When you return a vehicle to a leasing or finance provider, they expect it to have been used and maintained as outlined in your agreement. This includes the car, along with any equipment and accessories. If your vehicle isn’t in the agreed condition, you will be charged to compensate the company for the cost of repairing the vehicle or replacing missing parts, like keys, wheel jacks or the service history.

Fair wear and tear should be excluded; it’s expected that reasonable deterioration will occur during your agreement. If you notice damage beyond this, you can arrange to have the repairs done yourself, so long as they are conducted by a credible trader in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines. In doing so, you can ensure their work is under warranty.

Understanding the end of contract process

Car seller with car buyer looking at electronic tablet

When signing a lease or rental agreement, you should have the end of contract process explained to you. This must cover the expected condition of the vehicle, the presence of accessories (such as keys) and any obligations for care, servicing and maintenance.

The leasing or finance provider should also advise on what to expect at the end of the contract. For example, they will inform you whether the vehicle will be collected or should be dropped off, and whether an inspection and report will be conducted at your home/premises, or at their nominated site.

If these expectations are not outlined when taking out your agreement, you could have grounds to contend damage recharges on this basis, we can help.

What is fair wear and tear?

Fair wear and tear means reasonable deterioration that occurs over the course of an agreement due to normal use of the vehicle within the pre-determined mileage allowance.

Damage that occurs due to a specific event does not fall within this remit; negligence, harsh treatment, inappropriate use, accidents and failure to service will be subject to damage charges. They should be addressed accordingly before returning the vehicle.

Before returning your vehicle, download our friendly help sheet that will help understand what you may or may not be charged for, it's free!

Insurance agent recording car damage on claim form

Returning your vehicle

At the end of your contract, you may decide it’s time to return your vehicle. If you decide to have repair work conducted before the end of contract inspection, make sure you leave adequate time to do so, and choose your garage carefully. You will be responsible for the standard of these repairs; poor workmanship could leave you vulnerable.

When you return your vehicle, it will be assessed for damage by an inspector. We recommend that you are present during the inspection, allowing you to point out any damage and contend anything that existed when you first collected the car. They will then let you know about issues that fall beyond the limits of fair wear and tear, and send you an invoice for compensation.

This is where we come in: if you’ve been hit by an unexpected bill, let our experts assess your case, it's free to review your case. If we can’t reduce your bill, we won’t charge you a penny.

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