The Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) has warned that poor levels of repair work to used vehicles is becoming a bigger issue due to the growing popularity of personal leasing.

The VRA, which oversees a host of UK-based companies that handle, inspect, manage and transport over 1.5 million used cars annually, believes more vehicles are being listed for sale online at auction with “previous poor repairs”.

Sam Watkins, chair of the VRA, said that this can pose a real issue to businesses with delays in acquisitions until they can be brought up to an “acceptable standard”.

“Our members are telling us that they are becoming more and more common,” added Watkins.

“The issue, we believe, is being caused by the rise of PCP and PCH in both the new and used sectors.

“Traditional leasing customers tend to know about expectations when it comes to vehicle repair standards, but private motorists are often leasing a car for the first time.

“If the vehicle is damaged, they will sometimes seek to get it repaired as cheaply as possible, which means repairs ranging from marginally sub-standard through to what can only be termed ‘bodges’ where the customers have attempted their own repair.”

Repairs made to vehicle bodies tend to be the worst for ‘bodged’ work, with paint jobs typically the biggest issue, followed by mechanical and electrical faults.

Watkins added that in some instances, delays to de-fleet vehicles “can be considerable because the car has to be sent to a specialist that has the knowledge and equipment needed to carry out the work”.

Watkins believes improved education and communication of the repair standards expected of PCP and PCH customers – e.g. the use of approved body shops – would go someway to improving the vehicle remarking industry.

“In almost all cases, the person leasing the car will pay an end-of-life recharge for the previous poor repair, so below-pair repairs will not ultimately save them money,” said Watkins.

“Really,what we need is for better communication with leasing customers to make them aware of their responsibilities in terms of maintaining the condition of the vehicle to try and stop the problem occurring at source.”

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