Coronavirus: How to get help with your car finance payments

Published 01 April 2020

Last updated: 24 April 2020

HonestJohn.co.uk has received a lot of questions via ASK HJ from readers who are worried about their monthly car payments.

Most car manufacturers are referring their customers to the Covid-19 FAQs on their individual websites, which explains what customers can do if they are worried about or unable to pay their monthly car payments.

The assistance available right now varies on a case-by-case basis from each lender, but the vast majority have said they will do everything they can to help their customers get through this extremely difficult period and keep their cars.

Some finance providers are offering payment holidays that will give people the breathing space they need to take stock and work out what their finances will look like in the coming months. Other finance companies are offering restructuring packages that will allow some customers to extend the length of their lease or PCP agreement and reduce their monthly car payments.

However, while payment holidays and restructuring agreements will give some people the time they need to reorganise their finances, it’s important to understand that these options may tie some consumers into higher borrowing costs and/or additional fees. 

In all cases, it’s important to ask the lender to explain (in writing) what additional costs you may be liable for when restructuring or extending their financial product. And don’t forget to ask what the impact will be (if any) on your credit score. 

If you think you may not be able to afford an upcoming payment for your car then it’s important to contact your finance provider and explain your personal circumstances.

The FCA expects firms to provide a three-month payment freeze to customers who are having temporary difficulties meeting finance or leasing payments due to coronavirus. Lenders should not take steps to end the agreement or repossess the vehicle if customers 

The FCA says that firms should not change customer contracts unfairly. For example, using the temporary depreciation of car prices caused by the coronavirus situation to recalculate Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) balloon payments at the end of the term.

Where a customer wishes to keep their vehicle at the end of their PCP agreement, but does not have the cash to cover the balloon payment due to coronavirus-related financial difficulties, firms should work with the customer to find an appropriate solution.

If customers are experiencing temporary payment difficulties due to coronavirus and need use of the vehicle, firms should not take steps to end the agreement or repossess the vehicle.

The FCA, however, emphasises that consumers need to contact their lender before they run into difficulty. Lenders will not automatically make adjustments to leasing or finance contracts. If you simply stop paying, this could negatively affect your credit score.

The package of measures to support credit consumers was proposed last week by the FCA and is being implemented from 27 March. The proposals are intended to complement the Government-issued measures to support consumers during the pandemic.

Free advice and support with debt is also available from a number of organisations, including StepChange, National Debtline, PayPlan or Citizens Advice.

Coronavirus and car finance - what the finance companies are saying

Manufacturer Coronavirus response 
Alfa Romeo "We ask those customers who are experiencing payment issues to please contact our customer support team. We will look at the individual circumstances and address them on a case by case basis."
Audi (Volkswagen Financial Services)

As the situation evolves this may cause concern and disruption to customers and their usual lives and for any customer that may find themselves in financial difficulty, there are a number of options available which can provide support. This can include:


• Agreeing an affordable repayment plan over an extended period of time
• Giving breathing space (not contact or chasing for payment) to consider finances (for up to 60 days) 
• Allowing customers to keep the vehicle for as long as possible

More information here.

BMW

Customers are advised to call BMW Financial Services in the first instance. BMW Group Financial Services treats each case individually and works with our customers to support where we can, based on their individual circumstances.

If customers have concerns about their ability to pay their vehicle finance agreement as a direct result of COVID-19, we can support with a range of alternative options, which could include significantly reduced payments for a number of months.

Citroen (PSA Finance)

If as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, you have been financially impacted and you need help then we are here to listen and find the right solution for your circumstances. To help us do that, we would encourage you to complete our online request via your MyFinance account.

Dacia If any of our customers have been impacted, we will be here to support them. Customers can contact us via our customer portal, email or telephone to discuss any concerns they may have.
DS (PSA Finance) In responding to events we take into account best practice, UK Government guidance and our legal and regulatory obligations.

If as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, you have been financially impacted and you need help then we are here to listen and find the right solution for your circumstances. To help us do that, we would encourage you to complete our online request via your MyFinance account, click here.

Fiat "We ask those customers who are experiencing payment issues to please contact our customer support team. We will look at the individual circumstances and address them on a case by case basis."
Ford

Ford will assist new customers with payments, either as cashback paid when the vehicle is collected to help cover the first three average monthly payments, or a vehicle discount of the same value.

In addition, Ford Credit will defer the first three monthly payments for instalments to start in the fourth month of the agreement.  This applies to both car personal contract purchases (PCP) on Ford Options and Ford Acquire van hire purchase.

The programme covers orders placed in April and May for delivery by year end.

