Fleet Managers and drivers who opt to lease their cars could save themselves having to pay hundreds of pounds when they hand their keys back simply by seeking professional advice on minor damage and subsequent repairs.
That’s the view of Ian Pugh, managing director of Fix Auto. He says that many drivers of leased vehicles are not fully aware of the financial penalties that they or their companies face when handing back damaged vehicles, and believes the vast majority of damage could easily - and more importantly, cost effectively - be rectified.
The former technician who spent 15 years working in the insurance inspection and assessment sector, stresses that those drivers who are actually aware of the financial burden when handing back a lightly damaged vehicle all too often amplify their situation by using inexperienced repairers.
He said: “All too often, the first the driver or fleet manager becomes aware of the penalty he or she faces for damage is when they receive a bill - sometimes for hundreds of pounds - once they’ve handed their keys back.
“Leasing companies are lenient to general wear and tear, but their monthly rental is dependent upon the vehicle preserving a strong residual value, so there is a fine line as to what is or isn’t general wear.
“This can be clarified and rectified by simply having it inspected by a qualified and experienced bodyshop technician who’ll be able to provide an instant quote on bringing the vehicle back to showroom condition, if indeed any work is required.”
In order to combat the problem Fix Auto centres across the UK are providing services such as free defleet inspections, one day repairs and SMART repairs.
“All Fix Auto bodyshops are fully conversant with industry standard Fair Wear & Tear guidelines, and so are perfectly placed to advise on what does and doesn’t need rectifying.
“We have processes in place to turn around a repair, which includes re-spraying, in a matter of hours and even though we keep a vehicle’s downtime to a minimum, we recognise that it is crucial for the driver to maintain productivity.”