TL;DR Everyone has a story about them (Or someone they know) returning a Leased vehicle. We are not surprised and we would like to hear it. If it's current we'd like to help for free.
When Matt and I started talking about the idea of wondle, we did it because of our experiences in renting and leasing vehicles. We both worked in the leasing and fleet management businesses for over 20 years which means we had our fair share of conversations about the process of returning leased vehicles going wrong or disappointing customers in some way.
But we also had our own first hand experience of returning vehicles, usually just a few months old. In our conversations about how difficult the process of returning vehicles was, we wondered why and what could be done about it. It was from these conversations that the idea for wondle was born.
We came to the conclusion that the problem was twofold. Firstly, it was psychological. The feelings of uncertainty, worry, lack of control, even suspicion. It does not feel like an equal transaction, the whole process feel like it is weighted towards the leasing company's advantage (by design or otherwise). Questions like
- Is the damage acceptable or not?
- Should I get the car repaired or just send back?
- Does what the collection agents say matter?
- What if damage occurs after it is collected?
- How much do leasing companies charge for damage?
- How can i dispute any charges if i feel they are unfair?
Secondly, it is an information problem, or you could say technical problem. There is a lot a driver would need to know in order to accurately assess the best course of action for end of contract damage. They would need to know the following at the very least.
- A working knowledge of the 22 page BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear Guidelines. This would allow the individual to be able to assess the damage of the vehicle and categorise into acceptable and unacceptable damage.
- An ability to accurately assess a vehicle with the correct measuring equipment and a technical opinion on which damage falls into what categories such as Scratch, Dent, Chip, Hole or Gouge, how many panels it runs across, what percentage of the panel is damaged.
- An understanding of which leasing companies publish the pricing matrix for unacceptable damage and which ones don't. For the ones that don't, a working understanding of the methodology that they would use to estimate the damage.
- An ability and expertise to produce images of sufficient quality and perspective in order to be able to ascertain the condition of the vehicle as it was collected and also in order to be able to contest any charges they thought to be unfair, too high or not caused by the driver. If the images are not good enough, they are worthless but how do you know?
- An ability to gain bodyshop or smart repair prices for repair to be able to assess the best course of action i.e 'Should i just send the damaged lease car back or get it repaired before hand?'
Does any of this ring true to you? Certainly, as we started to talk to people about this project we soon realised almost everyone had a story about this; or knew someone that did.
What is your story? we would love to hear it, and if it is still ongoing we may be able to help you, for free of course! Either way, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and i'll see what we can do.
In the mean time, we are close to finishing our wondle product. It solves all of the pain caused by the issues above and all it requires is literally a minutes work. (We are soooo excited!) If you want to get on the release list to be the first to see and and test the new product then just click this link and we will take care of it.