Honda

"In the first instance, the customer should contact Honda Finance Europe customer services to discuss their circumstances.  Honda Finance Europe is able to grant a one month payment holiday and up to three months where the customer states they are unlikely to be paid for that time."
Hyundai

For any queries, worries or concerns, customers are advised to log on to: www.hyundaifinance.co.uk and then click on to the ‘Managing my contract’ tab in the first instance.

"Customers’ individual circumstances will be considered at all times." 

Jaguar

If your income has been affected by the disruption from Coronavirus, we have a
range of options to help you including payment deferrals and other additional support if you need it. If you need to defer your payment now, you can do this online or by calling us on 0800 1512454. Please try the online option first as this is the quickest way to process a payment break.

Deferrals subject to an additional interest payment to cover the period of time between when the payment was originally due and the new payment date, but this additional interest payment is not payable until the end of the agreement.

If customers defer their payment, this will not have any detrimental impact on their credit rating and they will not incur any other additional charges due to non-payment.

Most customers are able to defer their next payment online using our _Manage My Account` service and selecting the _Change Payment Date` option, so please try using this in the first instance. Please note that we are unable to process a payment deferral in the five days before the payment due date.

Jeep "We ask those customers who are experiencing payment issues to please contact our customer support team. We will look at the individual circumstances and address them on a case by case basis."
Kia Customers with any queries, worries or concerns about their finance agreement should go to www.kiafinance.co.uk in the first instance, which provides a number of options for customers (under the ‘Managing my Contract’ tab). There is also a coronavirus specific advice section regarding finance here.

"Kia finance will look at individual cases and take action accordingly, we will always support our customers the best we can."

Land Rover

If your income has been affected by the disruption from Coronavirus, we have a
range of options to help you including payment deferrals and other additional support if you need it. If you need to defer your payment now, you can do this online or by calling us on 0800 1512454. Please try the online option first as this is the quickest way to process a payment break.

Deferrals subject to an additional interest payment to cover the period of time between when the payment was originally due and the new payment date, but this additional interest payment is not payable until the end of the agreement.

If customers defer their payment, this will not have any detrimental impact on their credit rating and they will not incur any other additional charges due to non-payment.

Most customers are able to defer their next payment online using our _Manage My Account` service and selecting the _Change Payment Date` option, so please try using this in the first instance. Please note that we are unable to process a payment deferral in the five days before the payment due date.

Lexus Concerned owners who have a finance agreement are advised to get in touch so you can discuss the different options that are available.
Mazda
  • As per existing guidelines within all customer finance agreements, we offer access to our ‘Finance Customer Support team’. Please always contact us at your earliest opportunity for payment queries to find out the best solution for your circumstance.
  • The team can be contacted on 0800 085 1759 between 9.00am and 7.00pm, Monday to Friday, via email at customerservices@santanderconsumer.co.uk or customers can visit santanderconsumer.co.uk online to access information under the ‘Manage Your Account’ section.

"With regard to length of payment holidays and criteria, this is on a case by case basis."

Mercedes-Benz "Mercedes-Benz Financial Services will be working closely with customers facing financial difficulty – reviewing each request on a case-by-case basis and ensuring the best possible outcomes for them."
MG Awaiting response
MINI

If customers have concerns about their ability to pay their vehicle finance agreement as a direct result of COVID-19, we can support with a range of alternative options, which could include significantly reduced payments for a number of months.

Mitsubishi

"For those of you who have financed your vehicle through our partner Shogun Finance or Shogun Vehicle Leasing, you can apply for a repayment holiday to take this worry away while we all tackle this crisis together. Please contact the respective customer service centre, but please be patient as they are experiencing unprecedented levels of inbound calls."

Please visit  www.blackhorse.co.uk/home and click the link ‘Worried about Coronavirus? We’re here to help’  You can manage your account online and, for example, change the date of your next payment. If you’re concerned about making a payment due to coronavirus impacting your income please call 0800 151 2454 to discuss your agreement but please be aware there may be a delay in answering your call due to the number of people trying to get in touch at the moment.

Nissan "As a responsible lender, Nissan Finance understands that a number of customers may be affected by the impact of Covid-19 Coronavirus. If any of our customers have been impacted, we will be here to support them. Customers can contact us via our customer portal, email or telephone to discuss any concerns they may have."
Peugeot (PSA Finance)

If as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, you have been financially impacted and you need help then we are here to listen and find the right solution for your circumstances. To help us do that, we would encourage you to complete our online request via your MyFinance account.

