When you’re getting a new car, it’s completely understandable to be worried that you won’t be happy with your order. Maybe you’re dealing with a new supplier, or going for a different brand or car to your usual choice. So, you might be concerned that you’re going to be unhappy with what you receive. What do you do?
We get that things can change, and there’s nothing worse than being tied to an order for a new car that no longer meets your preferences.
At OSV, we have been supplying cars since 1997 and have experience in advising customers on what to do if they are no longer happy with their order. So we thought we would write an article to assist you with how to handle this potentially tricky situation.
What should I check before buying a new car?
Firstly, we would recommend that you reduce your risk of needing to change your order, before you make your order. This can be done by making sure you take the time to make the right choices in the first place, without being rushed or pressurised.
The industry is fast moving, and several deals are subject to being done within a set timeframe. However, don’t let attractive pricing be your sole factor for this decision.
What research should I do before buying a new car?
Like with any purchase, you should do your research first. Some of the things you might want to look for are:
- Performance of the car
- Size – particularly boot space
- Internal features and specification
- What insurance group it is in
- Company car tax bracket if you are going through a business (read our article on company car tax here)
- Length of the warranty
- CO2 emissions
- Safety features
And anything else you think is relevant. If you’re unsure where to start, have a look at the car you have now and think about what you like and dislike about it. That way you have some basis for when you start looking for a new car.
How important is it that I test drive my new car?
If you are going for a completely different car to any you’ve had before, then we strongly recommend you test drive the car before you make a decision. Otherwise, how do you know it’s right for you?
We understand that lives are significantly busier now than they ever have been, and test driving a car can seem like a lot of effort. However, we still recommend you do so. You never know, your dream car could be awful to drive.
How can I avoid hidden charges when getting a new car?
Cancellations can often come at a cost, and not every supplier will make this transparent and clear for you.
No matter how good the deal sounds, be sure to get everything in writing and know exactly what you are signing up for. You need to check:
- How much is payable upfront
- When is the first payment due
- What are your rights with regard to cancellation
- What the cancellation process is
- How much the cancellation will cost
While it may seem tempting to charge ahead with the order of your dream car, you can still move quickly while checking everything thoroughly before you sign anything. All you have to do is ask the right questions and be sure you understand everything fully before you proceed.
If you want to find out more about extra costs when leasing a car you can do so here.
Which car finance method should I choose?
In our experience, one of the main reasons customers want to cancel their contract is because they have a lack of understanding about either the car or the terms of the contract.
Some contracts give you the option to own at the end, some are designed for you to simply hand the car back. We aren’t going to go into these now, that’s a whole different section of the site so if you do want to find out more head to our finance options page.
Your supplier should understand what you need from your contract but you should also do your own research first. You can download our ultimate vehicle guide here for everything you need to know on all the finance options available to you.
What should I look for in the terms and conditions of my order?
You need to check the terms and conditions of your order very carefully. Some of the things you should look out for are:
- Warranty information
- For example, how long you are covered for
- Length of the contract
- Do they include or exclude VAT?
- Exact car and specification
- Check the exact name of the colour, there can be several variations.
- Cancellation costs and process
- Type of agreement
- How much is payable now
While all of this seems pretty standard, we have heard some stories about customers that have signed orders (elsewhere of course, not OSV) based on phone conversations and then have been tied into something they don’t want. Don’t forget that when you speak to a supplier, you may discuss many choices. And therefore, mistakes can happen. So to avoid disappointment or any problems, get everything in writing and check it thoroughly.
Can I cancel my order for my lease car?
The rules about cancellation vary but essentially, yes you can cancel. Whether you incur a financial penalty depends on your circumstances.
If you are a ‘regulated’ customer, you will have the benefit of a 14 day cooling off period. However, it should be noted here that this does not cancel your car. The cooling off period allows you to change finance agreements if you change your mind. For example; if you have ordered a car on a personal contract hire but you decide after a week that you might want the option to own it at the end, you can ask your finance house to change your agreement to a personal contract purchase.
How do I know if I am regulated?
You are regulated if you are a private individual, sole trader or partnership with less than 4 partners. This is according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
If you are unregulated then you will not have the 14 day cooling off period. You are unregulated if you are a Ltd. Business or a partnership with 4 partners. This means that once you sign, your order stands. If you cancel after the point of order you will likely incur cancellation charges.
How much will it cost to cancel my lease car?
Cancellation charges vary depending on where you source the car and how far into the process you are.
Firstly, always make sure your supplier has been transparent about this. If they have not stated anything about cancellation on the order form, this is risky.
The factors that contribute to how much you will pay in cancellation fees include:
- How unique the car is
- How easy it is to re-sell
- If the car has a confirmed build slot
- If the car is in stock
- How much your monthly payments are expected to be
- This is because cancellation charges are sometimes calculated by the monthly payments. For example, a potential charge could be 3 times the monthly rental)
If your order is further down the line or:
- The pricing has been secured and the car cannot be resold at the same price
- If the car is in stock on the forecourts
Then this will affect the cost of your cancellation.
This can easily be avoided by making careful decisions. If you do think you might want to change something, then you need to do this as early as possible.
What protection do I have if I cancel my lease car?
If you are a regulated customer, then you are protected by the FCA rules and the treating customers fairly principles.
There are other ways to ensure that you will be protected, but you must look out for these before you order your car. Your broker should be a member of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (the BVRLA) and the FCA. For more information you can read our article on accreditations you should look for when choosing a vehicle broker.
Ultimately, the best thing to do is to avoid the situation before it happens. Check things carefully, ensure that you understand everything in your contract. However, if you are unhappy with your order when it arrives, there are steps you can take. But we cannot speak for every broker so what happens when you want to cancel your order depends entirely on who you choose to go through.
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