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De-lease checks to rise

Date: 09 June 2008   |   Author:

David Mercer

Remarketing specialist Manheim is building for a rapid expansion of its vehicle inspection business, with 55,000 pre-defleet inspections expected this year.

The firm is working with 20 companies across the rental, leasing and finance arena, inspecting cars when they're collected from the driver so both parties can agree on any damage caused during the term of the contract.

"It's aimed at getting a signature on a hand-held computer at the point of defleet so the client agrees to the charges and damage," said Manheim's managing director of defleet services David Mercer. "Then there can be no arguments that the damage happened later. If you have a gap between the inspection and when the customer last saw the car, it raises a doubt." The check takes 20-25mins a vehicle, and is backed up with photo evidence and a driver signature to agree to the state of the vehicle. Charges are typically £300 a vehicle, though some can be double that. "It's all about managing the cost of remarketing," he said.

There can be some resistance, with leasing companies' clients and drivers predictably unhappy about being hit by extra charges traditionally just swallowed by leasing firms. "There is a backlash from the client, the complaint comes with the fact that a bill is generated," said Mercer. To counter this, Manheim is talking to leasing firms about conducting inspections 60 days before the end of the contract to give clients a chance to rectify damage.