Activa Contracts has become one of the first contract hire and leasing companies to publish its own end-of-contract vehicle wear and tear guide.
The company says this initiative will allow it to offer greater transparency for the often contentious issue of damage charges on company cars and vans.
Its ‘Wear and Tear Guide’ is initially being made available to customers online, but printed copies will be distributed as new vehicles are delivered to fleet drivers.
Milton Keynes-based Activa Contracts, a division of Arnold Clark Finance, will continue to use the long-established British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association’s (BVRLA) ‘Fair, Wear and Tear Guide’ as the basis for deciding whether or not end-of-contract damage charges should be levied.
However, Activa Contracts’ remarketing manager Martin Hughes has introduced the new guide to supplement the BVRLA document and to provide more clarity on the company’s interpretation of fair wear and tear in respect of some areas of damage.
He said two common examples which he believes illustrate this are:
- The BVRLA guide states that any chips or scratches on a windscreen are unacceptable, but providing that these are very minor and not in the line of sight, they would not normally be regarded as chargeable by Activa Contracts.
- Wheel rim damage in excess of 50mm over the entire circumference of a wheel is deemed to be chargeable under BVRLA guidelines, but Activa Contracts feels that this is somewhat harsh and that a little more leeway should be given.
Hughes said: “We want drivers to think about looking after their car from day one.
"By distributing the guide to drivers we hope to alert them to the end-of-contract damage issue and change views.”
He added: “Well over a third of all vehicles returned to Activa Contracts incur no charges whatsoever and we want to see that figure increase further.
"We very rarely have a dispute with a customer over the validity or the cost of damage recharges because our process is so transparent and reasonable."
Activa Contracts is also developing a smartphone app that will enable fleet managers and drivers to photograph vehicle damage and submit pictures asking for a decision as to whether or not a charge will be levied.