Leasing for both fleet and private vehicles is becoming more and more popular, as it offers both companies and drivers a number of benefits.
We’ve got a separate guide for businesses on the options available at the end of a company car lease, but this guide is designed to help drivers understand everything they need to know about the returns process.
If your company car is managed through Wessex Fleet we will be here to help you every step of the way and our Customer Services Team is available on 01722 322 888 or firstname.lastname@example.org to help you at any point in the journey.
There may be some occasions when the funder needs to speak to a representative from your company, whether it's you as the driver or your internal fleet manager, but we will let you know if this is ever the case and provide you with the necessary contact details.
What Happens at the End of a Car Lease Agreement?
If your company car is a lease vehicle then at the end of the lease you will need to arrange for your vehicle to be collected if you have not made alternative arrangements such as an extension to the agreement. If your company car is managed by us then we will be in touch towards the end of your contract to see what you want to do at the end of the contract but otherwise you will need to contact your fleet manager or the lease funder directly to arrange for it to be returned.
Below we've looked at the main options available when you reach the end of a lease agreement.
Delivery of a New Vehicle
If your existing vehicle is being collected and you have a replacement company car coming then we can arrange for collection and delivery to occur on the same day.
Because the new vehicle will be delivered from the supplying dealership and the current vehicle will be collected by a company on behalf of the lease funder we unfortunately cannot arrange for these to happen at the same time of the day for you.
If you have a new vehicle coming but it’s not ready to be delivered before the end of your current contract then the business may choose to extend your current vehicle lease. Some funders will allow a six or 12 month formal extension or an informal one that’s for an undetermined time depending on the situation.
Please be aware that your business might choose not to have an informal extension as there is usually a change to the monthly rentals due to the initial payment not being taken into account as it is with the contracted payments.
What is the Best Option at the End of a Car Lease?
It depends on your circumstances as to what the best option at the end of the lease is for you, and if it is a company vehicle then it will also depend on your company's fleet policy and the options they allow you to explore.
If we manage your company's fleet vehicles then we will be in touch to discuss your options at the end of the agreement but you can also reach out at any time to talk about what you want to do at the end of an agreement.
Can You End a Car Lease Early?
Technically, yes you can end a lease agreement early. However, in order to return the car before the end of the contract, the funder will charge you an early termination fee. If you are driving a company car then this fee will be charged to your company and so they will be the ones who have to authorise the early termination.
Collection of a Company Car
At the end of the lease, whether it is extended beyond the contractual period or not, the vehicle will need to be returned to the funder.
We will usually get in touch with your internal fleet manager about six months prior to the end of your lease but we may still ask them or you as the driver to contact us directly closer to the end of the agreement, especially if you will not be getting a replacement company vehicle.
Most funders will require around a week’s notice in order to arrange collection but depending on demand at the time they may be able to arrange it slightly sooner or need to assign you the next available collection after the requested date.
When it is time to arrange collection please contact our Customer Services Team on 01722 322 888 or email@example.com.
In order to arrange collection for you we will need the below information:
- The vehicle registration
- The current mileage
- Your preferred collection date
- The collection address
- The collection contact’s name and contact number
- An email address to send the confirmation to
If the lease is funded by manufacturer finance then this may be one of the times that the funder needs to speak to a representative of your business directly, but if this is the case we will let you know.
Vehicle Return Condition
Alongside collection will be a vehicle inspection. This may be done by the collection agent but could also be completed by a separate agent earlier in the day.
Once the inspection has been completed then the agent will have a report that they will go through with the collection contact. They can then add any additional comments they have or ask any questions on the agent’s report that they may have. The delivery contact will then be asked to sign to confirm the inspection has been carried out.
Following collection of the lease vehicle, the inspection report is sent onto the lease funder and anything noted on the report will be compared to their fair wear and tear guidelines.
As part of the contract for the lease your business agrees to return the vehicle in a condition in line with the BVRLA’s fair wear and tear guidelines. Fair wear and tear refers to any acceptable deterioration of the vehicle’s condition due to the expected normal use of the vehicle, taking into account its age, mileage, and whether it’s been suitably cared for during the lease.
Fair wear and tear does not cover any damage as a result of a specific event or series of event, or harsh treatment, negligent acts or omissions by the driver.
Each funder has its own return guidelines that are based on and comply with the BVRLA’s guidelines but there may be some slight variation between them. We can get a copy of the return guidelines from the funder for your vehicle if you would like to see them please just ask.
Most of our funders will provide a copy of these guidelines when they confirm the collection for you.
Private Plates and Returns
If you or your business have put a personalised number plate on the vehicle you will need to arrange for this to be removed before the vehicle is collected.
We’ve got a full guide to personalised registrations here but in order for you to keep the personalised registration you will need to arrange for it to be removed and put onto retention.
Most funders will not collect the vehicle if this process has not been completed and an age-related plate returned to the vehicle.
We can help you with this process but please note that depending on the DVLA’s timeline this can take up to six to eight weeks to complete so we advise getting in touch plenty of time before the end of the contract.
If you are a fleet manager then you might also find this guide useful as it looks at the end of the lease from the company's perspective.