Please warn your readers to repair lease cars fully before returning them to Mercedes-Benz Finance.

I have recently returned a Mercedes-Benz SLK at the end of a two-year lease through Mercedes-Benz Finance. I carefully studied the Vehicle Return Standards booklet and repaired a wing mirror and a dent to one of the body panels - the only remaining blemishes were small stone chips which were well within the allowable sizes. The car was collected by a third party company, Jet Total Vehicle Solutions, and the driver commented at the time that the vehicle's condition was perfectly acceptable for its age and mileage.

However, MB Finance subsequently wrote to me requesting payment of £273.50 for repair to a dented bumper - the collection driver checked the vehicle very carefully and made no mention either verbally or in his written handover report of a dented bumper. I have disputed the invoice stating that the damage must have occurred after the car left my property, but MB Finance have rejected my claim and they are now sending me threatening letters. I just wanted to warn your readers to take multiple photographs proving a car's condition before returning it at the end of a lease and, just because you are dealing with a prestigious marque, it does not necessarily mean that they will treat you fairly.

Asked on 20 November 2010 by DB, Woodmancote

Answered by Honest John
This is very common with returns to MB Finance. Numerous readers have made the same complaint. You need to demand to see the invoice to MB Finance for the repair and also demand evidence that the damage was not caused after the car left your hands. If you refuse to pay I think they will have to take the matter to the small claims track of the county court to enforce payment under contract. But check the terms carefully. They usually don't repair them. Simply auction them off and try to come up with any reason to extract a bit more from the lessor.
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