So, you’ve come to the decision that you want to lease your next car and that you want to use a leasing company to do so. What now? Well, now you have to choose which leasing company you’re going to go through.
But, how do you know you’re choosing the right company to lease from? We understand what a tough decision this can be so we’ve written an article on the things you should look for when you’re choosing a leasing company.
What accreditations should I look for when choosing a leasing broker?
A risk involved with leasing through a car broker is that they may not be reputable. However, this risk can easily be eliminated if you know what accreditations to look for. Here are some of the accreditations to look out for when choosing a leasing company:
Are they regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)?
It’s illegal for a broker to offer any finance quotes, advice or take an order to an individual, sole trader, or partnership company with less than 4 partners unless they are regulated by the FCA. It means that they have been fully vetted by the FCA and have deemed a trustworthy and stable organisation. Also, they must ensure they have fully qualified staff who have the knowledge in finance and insurance schemes depending on its permissions.
An FCA regulated company must ensure that their staff refreshes their knowledge frequently and keeps their qualifications updated.
They are also obliged to monitor their employees and ensure that there is no mis-selling or pressure selling. A company regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority will follow the ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ principles which mean that your rights as a customer are protected. If you have a complaint regarding the sale of your finance agreement, then in a worst case scenario you could escalate and regulated problems to the FCA, who will investigate. They also have the authority to close a business down if they are deemed to be mis-selling or failing to meet compliance standards.
A company should state that they are regulated by the FCA on their website, but if they don’t they are breaking the rules before they even start so beware, you can check any companies FCA credentials by going to https://register.fca.org.uk
Are they members of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association?
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) is the trade body for Vehicle Rental and Leasing in the UK. They set the pre-agreed standard for the condition of the vehicle on its return; this is called the BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear Guide.
All BVRLA leasing brokers must adhere to a Code of Conduct so you can benefit from the highest standard of service, fair terms and conditions and transparent and accurate information.
Members of the BVRLA are inspected to ensure that they keep to the BVRLA standards. This includes ensuring that they have all the required licenses and are operating from an established commercial place of business.
If you have a complaint about your leasing company, and you are not satisfied with how they resolve the issue, you can raise your complaint with the BVRLA, and they will investigate.
Are they Specialist Automotive Finance approved?
The SAF was introduced by the Finance and Leasing Association to help build confidence in the automotive industry. SAF Approved is awarded by the FLA to brokers and showrooms who have voluntarily put their staff through an online SAF test.
To become an SAF expert, you must pass their competence test. This test assesses staff knowledge of the available types of motor finance and regulations. The test must be retaken every 12 months to ensure that their knowledge is up to date.
All SAF Approved dealers are added to the FLA’s dealer directory which you can find here. By being SAF Approved, your leasing company are committed to treating their customers fairly.
If a leasing company has the qualifications I have mentioned above, then you know that you are speaking with someone who has a deep understanding of the motor industry and the finance options available to you. This will, in turn, save you money and trouble in the long run.
If you want to read more about the accreditations, then you can read our article on what accreditations you should look for in a leasing company.
How long have they been trading for?
20% of new businesses fail within the first year, and that number rises to 50% after three. There have been cases, in my experience, where brokers who haven’t been trading long have taken deposits and then folded, or even if they have not taken a deposit you will have to restart the whole order again with someone else.
An established leasing company will be financially stable and have more experience. Therefore, they will be able to provide you with great advice and a great deal for your situation.
You can check out how long a Limited Company has been trading here
Where are they located?
There are some vehicle brokers that are situated in their houses or their bedrooms. While there is nothing particularly wrong with this, it means that they probably don’t have an infrastructure of support you may need.
A broker that is located in a commercial place of business, as all BVRLA members are, you can be sure that they will have a more established network than if it’s just one person working out of a garage. If you’re unsure, look them up on Google Maps. A trustworthy, reputable broker will be in an office full of experienced staff and a wide support network. For example, you can find us on a business estate. Hello!
Are they transparent with price?
There will be some leasing companies that offer prices so amazing they seem too good to be true. Spoiler alert; they probably are. There are extra costs involved with leasing, and a good vehicle broker should be completely transparent when discussing this.
Some car brokers will say there is no admin fee. However, there is usually an extra cost down the line that will cover the admin fee, so always be wary of any potential extra costs. A good car broker will go through all of these with you before you sign anything. If they aren’t open about the price beforehand, then they probably aren’t trustworthy.
You can find out more about extra costs when leasing by reading our article on the hidden costs when leasing a car.
Are they listening to what you have to say?
Another thing to look out for when choosing a leasing company is how well they understand what you want.
A good vehicle broker will ask you lots of questions to try and fully understand your situation, and it’s important that they do this before trying to sell you anything.
You should be wary of any vehicle broker that tries to push a certain car or certain deal before they’ve asked you questions determining which deal would be best for you. The chances are they aren’t working in your best interests.
How many Finance Houses do they work with?
Before you choose a leasing company, you should find out how many finance houses they work with.
Why is this important? There will be a few brokers that work exclusively with a small selection of finance houses which mean that you may not get the best prices or options for your circumstances.
However, a broker that only has access to a few finance houses is not always a bad thing. If they have been trading for a long time and have built up a strong, established relationship with a finance house, then they may be able to get a better deal than those who have access to a wider network.
What customer service do they offer?
It’s important to note what sort of customer service a leasing company offers. For example, you should be able to contact your broker at all times (within reason), and they should have a support system in place to ensure that if there are any problems, they get sorted straight away.
You should also find out what sort of after care service they offer. A good vehicle broker should keep you updated on the status of your vehicle throughout the process and ensure that you are completely happy once it has been delivered.
So there are some of the things you should be looking for when choosing a vehicle broker. It’s really important that you choose a broker that is regulated and knowledgeable to ensure that they get the best deal for you.
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