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Damian James' Blog: 20 July 2009 - Desperate times

Date: 20 July 2009

Damian James is Head of Transport Provision for Bracknell Forest Council and a technology champion

I know things are hard at the moment and we are all struggling to make extra savings where we can but in my book that doesn't give anyone the right to be dishonest.

I'm talking about certain leasing companies and end of lease condition on vehicles. I have really noticed this year that the vehicle inspectors when they come are taking a lot longer and being much more careful about vehicle conditions.

Now I'm not saying that's a problem because they are perfectly entitled to crawl all over my returning vehicles. What I have noticed is that the charges have increased and are becoming more consistently applied. In the old days some inspectors would shrug their shoulders and ignore minor faults. These are now listed out in detail and priced up.

The really annoying thing is that we all know the faults won't be fixed prior to going for auction. Commercial vehicle buyers at auction are not going to expect a six-year old vehicle to be pristine after all.

To me that means that the leasing company gets paid twice. Once from me for the damage and then again when the vehicle is sold at auction.

The other practice that's starting to creep in with some companies is that they are automatically charge for vehicle collection without checking the original agreement. Often this has already been paid for as part of the lease but this 'accidental slip' is now more and more being included on the invoice so it is up to me to get a credit note raised. If I wasn't so careful I may well end up paying a lot more for something I have already paid for.

This smacks of dishonesty to me and certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth!