What you really think about returning your lease vehicle

26th Oct 2022

Here at wondle, we want to understand your experience of returning lease cars. We know from talking to lots of you individually that it's not always an easy process, so we decided to ask over 700 UK lessees what they thought of the whole thing. Read this short blog to find out if you relate to the five main findings.

85% of respondents already make some effort to assess the damage to their vehicle.

We were delighted to hear this; you mustn't be passive about the return of your vehicle. First, understand the extend of the damage and then assess your options; this ensures you will have access to the cheapest options. However, as you will see from our following findings, not all assessments are equal.

50% of respondents received a damage charge.

This is around the industry average as published by Fleet News, so it is not surprising. What is surprising and disappointing is that with so many people attempting to assess the damage, this level of charges shows that the efforts were wasted or they decided to accept any charge the lease sent (Which is not the smart move in most cases). Given the size of the penalties outlined below, we think the most likely explanation is that the self-assessment failed in providing the lessee with an accurate impression of the charges they were about to receive. This makes us more determined than ever to place wondle in the most hands we possibly can. Its capability to reduce the number of people this happens to in the future is what we are most excited about!

18% of respondents were charged between £500 and £1000.

Recharges of this size can almost always be reduced by getting the vehicle repaired before return, and at nearly a 1 in 5 chance, charges in this bracket are a significant risk. A further 20% got charges between £150 and £500 and 12% less than £150. In our experience, even if you THINK you will only get a minor recharge, by getting repaired by a guaranteed repairer, you cap your costs (As you can see from the Fair wear and tear guide, the tolerance is sometimes minuscule. For example, a dent becomes unacceptable up to 10mm but is OK at 9 mm; that takes some accurate measurement!). So by taking control of the situation, you reduce the risk of a higher recharge than you expected and increase your chances of staying within the acceptable damage threshold.

35% of respondents felt 'Uncertain' or 'Worried' about the return process.

We have to admit, we were expecting a result like this. It's why we started wondle in the first place. In contrast, only 5% of respondents stated they felt 'Confident'. It's not the lack of information available (The BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear Guides are widely available) but the difficulty in using it correctly and then the amount of work required in generating options so you can make an informed choice of what to do for the best. Without any doubt, starting to prepare at least six months before the return is the best way (you will see why in the point below). It does not have to take long (and in fact, with wondle, you do not have to 'know' anything, and it's pretty much effortless) but can save hundreds of pounds and hours of wasted time.


Many of you send lease vehicles back under contract mileage.

We didn't ask a specific question about this as we were not looking in this direction. Still, lots of you made unsolicited comments about the contrast between receiving a damage recharge bill for 'the impact on the resale value of the vehicle and the fact that the vehicle was sent back under the contracted mileage, therefore enhancing the resale value of the vehicle BUT receiving no compensation for this fact. This is technically correct according to most Personal Contract Hire contracts, although I think in the eyes of most independent observers would seem unfair. There is a way around this, but early action must be taken. Most leasing companies will 'rewrite' or 'reschedule' a contract BUT NOT within the last six months. You need to check your individual contract for the specific clause on your agreement.

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