The BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association) has announced it will produce revised guidelines around fair wear and tear, following its recent review into the nature and volume of complaints received by members regarding this area.

Three guides – covering cars, light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) – will be released with the intent of providing clear standards, accepted industry-wide, which define fair wear and tear for vehicles returned by fleets to leasing and rental companies.

The guides will also provide best practice advice about vehicle maintenance to help mitigate and prevent wear and tear from happening.

Some leasing companies have received accusations by fleet managers that their view of the BVRLA guide entails using damage charges as a kind of ‘profit centre’. Where some leasing companies offer a fixed-cost list of charges at the start of a contract, others do not charge customers for the cost of repair but factor any damage into extra charges for the loss of value against residual value.

A series of roundtables and meetings with leasing and remarketing companies (including fleet representative body ACFO), as well as data collected via the BVRLA’s conciliation service, will provide a broad perspective on key issues and potential approaches to improving customer service.

AFCO chairman, John Pryor, said: “The BVRLA is engaging with all parties to ensure we receive a clear and concise document that takes into account the issues fleets face when returning vehicles.”

The fair wear and tear guide is reviewed by the BVRLA every three years. The last review introduced a new rule stating that leasing companies must inform their customers or any end-of-contract charges within four weeks of the car having been collected.

Following the most recent roundtable, Nora Leggett, director of member services at the BVRLA, said: “the guide must be fair, easily understood and accessible to a non-expert.

“We considered five typical complaints and concluded that improved communication was an important aspect of the recommendations we were likely to issue.

“The process is ongoing and there will be more consultation in the coming weeks.”