Activa Contracts launches new 'wear and tear' guide to target greater transparency
The ‘Wear and Tear Guide’ is initially being made available to customers online, but printed copies will be distributed as new vehicles are delivered to company car and van drivers
Milton Keynes-based Activa Contracts, a division of Arnold Clark Finance Ltd, will continue to use the long-established British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association’s (BVRLA) ‘Fair, Wear and Tear Guide’ as the basis for deciding whether or not end-of-contract damage charges should be levied.
However, Activa Contracts’ remarketing manager Martin Hughes has introduced the new guide to supplement the BVRLA document and to provide more clarity on the company’s interpretation of fair wear and tear in respect of some areas of damage.
"Quite rightly, the BVRLA guide states that any chips or scratches on a windscreen are unacceptable, but providing that these are very minor and not in the line of sight, they would not normally be regarded as chargeable by Activa Contracts," he said.
"Wheel rim damage in excess of 50mm over the entire circumference of a wheel is deemed to be chargeable under BVRLA guidelines, but Activa Contracts feels that this is somewhat harsh and that a little more leeway should be given."
Activa Contracts’ guide highlights that it wants fleet decision-makers and drivers to ask themselves when assessing the condition of a vehicle at contract end: “Would I buy this vehicle in its current condition if it was for sale on a forecourt.”
The guide continues: “If the answer to that question is an honest ‘yes’ then it’s likely that there will be no need for end-of-contract recharges.”
In urging the return of vehicles in the “best condition possible”, Activa Contracts believes the process starts from the time a new vehicle is delivered.
Mr Hughes said: “We want drivers to think about looking after their car from day one. By distributing the guide to drivers we hope to alert them to the end-of-contract damage issue and change views.”
He continued: “Well over a third of all vehicles returned to Activa Contracts incur no charges whatsoever and we want to see that figure increase further. We very rarely have a dispute with a customer over the validity or the cost of damage recharges, because our process is so transparent and reasonable.
“We are more understanding of our customers’ perspective than many other leasing companies are and the policies and processes that we adopt in dealing with refurbishment costs ensure that we simply do not get into dispute in this area.”
The 10-page guide, which includes a 28-point vehicle appraisal check list, highlights that while it is almost impossible to avoid stone chips and bumper scuffs measures can be taken to prevent such damage occurring.
For example, in respect of avoiding stone chips it urges drivers to keep their distance from the vehicle ahead, which may also help avoid an accident; and suggests that bumper scuffs could be avoided through the use of parking sensors or assisted parking systems.
Activa Contracts is also developing a smart phone app that will enable fleet managers and drivers to photograph vehicle damage and submit pictures asking for a decision as to whether or not a charge will be levied.