Why have I been charged for damage above wear and tear when returning a lease car for auction?

In September 2010 I returned a lease car after four years and three months, with 83,000 on the clock. It had a few scratches on it from hedges, etc, but nothing through to the metal, and the chap collecting it commented that the car was 'clean'. He was taking it straight to the BCA Blackbushe auction centre. Over a month later I've had a bill for £280 for 'charges above fair wear and tear (BVRLA)' - please pay in 14 days.

There is no explanation and feels like it has been set at a level low that I might just pay without contesting. I've returned lease cars before with minor signs of use but not been charged before. I intend challenging the claim - some indication as to what it was for together with some evidence that the work was done etc would be a start - but I just wondered where I stood legally?

Asked on 10 February 2011 by PF, Edinburgh

Answered by Honest John
If they auctioned the car without repairing it, ask to see what they got compared to trade book. The only justification for charging you £280 would be if they got £280 less than trade book (which they may have). PF later wrote, “I queried the charge and it in fact related to 3 items - 2 of which weren't identified on the collection sheet and the third I considered to be fair wear and tear. After complaining to the MD and fighting off the collection dept - they have now conceded that the matter was 'unclear' and have now waived the charge. So thanks for your good advice.”
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