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Legality or Peugeots actions Legal or Not ?


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I'm posting a copy of the letter I have sent today to Peugeot following some rather disappointing treatment in regards to some minor scuffs on the alloys after owning the vehicle for 3 years doing 12000 miles less than my agreement and finding out the amount they have levied is for something not actually carried out. I'm not sure of the legality of Peugeots actions but buyers beware. I feel compelled to make this public.

20 May 2013

Reference to:
Peugeot Financial Service (PFA)
Vehicle Model: 207 CC Allure 1.6 VTi 120 -1P
Contracted Mileage 30000

I recently returned my car that I purchased through the Peugeot Passport Scheme. The car was examined and inspected by a third party company call Manheim DeFleet Services.

Upon inspection the company (Manheim) advised that Peugeot specify criteria to be met on return of a vehicle of which they identified in their report as “Scuffed” Front Left and Right Alloy Wheels. This is listed as equipment on the report and the description is as expected “Alloy Wheel”. They advised Peugeot would be levying a fee on this finding and that they measure anything over a certain degree of length and photograph for Peugeot, though I can find no reference to this measurement or distinction in the agreement I signed.

Manheim, at that time, gave an option for the customer (myself) to object to the finding as it could be classified as fair wear and tear. They did not require any charges to be paid at that time and advised that the report would go to Peugeot to then communicate as required. The charge they quoted for the “Scuffed damage is £60 per wheel excluding VAT – with an action of “Alloy Smart Rep”.

On the 17th May we received a letter from Peugeot requesting the cost of the damage found in the report. I’ll quote this for clarity: “As you’ll see, any missing items, incomplete documentation or damage which falls outside of fair wear and tear, has been charged”.)

We called Peugeot and objected to the cost of the scuffs as in our own opinion a vehicle of 3 years old which they graded as “Grade 1“ was, in our own opinion, fair wear and tear for a vehicle of its age. Please note, in the contract we signed at the point of purchase, there were no details of how they define the term “fair wear and tear” and the term used in the agreement we signed was to return the vehicle in “good condition”.

We argued for a while and asked to escalate to a supervisor as the representative on the call said there was nothing to be done, Peugeots’ findings are final, that they employ a specialist company for their vehicle inspections and the costs therefore are due – also citing we signed an agreement and it’s in that agreement that they feel that this is covered.

I then asked my husband to speak to Peugeot on my behalf which he did and challenged Peugeot again regarding the condition of the vehicle and the cost associated with the scuffs on the alloys.

As you can see from the header of this letter and within the attached agreement, that we had an agreed contract of up to 30,000 miles over the 3 year period. We actually had driven just under 18,000 thus making the car of extra value to Peugeot.
They actually charge for the mileage over the contracted mileage at 9.96pence per mile – so mileage is a valuable commodity on a car that is returned to them. Should we be sending them a bill for £1195.20 for the additional 12,000 miles that we could have done in the car?

They were not prepared to move on this or that we had been a customer with Peugeot for 7 years (owning 3 Peugeot cars in succession) or that they would probably make quite a bit more on the car than the £120 + VAT (£144) that they wish to charge us based on the low mileage and Grade 1 condition of the car. They also threatened us that non-payment would incur late fees even though the delay was to appeal/dispute the charge. We ended the call frustrated, bullied and completely at the mercy of Peugeot.

The inspection company had admitted to my husband that it was unlikely that Peugeot would pay £120 plus VAT for the repairs to the wheels. We determined to ask for evidence of the repair and so we called back Peugeot.

We asked them to provide evidence that the work had been carried out in accordance with what we had been asked to pay for. The manager stated clearly that the vehicle had already been sold by auction and no repairs to the vehicle were done. Upon hearing this, my husband questioned how they can ask for money for repairs that are not carried out. He was told that PFA is a separate institution and they incur a loss of that amount due to the findings of the report. He asked them which organisation PFA came under and they said Peugeot. They are charging for work they have not done on a vehicle that Peugeot, as a whole, will have made a considerable amount of money on based on the vehicle’s condition and low mileage. Furthermore, I find it highly unlikely that Peugeot set a maximum price for the vehicle when it went to auction to even out their alleged loss of £120 excluding VAT.

