Before a recent customer utilised the CarLease UK team, they had operated with another provider who had caused a few issues for them (both for the business and their personal vehicles).

When a customer does have an issue with their finance provider/credit broker there is a big question to ask – how do I complain about the car leasing experience?

As a starter, every business must operate a complaints procedure/complaints register which must be easily accessible to all customers. The process must set out how a customer can make a complaint (being any expression of dissatisfaction), when they should make a complaint and how they should complain. The process should also describe what obligations are on the finance company/broker to resolve the situation. At the heart of every institution is a necessity to “treat customers fairly”. This doesn’t mean that customers have a right to get their own way (contrary to popular belief), it’s about demonstrating a culture where your processes, infrastructure and decision are about delivering a professional and responsible experience to the customer.

What happens if I am dissatisfied with the complaints process? Apparently 9 out of 10 people are satisfied with their banks, insurers and finance companies and would suggest that most of their transactions proceed without issue. However, where the business cannot resolve the situation within the allotted time using their complaints procedure (eight weeks), then the customer may choose to go the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS will listen to accounts from both parties and will essentially provide advice or decisions based on the information before them. Do note, that the FOS will expect all of the matters discussed to be written down/recorded; hearsay and conjecture are not readily admissible evidence. For a business with 25 complaints, or more, FOS will charge £550 per complaint. Bear in mind that 80% of the fees are paid by the top five bank and insurances companies. For more information, please contact the FOS on 0207 964 1400.

When can a customer complain about their lease? A customer has six years from the initial agreement date / three years from the cause of the complaint / six months from the date of the final response to make a complaint.

What about the Consumer Rights Act 2015? This is a different aspect entirely. This legislation is there is protect a consumer – being an individual activing wholly or mainly outside of a trade, business, craft or possession. The CRA provides a customer with a 30-day period to return “faulty goods” and obtain a full refund (such refund to be received within 14 days). Although there is one right to repair within the initial 6-month period following a purchase.

The key points to note is that customers do a have a raft of processes and regulations which protect them against those companies who do not operate the correct standards. However, customers can be heartened by the fact that most businesses do operate to the highest of standards. Many of us form part of the BVRLA, an ombudsman who ensures we operate in a professional and legal format. This means that most businesses will do all they can do to avoid issues from arising and, where it does go wrong, they will resolve it in a timely and professional manner.

For more leasing info, help and advice - check out our help and advice pages or read some lease car reviews and news in our blog.

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