Porsche

As the situation evolves this may cause concern and disruption to customers and their usual lives and for any customer that may find themselves in financial difficulty, there are a number of options available which can provide support. This can include:


• Agreeing an affordable repayment plan over an extended period of time
• Giving breathing space (not contact or chasing for payment) to consider finances (for up to 60 days) 
• Allowing customers to keep the vehicle for as long as possible

More information here.

Renault

As a responsible lender, Renault Finance understands that a number of customers may be affected by the impact of COVID-19 Coronavirus. If any of our customers have been impacted, we will be here to support them. Customers can contact us via our customer portal, email or telephone to discuss any concerns they may have.

SEAT (Volkswagen Financial Services)

As the situation evolves this may cause concern and disruption to customers and their usual lives and for any customer that may find themselves in financial difficulty, there are a number of options available which can provide support. This can include:


• Agreeing an affordable repayment plan over an extended period of time
• Giving breathing space (not contact or chasing for payment) to consider finances (for up to 60 days) 
• Allowing customers to keep the vehicle for as long as possible

More information here.

Skoda (Volkswagen Financial Services)

As the situation evolves this may cause concern and disruption to customers and their usual lives and for any customer that may find themselves in financial difficulty, there are a number of options available which can provide support. This can include:


• Agreeing an affordable repayment plan over an extended period of time
• Giving breathing space (not contact or chasing for payment) to consider finances (for up to 60 days) 
• Allowing customers to keep the vehicle for as long as possible

More information here.

Smart The brand said they will be working closely with customers facing financial difficulty – reviewing each request on a case-by-case basis and ensuring the best possible outcomes for them.
SsangYong "SsangYong Motors UK’s finance partner is Northridge Finance and both of us are looking to help people where we can. Northridge fund SsangYong and many other vehicles - and have put a broad number of actions in place to help.

Northridge’s managing director, James McGee said; 'If customers need additional help with managing their current agreement, or face disruption to finances, we will work with them to look at ways to make things easier. To help with this, we have set up a dedicated area on our website to give them advice and guidance at this time of uncertainty. We have created a simple Covid19 form where impacted customers can apply quickly for a payment break of up to three months. We are prioritising these requests at present and have received very positive feedback on the ease of process. For our dealer partners our experienced sales team are contactable as usual and equipped to answer all queries.'"

Subaru

Awaiting response 

Suzuki "If the income of a customer has been affected by the disruption of coronavirus, we have a range of options to help including payment deferrals, along with additional support if required.

Our online services also remain accessible for customers to manage their account directly including securely changing their payment date, making a payment, checking balances, or requesting a settlement figure. Alternatively customers can contact our Customer Support team directly on 0800 151 2454."

Tesla We were told Tesla's finance is handled by Black Horse and JBR Capital.
Toyota Concerned owners who have a finance agreement are advised to get in touch with Toyota Financial Services directly so you can discuss the different options that are available.  
Vauxhall Email the information shown below and Vauxhall will contact you asap.
  • Full name
  • Agreement or registration number
  • First line of your address and postcode
  • Best contact number
  • An overview of the issues you are facing and the help you need
Please put your agreement number or registration as the subject line and send this to C19Assistance@vauxhallfinance.com
Volkswagen (Volkswagen Financial Services)

As the situation evolves this may cause concern and disruption to customers and their usual lives and for any customer that may find themselves in financial difficulty, there are a number of options available which can provide support. This can include:


• Agreeing an affordable repayment plan over an extended period of time
• Giving breathing space (not contact or chasing for payment) to consider finances (for up to 60 days) 
• Allowing customers to keep the vehicle for as long as possible

More information here.

Volvo

"Volvo Car UK understands that our customers may have many concerns during this unprecedented period, and we will do all we can to support them. This includes monthly payments, and we are working with our finance partner, Santander Consumer, to explore the available options for our customers. Any customer worried about financial difficulties should contact Santander Consumer."

Comments

gavsmit    on 2 April 2020

With colossal car price inflation in recent times (i.e. every time a model is replaced it is accompanied by a huge price hike e.g. Volkswagen Golf, Hyundai i10, Peugeot 208 etc.) forcing many into finance packages in order to 'afford' a new car rather than an outright purchase, I can't help but feel like this Coronavirus nonsense is going to hurt the car industry much more than people think.

By charging an ever-increasing fortune for their cars (like some entry-level mainstream small hatches now starting from the mid-twenty thousands) they are acquiring a load of unpaid debt via finance packages on car sales (that are depreciating hugely in value with every second that passes) instead of a nice cleared balance from a cash sale.

Some would call it karma.....

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