We told Peugeot’s representative that we felt that the activities appeared fraudulent and therefore refused at that point to pay for something that has not been done, for which we were reminded that we had signed an agreement for and would be levied late fees for not complying with PFA’s demands. My husband asked if he could speak to someone else higher in the organisation and was told he would not get a different or satisfactory answer so was directed to contact the Financial Ombudsman as a final option to disagree with Peugeot’s findings.

He then asked for details of their Complaints Procedure.

The Peugeot representative did not follow or adhere to their complaint’s procedure: which indicates that we should have been referred to a member of the Customer Services Team in the first instance and then onto the appropriate manager and then Head of Department. None of these options were presented. Their approach was arbitrary to say the least.

My husband expressed that it was quite appalling to sour a long-standing customer relationship that has been worth thousands of pounds to Peugeot for the sake of £144 especially to pay for cosmetic repairs to a vehicle that have not even taken place.

The complaints procedure was sent by Peugeot and included a copy of our signed agreement (terms and conditions). A single line had been highlighted for which they are attributing the scuffing of the alloy wheels as being part of the agreement that was signed. The section highlighted is as follows in the “Terms and Conditions”

17.8
Scratches
Prominent scratches to chrome/bright metal/inserts constitute abnormal wear.

Firstly I’d like to say this is ambiguous and to my mind does not equate to the alloy wheels. There is no detail in the agreement explicit to the condition of alloy wheels although there is a heading entitled “Tyres”. There is nothing in the agreement relating to “fair wear and tear” only the term “good condition” is specified which I feel I adhered to in the vehicle being classed as Grade 1 (Clause 5.6).

Furthermore, as the alloy wheels are not chrome, and they wouldn’t be classed as inserts I can only assume they are referring to the words “bright metal”.

I have searched Peugeot’s website for any reference to the term “bright metal” and brochure for the 207cc for the term “bright metal” of which I can find no reference in either. I’ve searched for the definition of the word alloy to find anything similar to the term “bright metal” or “chrome” or “insert” neither of which can be found. I’ve attached some research as such. If they really wanted to include “equipment” such as alloy wheels that they would be specifically mentioned as such. There is only ever reference to the alloy wheels as “alloy wheels” on every brochure or on their website. Therefore I conclude that this statement of which I signed does not constitute the alloy wheels. It is ambiguous and therefore can’t be interpreted as such unless explicitly defined in their agreement.

I would like this to be investigated as I don’t feel I have either breached my contract or should be liable for costs and that Peugeot (PFA) are sending out an invoice for repairs that have not been carried out. The Manager had specified during the call that the car had been sold and no repairs had been carried out. Therefore I feel they are acting fraudulently and certainly not in the interest of their customers.

I would like a refund and an apology and from Peugeot (PFA) and I would hope they would be investigated as such in relation to this complaint.

I don’t always feel that people are listened to and the corporate might of companies such as Peugeot feel that they can treat customers as they choose without recourse.

I have sent a copy of this letter to:
Peugeot
Finance and Leasing Association
Financial Ombudsman Service

It’s sad that they have lost any more custom from me in the future and I certainly will be making my view and treatment publically available.

Yours faithfully

Kelly
 

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The charge they have levied is for the damage done as they say it means the wheels are not as they should be this is the reduction in value that they believe is relevant the fact they did not bother to repair the wheels prior to sale really does not matter !

I agree with you that the repairs should have been done if they are charging you for it but to be honest they all do it not just Peugeot so all you will be doing will be moving to another manufacturer who will treat you the same at the end of your lease
 

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It's 6 and 2 3's when it comes to this kind of thing. They can argue that the money you've been charged is to cover the cost of a repair or a loss in value (it's reasonable to argue that a potential buyer could/would negotiate a reduction in price or that at auction, the bids would not go as high) so I really don't think you'll have any luck chasing the "You didn't fix it so I'm not paying" argument as they are entitled to claim for loss of value irrespective.

You also have little or no chance of them taking into account the mileage - sucks but that's the way it is in that regard.

The only chance you have (in my non-legal-professional opinion) is to try to get them to reconsider if it's fair wear and tear or not - if you can get it reclassified then the charges go away (or hopefully)

I'd probably agree with you that the bright metal doesn't include the wheels, but it's not 100% clear - I'd think that refers to mouldings, badges, grilles etc.

