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There seems to be a glut of vehicle recalls by car manufacturers, and many car owners are finding themselves wondering what to do if they find themselves with a car that is in this position. The same can be said for those drivers behind the wheel of a lease car or van.

So here is our guide to what to do if your lease vehicle is recalled by the manufacturer.

Vehicle recalls

A vehicle recall raises its head above the manufacturing parapet when a manufacturer believes that a car model (or several models) has a safety-related defect or discovers that it does not comply with Government standards.

It then falls to the manufacturer to contact the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA) who govern all vehicles on the road, and it is up to VOSA to issue a recall number - but only if there is a genuine safety concern. It is then up to the manufacturer to contact registered vehicle owners with full details of the reason for the recall and what they are doing about it to put it right - usually involving a visit to a dealer to be sorted out.

In the case of a lease vehicle, this will involve the manufacturer contacting the finance provider who, in turn, has the responsibility to contact the person (or company) leasing the vehicle.

The recall campaign uses the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to match the vehicle with the vehicle keeper.

Leasing and rental companies can't set any recall into motion until they receive a notice of recall for the specific vehicle in question, and this is normally done via letter from the manufacturer. They then send a letter to the driver of the car who is named on the financial paperwork, so overall the whole process of sorting out a recall can take up to 8 weeks. Obviously, if the recall is extremely serious this can be shortcut, but generally this is the timeline that is adhered to.  

Sometimes, with the power of social media, problems about the vehicle and the reason for its recall circulate ahead of the arrival of the letter - often before the dispatch - but until the leasing/rental company or yourself are provided with a written confirmation that your vehicle is subject to a recall, nothing can be done under the professional opinion that it is safe to use the vehicle. Once a recall notification is provided, the leasing/rental company or the driver should respond promptly and follow the guidance provided. 

Recalls to a Leased Vehicle

If you find that your leased vehicle has been recalled by a manufacturer during your lease agreement, you will receive a letter from your finance provider to advise you of the recall and the best course of action. Normally, this will involve you taking the vehicle to a franchised dealer for repair where the work will be carried out free of charge and, as long as you have the work completed, will not affect the value of the car. How long the repair will take depends on a number of factors, such as parts required being available, and when the dealer has appointments available.

Please be aware that, in most cases, a vehicle recall is a precautionary measure and while it is safe to drive the vehicle, you should ensure the rectification work is carried out as soon as possible.

When it comes to insurance, and the possibility of not being covered, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has confirmed that motor insurance policies will continue to cover vehicle owners affected by the recall of certain models. Any claims will be dealt with in the normal way, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the policy.

Obviously, the whole initial recall process highlights the importance of keeping your contact details up-to-date with both the finance provider and Nationwide Vehicle Contracts so we can forward any recall notices or updates regarding your vehicle to you.

If you’ve recently moved address or have changed your contact details, make sure you let us know by email, via the internet here, or by calling the Nationwide Vehicle Contracts Customer Services team on 0345 811 9595 (option 3).

Am I entitled to a replacement vehicle? 

Normally a replacement vehicle is not needed as most recall work is carried out on the day by the dealer. Sometimes the dealer or the manufacturer may provide a courtesy car - although this is often subject to availability and nature of the recall -  or maybe even reimburse any costs incurred for having to hire a vehicle, but this would need to be confirmed direct with the dealership.

Once the vehicle has had its recall problem sorted out, all is good with the world, and you can start enjoying motoring again under your leasing terms.

If you have any other questions with regards to Leasing from Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, take a look at our FAQ section here, where you can find the answers to many of your questions.

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