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Activa puts focus on tackling issue of end-of-contract damage charges

The firm says that it works pro-actively with fleet managers to avoid and minimise de-fleet charges in the first place, and when damage is incurred it adopts a careful, fair and open policy that ensures any costs are fully justified and fair and reasonable in view of the age and mileage of the vehicle. 

The business, a division of Arnold Clark Finance Ltd, is highlighting its end-of-contract damage strategy after company chiefs led by managing director Ian Hill attended a recent ACFO seminar, which saw end-of-contract vehicle damage charges highlighted as the “cause of the biggest degree of conflict” between fleets and leasing companies. 

Martin Hughes, remarketing manager at Activa Contracts, highlighted several key steps in the company’s procedures that illustrate its cooperative approach. This includes assessing vehicles in a controlled environment by qualified, independent vehicle appraisal experts to ensure a consistency of standards. Where chargeable items are shown on the appraisal, the vehicle is not moved, repaired or sold and no invoice raised for damage until the full agreement of the customer is obtained for the proposed charges. 

And in the event of a difference of opinion remaining between Activa and the client, a member of the remarketing team will return with the vehicle to the customer to agree a mutually acceptable resolution. 

One of the most common end-of-contract damage recharges levied by Activa Contracts is in respect of bumper damage to the four corners of a vehicle and for this reason, customers are encouraged to specify parking sensors where these are an option as they can effectively become self-financing. Other avoidable charges highlighted by Activa Contracts were for windscreens, whereby unrepaired eye-line chip and cracks de-laminate and lead to the need for replacement and alloy wheel scuffs that result from ultra-low profile tyres being specified. 

Hughes concluded: “We consider our approach to end-of-contract damage recharges to be a part of our customer relationship building process. Whilst we do need to be able to recover the impact of damage on the resale values of our vehicles caused by unfair wear and tear, we do not seek to profit from customer recharges.” 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.