BVRLA Warns Of Lease Crooks

Monday, 17. January 2011

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

After years of warnings in my newsletter and on my blog the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has acknowledged that there are crooks offering leasing online who con consumers and small businesses out of money. I have had countless letters and emails over the years from those that have leased vehicles saying that they have lost money by trusting online leasing providers who had great web sites and extremely friendly and helpful phone support. They certainly seemed to know what they were talking about. What a surprise! Let me explain, this is how con men and women work, they are confidence tricksters, this is why they are successful. If they sounded dodgy and untrustworthy they wouldn’t be very good confidence tricksters now would they? Good grief! In fact the actual crook will often employ honest staff, unaware that they are about to become part of a scam. The scams identified by the BVRLA are being run through leasing companies and daily rental companies. They will start by advertising cars on their websites that invariably look too good to be true. Having enticed you with a low rate they will often take a payment from you for the rental of the car or the initial rental due on a lease, over the phone or online, of anything up to 6 x the monthly rental then not deliver the car. When you try to contact them the company has disappeared without trace and you are seriously out of pocket but you can comfort yourself in the fact that you are not alone, by the time you find out that you have been conned many others will be in the same boat. One of the famous cons was a company based in Wales. When the BMW X5 was launched they advertised the cars at a ridiculously low rates but advised that delivery was 6 months away. However, in order to secure a car the customer had to pay a deposit of £3,500. To make matters worse, whilst the offices of the scammers had been shut down, the police could take no action until after the delivery dates had passed and customers had not received their cars. By then of course the scammers had disappeared. Some companies had up to 5 cars on order having parted with £17,500. Estimates vary but it was believed that anything between £3 million and £5 million was scammed on this and a few other cheap, non existent deals. Were lessons learned? Of course not as my inbox is testament to! But fear not, the BVRLA have said that if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is! John Lewis, Chief Executive of the BVRLA says that they are working with the authorities to stamp this fraud out – well my friend you need to work a bit bloody harder! If you are asked to make a payment to the online arranger of the finance for the initial rental for a lease be wary as most leasing companies either expect you to make payment direct to them or they take the initial rental by direct debit. If asked to do this make sure you pay by credit card rather than debit card, your legal position is stronger. Have you been conned? Please let me know. By Graham Hill

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