Are car brands illegally giving better deals to business users?

Credits: Pete Gibson
23 Aug, 2014 9:00am

Manufacturers accused of dictating finance lease terms based on occupation

Car buyers opting for leasing deals could have been paying more than they should because of their job. Makers have been accused of illegally dictating terms based on a driver’s occupation, with private motorists paying higher rates for contract hire than business users.

The situation was revealed when BBC radio’s You and Yours reported that a doctor choosing a VW Golf R was quoted a higher rate than she would have been had she been self-employed. 

Some in the leasing industry have accused makers of breaching the Supply of New Cars Order, which outlaws charging different rates when supplying to leasing companies depending on whether the car is going to a private motorist or a business. 

Rob Chisholm, managing director of leasing broker Applewood Vehicle Finance, said he had challenged Volkswagen UK late in 2013, and the manufacturer changed its practice within days. But others have resisted.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has warned makers to ensure they comply with the order. It said: “We take our responsibilities under the Supply of New Cars Order very seriously. We’ll be reminding our members of their obligations.”

Mr Chisholm is urging anyone who has found similar problems to complain to the Conduct and Markets Authority (formerly the Office of Fair Trading).

See our list of the best new cars under £100 a month.