Probably not what you want to hear but unfortunately, at the end of the day, it isn't about what's fair, it's about what's legally enforceable under the contract.
 
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Instead of moaning at us when it Not our fault, you should have come here in the first place whereupon we would have advised you that Passport is a financial mugs game in every conceivable way. Right from the moment you start making payments for no material gain, right up the the parting shot where they charge you £200 for air freshener because you farted in the car 11 months ago, they're bleeding you dry.

Move on, live your life, and actually buy your car next time.
 

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Its the same with their current "just add fuel" scheme. Its in the very small print about charging you for any wear and tear.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I feel the terms and conditions do not specify the alloys and therefore are not part of what I had signed. It's a shame that one persons definition over another is fair game either. They should have fixed it if charging for a repair and they said they were not obliged to provide proof even if they had. I still feel a car with 18000 miles is worth more to Peugeot than a car with 30000 miles and they are the ones placing a cash value on the mileage it shouldn't be one rule for them and playing by other rules for the customer.
 

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Passport is a mugs game, you're right but at the time there were few options on owning that nice shiny new car I wanted without going on finance. I'm far from the only one to have to borrow to buy a car. Ambiguous terms and conditions in the small print that are not clearly defined do not make up for being able to charge without good reason just because they feel they have to levy a charge. It's not unreasonable to ask for proof work is being carried out that you are insisted you have to pay for. In fact I feel it's my right as a customer and consumer.
 

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All lease agreements regardless of who supplies the lease term are liable to charges when they come to an end. The cars almost need to look like they just come out of the showroom to guarantee there won't be a charge. A 'company car' I had was supplied through a lease company and when it went back I recieved a bill for over £1000. Most of that was for missed services which was eventually removed as I was able to prove that most of the services they said I missed had actually been done at the dealers. Some of the items they were charging for I accepted as I thought they were reasonable - the car wasn't mint when it went back but I got the charges down to less than £100 from over £1000

Most if not all lease cars go straight to the auction if the driver doesn't take the option top buy at the end so none of the repairs they charge you for get done. The charge isn't for repairs - it is for loss of value. Because there are imperfections the car will sell for less.

Google for information regarding lease car return charges and you'll find sites that detail what the car inspector is looking for. Any scratching or damage to the alloy wheel spokes is a chargeable item. About all you can get away with is very light scratching around the extreme rim of the wheel. Paint chips and small dents less than 1cm diameter to the bodywork will be accepted as long as it hasn't gone right through the paint and the primer / metalwork isn't visible.

I guess that legally they are allowed to claim payment for the devaluation due to damages. Scraped alloys are not fair wear and tear though alloys only get scraped by being kerbed etc. It would quite rightly be considered as negligence.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
As you stated I'd consider fair wear and tear as the scuffs were on the rim of the alloy, regardless of the statement the final amount of money fetched as auction goes into Peugeots coffers. They will make more money keeping a customer of 3 successive Peugeot cars and forget about the niggles. The scuffs I feel we're fair wear and tear the contract signed had no reference to the alloys everything but. The charge levied was for repairs so they are effectively charging for something that does not occur. That is not right in my book. Irrespective I stand by my comment in regards to the mileage in which they place a monetary value in their contract and the car I owned did 12000 miles less than I was contracted for, returned early and paid in full to the end of the term and returned with tax left on the vehicle to the end of the month. It's not the amount it's the principal. I would expect to go o the dentist shake his hand and be shown the door and be charged for a root canal. It's not good business practice and I question the legality of it. They have not made a loss on the vehicle and it was back and forth to Peugeot with various issues during the time I owned it. Should I be within my rights to ask for a deduction in my payments for the time not in my possession? At times you should stand for your rights as an individual and not let the corporates steam roller and bully you into a corner!
 

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We cannot settle the case for you, but a small claims court can. Have you tried that route????
 

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What a debacle... personally I think scuffing alloys is not wear and tear and indeed negligence by scraping kerbs etc. I would find it difficult for anyone to say it was classed as general wear and tear. That to me is the tyres wearing from 6mm to 3mm.

I however agree the terms and conditions are not clear but companies seem good at this nowadays.

