applicable)
  • V5 document (only for PCP agreements, for personal contract hire the logbook is retained by the finance company)
  • Full set of car keys (including spares and master keys)
  • Operation manual (if applicable)

What if I have excess mileage?

You may incur excess mileage charges if the vehicle is returned with more mileage than what was agreed when you took out the leasing contract with the finance provider.

You can find out more about excess mileage charges in our guide here.

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