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How to Avoid Charges When You Return The Keys

How to Avoid Charges When You Return The Keys
© Provided by Motoring Research

From: Motoring Research

Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) and Personal Contract Hire (PCH) have enabled millions of motorists to drive a new car. The finance schemes have gained popularity in recent years, with more than 90 percent of new private vehicles now bought this way.

There is a catch, however. At no point, unless you pay the ‘balloon’ fee at the end of the agreement, do you own the car on your driveway. You eventually have to give it back and, for many people, that means unexpected costs. We look at the reasons for these – and how to avoid them.

If you’re unclear on how the different finance options work, check out of our handy guide.

This article was produced with help from DMN, a logistics company that completes thousands of car leasing inspections and collections every year.


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Condition and equipment

Just as you wouldn’t buy a dirty car that was missing pieces of trim or equipment, nor does a dealer want to take one back. Make sure your car is clean and complete on hand-back day.

For starters, you could face a car cleaning bill of around £50. Spare keys and tyre inflation kits commonly incur fines if missing, too. A lost key could set you back £250 or more, while a missing tyre inflation kit might see you fined £120.

Another common item that people remove from their cars, never to return, is the parcel shelf. Supply the car with this fitted or face a potential £100 fine.



Stamp that service book

Most of us would avoid buying a car without a proper record of servicing. It will thus reduce the car’s value – and cost you money at handover – if maintenance hasn’t been kept to the manufacturer’s schedule.

Charges begin in the hundreds of pounds for returning a lease car that hasn’t been serviced as required.



Don’t pile on the miles

Most, if not all, PCP and PCH contracts come with a mileage limit. Whether your annual mileage ‘spend’ is 5,000 or 15,000, you will feel the pinch if you exceed it.

Charges per excess mile can range from 4p to 72p, depending on the car, according to Parkers. That means a 10,000-mile per-year contract that you’ve exceeded by 6,000 miles could cost between £240 and £4,320.

Follow the above advice and you should be fine. Keep the car clean and serviced, give it back without anything missing and watch your mileage.

To be extra sure – and this should go without saying – read the terms of your finance agreement very carefully. Do so well in advance, so you have time to prepare your car for its return.

“Experience tells us people often neglect the same things when it comes to end of vehicle contracts, which can often end up costing them unnecessarily,” says Nick Chadaway of DMN.

“It’s these small details which, potentially, can add up to costly outlays. With a little bit of foresight and planning, these pitfalls can be easily avoided, saving drivers both money, time and stress.”

See more at Motoring Research

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Autos Magazine: How to Avoid Charges When You Return The Keys
How to Avoid Charges When You Return The Keys
Additional fees can be a nasty surprise when you return a car at the end of a PCP finance deal. Here are some actionable tips to avoid them.
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