Anything from black puddings to underwear, embarrassing photos and even live animals have been left behind by business drivers.
The findings, revealed by Paragon Car Finance, also have a serious side as they highlight the potential for fleets to be fined for the extra costs of cleaning up cars before they can be sold at the end of their contract.
According to research for last year's FN50 list of the largest contract hire and leasing companies in the UK, published by Fleet News, fleets are exposing themselves to £90 million in damage recharges and excess mileage recharges when vehicles are returned. On average, 32% of returned leasing vehicles incur wear and tear re-charges of an average of £189 per car, although in some cases this can rocket to more than £610 per vehicle.
Industry experts say simple checks could remove some of the costs altogether.
Paragon carried out the survey as part of its customer feedback survey on fleet provision, which covers a variety of issues from manufacturer and model preference, service levels and customer requirement.
It comes as the British Vehicle and Rental Leasing Association has just released its new Fair Wear and Tear Guide in a bid to help cut down on confusion at the point of disposal (Fleet NewsNet, June 26), with part of it aimed at educating drivers as well as fleet managers.
have you forgotten something?
Fleet manager comments on the 20 strangest items drivers left in their cars:
1 A black bag full of garden waste
2 A black pudding
3 A box of condoms
4 A box of fish fingers, (three months past their sell by date) unbelievable odour and yet undetected by driver
5 A hamster cage complete with Snowy the hamster
6 A letter box unit
7 A 'No Parking' sign
8 A pack of Viagra pills
9 A pair of dirty pants in a child's bucket and spade set, belonging to driver's grandson
10 A pair of lady's tights holding up the spare wheel carrier under the boot of a Peugeot 206
11 A set of teeth marks in the steering wheel
12 An antique crossbow
13 Balaclava - The car had been stolen and used in a smash and grab raid. Possibly police missed it but it was on the back seat.
14 Bunch of flowers - with a note saying: 'Please take me away.'
16 Dead budgie all wrapped up and ready for burial
17 Box of dirty underwear (ladies) and some other 'unmentionables'
18 False teeth
19 Grass cuttings left in the boot
20 Ladies' underwear in men's sizes and photos of a rep in the nude on holiday