Returning a Leased Car


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By Crispin O'Toole-Bateman

on Thursday 14 March 2019


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After enjoying a few months or years behind the wheel of your shining leased car, it is finally the time to give it up and start again. Maybe you want to lease something new – have a bit of an upgrade, but you’ll be sad to lose the vehicle you had for all those months.

Only, what happens now?

What happens at the end of a car lease – how does car leasing work?

There are three main things to consider when ending your lease – whether you need to pay any money, how you get the car back to the dealer and what you want to do for your next car. You are likely to be contacted a month or two before the end of the lease so that these questions can be ironed out before the contract ends.

The financials – is there anything left to pay?

If you have a personal contract hire (or a business contract hire) then there’s likely nothing left to pay on the lease. You can return the car, shake hands and walk away.

If you have a personal contract purchase or hire purchase agreement, then there may be a balloon payment to mark the end of the lease and make you the official owner of the vehicle. With PCP this is optional, and four out of five people don’t choose to take it, whereas a HP agreement sets that balloon payment in stone and now’s the time to find it!

Lease car return charges – the extras!

There are two major areas where you might find yourself facing penalties to pay when returning your PCH lease car:

1 – Damage

When returning a leased car with damage that is beyond the fair wear and tear guidelines, you will be charged a fee to cover the cost of repairing that damage.

If possible, you should check your car thoroughly before the return date and get the damage repaired in your own time (make sure you check with the leasing company so that you use an approved repairer). This is bound to be less expensive than returning the car with the damage and paying the fees.

If that’s not possible, then expect a bill. When returning the car, a leased car inspection will take place and it’s very unlikely that any damage will be overlooked.

You can always request a copy of their fair wear and tear guidelines should you have any questions.

2 – Mileage

Car mileage is an important indicator to any future purchaser of the car and is a major factor in determining car value, so it is a key factor for the leasing company to take into account. If you have gone above your mileage allowance, you will have to pay a penalty for it. This may be as low as 5p per mile, or as high as 20p per mile depending on your car value and the contract (in some extreme cases it can be as much as £1 per mile!).

What are the options for returning a leased car? Do you have to return the car to the same dealer?

Depending on your contract, you can either return your leased car yourself or have it picked up. If you are getting another car under lease, then you can even arrange to have your new car delivered at the same time the old one is being collected. If you choose to return the car to the dealership, then you will need to call and check the details regarding the return with them.

In both cases, you will need to book your return. Contact the leasing company and make the arrangements with them. If you first got your car from us at Complete Leasing, then we will be happy to make the arrangement for your car return for you – just give us a call on 0800 080 7042!

In some cases, you will have two visits – one from the car inspector prior to pick-up, and a second for actual collection.

It is important that you give back the car and any items that go with it. This will include:

  • The service book, with all service detail properly filled out and stamped.

  • The operation manual that came with the car.

  • A valid MOT certificate if the car is more than three years old.

  • The complete set of keys to the car.

If you have the car V5 document (which is unlikely with the majority of leases) then this must be returned also.

Failure to return the car – problems with the leased car inspection and more

If you arrange for a collection and something occurs that means the car isn’t properly picked up, then you will incur a charge. Reasons might include:

  • The vehicle isn’t roadworthy – so much damage has been done that the inspection agent decided not to take the vehicle back.

  • Failure to return keys or other items – if you cannot provide everything the pick-up agent is looking for.

  • Missed appointment – if you are not there when the agent comes, and they are unable to pick up the vehicle.

If the car has been stolen, significantly damaged or worse then you will need to contact the leasing company and let them know the situation. Your insurance company should also be involved in helping cover the costs of the vehicle.

Ending a car lease early

If you have found yourself in financial difficulty, or there’s been a change in your life meaning you need to return the leased car early then you should contact the leasing company as soon as possible and discuss the situation with them.

For more information on what happens if you return a car before the lease is up, please read our article titled Ending a Vehicle Lease Early, or give us a call if you are having difficulties.

What next? – choosing your next car!

Of course, the end of one lease often means the beginning of another. You have enjoyed years of good service with one vehicle – maybe it’s time for an upgrade! At Complete Leasing we can help you choose your next car, whether you want to simply go for a new model of the car you have become used to, or want to try something radically new, we’re here to help you!

We have a massive range of cars from dealers across the UK, so don’t just jump into an offer with your previous leasing company as your contract draws to a close, give us a call to make sure you get the best deals and widest variety of options available.

If your lease is coming to its natural end, call us today and let us help you with another three or more years of glorious driving!

CALL US FREE ON
0800 080 7042
or CONTACT US NOW

Complete Leasing will find the best deal for you – get in touch with us today!


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