Personal Contract Purchase deals… Rent-A-Car.

The shocking PCP deception that has fooled hundreds of thousands.

PCP stands for Personal Contract Purchase. Basically it’s for high fliers who change their car every two or three years or for those that don’t have a large amount of cash to buy it outright. I did have, including the car I had at the time as a trade in and a little help from my father. However, despite telling the salesman I had enough money, I was railroaded into getting it on PCP. Before I knew it, I’d got the car I wanted but it was on their terms and discarded the fact I could totally finance it without PCP. Never at any time was the word ‘rental’ used. It is probably in the small print though.

PCP is effectively loaning a car to you at a hefty price and then you have the opportunity to buy it for a lump sum at the end of the contract. In this case it was an Audi dealership but they all work in a similar way. If I had wanted to hire a car, I would have gone to a car hire/rental company. If they had such confidence in the arrangement, they wouldn’t have to conceal it by calling them a Personal Contract Purchase.

The motor industry, just like almost every other trade are trying to find increasingly imaginative tricks to part people from their money and this is one of them. If I hadn’t bought the car 12 months before the agreement was complete, I would have actually given my previous car away, paid a five thousand pound deposit and paid £4,800 for three years and be left with an empty car parking space. It’s a scam. Here is a run-down of my own costs:

£4,750.00 Part exchange on my previous car. £5,000.00 deposit and then £4,800.00 a year for 3 years. That’s £24,150.00 for a car that was going to be taken from me at the end of three years, unless I gave them a lump sum called a ‘balloon’ payment of almost £14,000. That’s not forgetting that if they deem the car to be in a poorer condition than they expected, they could charge you for the cost to repair any damage, if you decide to hand it back.

But that isn’t all. There are mileage restrictions and in my case it was 20,000 miles a year. I have only just gone over half way of the 60,000 miles limitation on my car so that was never an issue for me. There is a charge per mile for going over the agreed figure.

My day to day running costs have been around £6,500 – £7,000 during the time I’ve had the car but I’ve been particularly unlucky with damaged tyres.

To add insult to injury, the con artists at Audi Finance UK have taken another £400 from my account – blaming an administrative error. I emailed my complaint about their poor service and overcharging and was basically told to wait until they decide to repay me.

Raquel Eason, the Retail Customer Services Advisor informed me:

“Please rest assured that I have now requested for a manual closure of your agreement to honour the settlement quote which expired on 10th January.”

” It takes approximately 10-14 days for the agreement to fully close on our systems, once the process is complete, a letter will be sent by post confirming the clearance of finance interest in your vehicle.”

“For the January rental, the quickest way to get the funds back to your account is to claim indemnity for the payment directly with your bank – they should then return the funds to you within 24 hours. Alternatively we would have to wait 7 days for the funds to clear on our side before a refund can be raised.”

So, I should have paid the full settlement figure even though they had took the December payment and then they would have refunded me. Either way, I end up being £400 out of pocket until Audi Finance UK decide to reimburse me.

As you can see, she describes the agreement as ‘January rental’ yet at no time prior to ‘purchase’ was the word rental used. If it had been, I would have walked out there and then. She tells me I can get the money back from my bank if I contact them. Has she tried to get a real person on the phone from a bank recently? Alternatively, I can wait until they decide to repay me.

She also claims that it’s a 10 to 14 day wait for an agreement to fully close. Which planet is she from? Horse drawn carriage mail could have resulted in a quicker conclusion.

I will be contacting Audi Finance UK about Raquel Eason’s claims in due course.





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