Id just pay it for the sake of £144 and then learn the hard way to drive better and not to kerb my alloys in the future. Id be amazed if you'd get anywhere with this but best of luck. At the end of the day you rented the car, it was never yours, that in itself gives them the edge.
 

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If you 'borrowed' my car and ran the alloys up a kerb, damn sure I'd make you pay for it!
 

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Sorruy about the looooooong post


As you stated I'd consider fair wear and tear as the scuffs were on the rim of the alloy
The person causing the damage would always be adamant that considerable damage as fair wear and tear. It isn't Peugeot who inspected the vehicle, it was an independent inspector and these companies have strict and stringent guidelines on what is acceptable damage and what isn't. Their decision is what Peugeot and any other leasing business go by. Your opinion is irrelevant.

regardless of the statement the final amount of money fetched as auction goes into Peugeots coffers.
Correct - but you seem to be missing the fundamental of the principal. Sure they have made money BUT they would quite likely have made even more money had you not damaged the wheels.

They will make more money keeping a customer of 3 successive Peugeot cars and forget about the niggles.
That statement is debateable - If you don't buy / lease / rent then the car is available for someone else. Quite likely they won't miss you at all.


The scuffs I feel we're fair wear and tear the contract signed had no reference to the alloys everything but.
As previously said, it's not your opinion that matters to them. Did the contract mention the roof lining, The boot liner, the gearstick gaiter, the under dash trims. Highly likely that it didn't. Any of those items being damaged would have resulted in a charge. An item doesn't have to be individually named to be included. If it was legally required to itemise anything that could result in a charge back then you would start reading the contract and the lease would be over before you finished.

The charge levied was for repairs so they are effectively charging for something that does not occur. That is not right in my book.
The amounts are what they consider the repairs would have cost so therefore the value they have lost in the final selling price. I agree that this is a debateable issue but being as we haven't seen the actual wording it may well be that this is your understanding of what the bill is for.

Irrespective I stand by my comment in regards to the mileage in which they place a monetary value in their contract and the car I owned did 12000 miles less than I was contracted for, returned early and paid in full to the end of the term and returned with tax left on the vehicle to the end of the month. It's not the amount it's the principal.
The monetary value is not for the miles you travelled in the car or for the maximum miles you were allowed to travel as per the contract. The value is how much they would have charged you for excessive miles over and above the contracted maximum. Again, this is to cover losses made due to the devaluation of the car due to the mileage. Because the contract allows you to travel 10,000 miles, you don't Have to reach that figure. The contract does not state that you will receive a refund for each mile not used. Returning the vehicle early and with tax was your choice not theirs. You cannot use that as an argument.

I would expect to go o the dentist shake his hand and be shown the door and be charged for a root canal. It's not good business practice and I question the legality of it.
Dentists and lease cars are incomparable - you can't compare apples with oranges. It just doesn't work. Question the legality all you want. They have highly trained and highly paid lawyers who actually know the legality of these issues.


They have not made a loss on the vehicle and it was back and forth to Peugeot with various issues during the time I owned it. Should I be within my rights to ask for a deduction in my payments for the time not in my possession? At times you should stand for your rights as an individual and not let the corporates steam roller and bully you into a corner!
They may not have made a loss but they have more than likely made less than they could have (Which is the whole point of business). OK so the car has been in the workshop for various issues. That's a risk you take with any car. No manufacturer will guarantee that any vehicle will never have any issues over a three year period. No manufacturer of any goods give any guarantee that the item will not fail. No-one gives rebates because an item has to be repaired. That is the nature of things, sometimes they break. Obviously Peugeot fulfilled their requirements by repairing all the issues that it went in for so they fulfilled their side of the contract. I am all for people standing up for their rights BUT only when they are 100% certain that their rights have been breached. You need to seek proper legal advice rather than just complaining because you feel that you have been wronged. If someone who knows the law can tell you that you have a case then good luck and I hope you win. I just don't think that it's going to happen though.

