If you are looking to pursue a leasing transaction online, do ensure you carry out some basic steps to guarantee a positive (and safe) experience: Check out the following how to guide before choosing your next car lease partner.

  1. FCA – the Financial Conduct Authority regulate the financial services market to protect consumers, enhance market integrity and promote competition. Every finance company and credit broker you will work with should be authorised and regulated with the FCA. In their communication with you, there will be an “FRN” number, which you can use in conjunction with their register (see https://register.fca.org.uk). It would be extremely rare for an institution offering any form of financial services not to be able to provide this number. As such, if you have an instance where it is not available, ask them to provide confirmation as to why this is the case. If they appear to be a smaller and less-known business, consider whether you wish to pass your details to them;
  1. Companies House – for more diligent customers, they may want to check the status of the company at Companies House (https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk). Again, many institutions offering financial services will be a limited company. As such, they are obligated by law to set out their registered address, director details, shareholder details and yearly accounts. For customers looking to establish a meaningful relationship, they may want to ascertain the credit broker/finance company is able to meet their needs and requirements. For example, if a broker has only been trading for 1 year or if their registered address shows as a residential property, consider if they are a worthwhile relationship. You can always check that they have a valid VAT number too – any business with a taxable turnover exceeding £85,000 requires this.
  1. BVRLA – our industry ombudsman, the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association is the UK trade body for companies engaged in vehicle rental, leasing and fleet management. By working with the BVRLA, customers have reassurance that they company they are working with are providing a professional service. All BVRLA members must adhere to a mandatory code of conduct, welcome regulation inspections/audits and make their government approved dispute resolution service available to customers. Every major finance company and credit broker will be a member of the BVRLA and must show their membership number on emails/websites. To check this number is accurate, go to the BVRLA website (see https://www.bvrla.co.uk/membership/member-directory.html);
  1. ICO – the Information Commissioner’s Office is an independent body which has been set up to uphold information rights for individuals businesses. With a head office in Wilmslow (Manchester), the institution has created a register to monitor and regulate anyone involved with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the recently introduced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). To ensure you are working with a complaint business, do check they appear on the register – their website or communication should clearly display a number for you to check (see https://ico.org.uk/esdwebpages/search);
  1. Online “Independent” Reviews – a new industry has emerged offering genuine and independent review services for online customers. Well-known brands such as Trustpilot and Feefo now operate independent review website which allows businesses to collect genuine reviews. These reviews can be used for other customers to make a decision as to whether or not they wish to use the company. Internal testimonials are only so useful, as there is no way in which this can be verified. Any business with a genuine external review website is “putting themselves out” into the world and anyone can comment on their experience.

If you follow one, or all, of the above, your limit any risks or fraud, which can occur in online transactions. Over the last 5 years’ our industry has developed incredibly and the standards that many of our businesses operate are incredibly high. This produces a safe, complaint and professional environment for customers to operate in. For more info on leasing a car check out our Help and Advice pages or be sure to read our blog for reviews and car news. You can also contact a member of the leasing team to talk more about our lease company.

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