To put this simply. In my non legaly trained opinion, Peugeot have acted within the law. Have they acted MORALLY - now that is probably the thing that has got your goat. You obviously don't think they have but again, that's a matter of opinion
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I'd still argue that if there is a specified charge for repairs that they should be required to undertake repairs, else how can they ascertain a financial loss otherwise or prove they are that amount down from a sale by auction. I have paid additionally for the privilege of having upto 10,000 miles a year so I already paid for that privilege. The fact I did less miles means the vehicle on the forecourt still has more value for resale. Also I do have a number of friends in the legal profession with no interest or gain to be made. They feel contractually Peugeot are on rocky ground in regards to terminology "fair wear and tear" vs "good condition" and no reference explicit to the alloys. There is conditions regarding the various linings, upholstery, fixtures and fittings, body, tyres, mechanical and electrical etc very detailed clauses inclusive of that that Mainheim include in their report even to the extent of the radio fitted etc. Manheim list the alloys as Equipment, their report similar to that on the MOT report you doesn't explicitly state alloys. I understand your points T&C's should protect both parties we were not in breach of the T&C'S and returned the car graded "1" in good condition. Finally if you look on Wikipedia regarding the average life of alloys it can be 3-5 years before conditions on roads can cause them to corrode at the rims especially given the amount of bad weather grit salt and snow we have had. I stand by the fact the car was not curbed in my opinion and nowhere in the T&C's does it specify a scuff of a certain length regardless can be an attributed cost on return of the vehicle. Bright metal would not be something a car salesman would specify as an optional upgrade for the wheels the word Alloy by every salesman in that industry would be the term/words used, "as is" the case on the Peugeot website, brochures and sales staff use. Therefore not unreasonable to expect that to be a term in the T&C's. I'm justified I feel in complaining more people should! I'd also like to add I have paid for this already cheque in the post because regardless of my complaint or else also under their contract they can levy late fees. So yet imposing and bullying into payment or else regardless of any dispute.
 

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Fine - complain all you want - but complaining here will get you nowhere very fast as we cannot influence Peugeot's decisions. Do your complaining to the correct people. You've not got the responses on here you expected and are just going over old ground with every post.

Try searching for info on returning lease cars. There is a massive amount of info on what is acceptable as wear & tear and what isn't. I think that you'll find that some of your opinions of what is acceptable differs from that of the lease car industry.

With so many friends in the legal profession who are agreeing with you means you should have no problem overturning Peugeots decision and even getting compensation for mental anguish. Should be a walk in the park for those experts. If these friends are such hotshots, why aren't you posting that you've won the argument and Peugeot have removed all charges?

You quote wikipedia as your source of the definition of fair wear & tear. Another one who thinks that because it says so on wikipedia it must be true. There is a lot of information on that site that is accurate BUT there is a hell of a lot of information on wikipedia that is so inaccurate it is unbelievable to think it's actually there. They also have information which is generalised so cannot be used in specific circumstances. Instead of looking at general information sites, try looking at sites SPECIFIC to the circumstances. That way you'll get accurate information pertaining to the issue you have.

Just because you feel you are justified in complaining doesn't actually mean you are justified. I feel I should have won the lottery jackpot but it hasn't happened yet and in my opinion (for what it's worth), I've as much chance of winning the lottery jackpot as you have of winning against Peugeot's charges.
 

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This is ridiculous. You damaged the wheels, and now you are butthurt that you have been made to pay for them? Also, it's irrelevant that they didn't use that money to actually fix the wheels, as it is their prerogative what they do with it. They have simply enforced the conditions of the lease that you signed.

There is not a single scratch on my 207 GT wheels and they've done 60,000 miles and are 6 years old.

Keep trying it on though, perhaps peugeot will eventually bow to you because you're one of those noisy people that spreads slanderous lies to get the desired outcome :)
 

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I have a similar problem. I've just returned my peugeot and when they collected it and inspected it in front of me NO concerns were raised about the cars condition and despite the 30,000 mile agreement I'd done only 28,000 but returned it 4 months early. I've just had a letter in the post saying I owe over £400 for scratches and dents and £145 mileage excess. Because no concerns were raised over the paintwork when they picked the car up and because I have not exceeded the annual mileage should I pay this fee?? How can they prove that damage wasn't caused by the person that picked the car up??!!
 

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Did you not take photos of the car (all round) and the Milometer as you had it collected or not get a signed paper to say what the mileage and condition was
 
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