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Mercedes Lease Hire charges dispute

in Motoring
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derobederobe Forumite
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Hi,
I have been back and forth with Mercedes over end of lease charges.. I understand that I can't get out of the charges completely but I am not agreeing to the Seat base cover being replaced to a fee of £546.50. The seat was scratched but the matrix they provided says unless it is deeper then 30mm there is a nominal charge of £90 or so. They are arguing that it was deeper than this, but they have admitted on the phone they have no evidence as the person who collected the care did not use the measuring tool when he took the picture of the seat cover and they therefore can't prove on collection that the scratch was deeper than £546.50. I have made this point to them but they are refusing to reduce the charge for the seat maintaining a final decision has been made. You can see the final email I received from them following me disputing the charges in bold below:


  • Wheel left hand front polished alloy damage - 2-4 mm deep over 20% rim or on spoke - enhanced refurbishment £115.00
  • Wheel left hand rear polished alloy damage - 2-4 mm deep over 20% rim or on spoke - enhanced refurbishment £115.00 - charge reduced to £85.00 damage not as severe as noted
  • Wheel right hand rear polished alloy damage - 2-4 mm deep over 20% rim or on spoke - enhanced refurbishment £115.00 - charge reduced to £85.00 damage not as severe as noted
  • Wheel right hand front polished alloy damage - 2-4 mm deep over 20% rim or on spoke - enhanced refurbishment £115.00
  • Door mirror assay left hand front - scratched greater than 25mm not through top coat - specialist repair £30.00
  • Door left hand rear - scratched greater than 25mm through top coat - refinish £210.00 - credited image did not support the charge - charge removed
  • Quarter panel left hand rear - dented with paint damage - repair and refinish £195.00
  • Seat base cover right hand front - scratched over 25mm - replace £546.50
A credit has been raised and accepted for the left hand rear door as the image does not support the charge, the sum of £210.00 has been removed from your invoice. The left and right hand alloy wheels have been reduced to £85.00 each as the damages noted did not support the higher charge, a total of £60.00 has also been credited to your account for this reduction and your balance has been adjusted accordingly.

The remaining damages as mentioned above are out side of our Vehicle Return Standards (VRS) and are therefore chargeable. To ensure that you are aware of the expected return condition of your vehicle, we provided you with a copy of our Vehicle Return Standards at the start of your agreement and six months prior to your lease end date and they are also available to view online. We believe we provided you with ample opportunity to familiarise yourself with our fair wear and tear expectations and as such allow you the opportunity to have the repairs carried out.  Our prices are bench marked against industry standard guidelines and would stand up to independent scrutiny. I am unable to uphold this aspect of your account.

I can see from the VCR that you signed to dispute the charges, please be advised that although you disagreed with the results this does not exonerate you from any charges deemed payable. The mileage logged on inspection was 30219 miles, meaning your excess mileage would be 10,219 as you had a 20,000 contract mileage agreement. I can confirm that the mileage charge of £981.02 has been reduced by £240.00 due to a three months extension being granted, your account has been adjusted accordingly reducing your excess mileage charge to £741.02.

The balance of your account to be paid is £1,912.52.

 What are my rights here? They responded to me to say that if I was unhappy I can complain to the financial ombudsman and provided their details. I haven't done anything about it so far and have now been sent a letter from DLC a debt collection agency, threatening they will advise their client Mercedes Benz to take legal action unless I pay soon.

The result I want is for them to drop these seat charges, if they do this I will set up a payment plan with them for the outstanding balance.

Help/advice appreciated. 


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Replies

  • Car_54Car_54 Forumite
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    They've told you what you can do - go to the ombudsman.
  • SupersonosSupersonos Forumite
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    Refuse to pay, go to ombudsman and then court if necessary.

    They've admitted they can't prove the scratch was of the size necessary to warrant the fee, so they cannot charge it.
  • AdrianCAdrianC Forumite
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    I'm not sure it's quite so straightforward.

    If the damage requires the seat to be replaced, because it can't be refinished acceptably - regardless of size - then the replacement charge will apply.

    How bad was the damage?
  • derobederobe Forumite
    52 Posts
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    Hello, wondered if anyone can help.

    I ended up contacting the financial ombudsman and due to covid there have been several delays.

    I have been forwarding the ombudsmans correspondance with me to DLC, the debt agency acting for MErcedes Benz Financial Services (MBFS).

    DLC have instructed their Solicitor - Mortimer Clarke, who have been in touch with me but I have just been liasing with DLC, forwarding them on correspondence, as I did not want to speak to their Solicitor.

    I have just been made aware that I have been issued with a County Court Claim made by Mortimer Clarke Solicitors 12th October to which I had 14 days to respond (now lapsed).

    I have called them (Mortimer Clarke) to let them know that the case is with the ombudsman (last update from them 1st October to say they are making their final decision shortly) and Mortimer Clarkes telephone agent after putting me on hold told me the County Court Judgment has been "reversed" and they have marked my account on hold, although they are not providing evidence of this, this is concerning - as far as I know I have a CCJ against me.

    I have no confidence in these people given they are the ones attempting to extract money from me and need some advice on what to do. I have tried calling the County Court on the number provided to see if this is the case, but I have now been on hold for 2 and a half hours.

    I have since spoken to DLC who say they advised Mortimer Clarke of the latest updates from the Ombudsman on 3rd October but it seems Mortimer Clarke went ahead with the court order anyway.

    - Can a CCJ be reversed in this manner?
    - Should I/Can I take action against Mortimer Clarke for issuing a County Court Order with the knowledge that the case was with the ombudsman
    - Is the only way to ensure I do not have a CCJ against my name to speak to the County Court Business Centre directly?

    Thank you.
  • derobederobe Forumite
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    I have now spoken to the County Court Business Centre, who surprise surprise have had no correspondence from Mortimer Clarke to say that they reverse the County Court Claim.

    The person on the phone gave the impression that they will be fobbing me off with this "reversal' and waiting for the ombudsman decision so they can then action the County Court Judgment against me, as if they do reverse the claim they will then have to pay again to make another County Court Claim.

    I have been advised to fill out a part admission form (N9A) and defence form (N9B) and email this to the County Court to protect myself as even though 14 days has passed, a CCJ has not been issued as of yet.

    I am not 100% certain I should do this before the ombudsman has actually made their decision. The results I was looking for is for the County Court to not be involved but from speaking to them it doesn't seem as if there is a way back now unless Mortimer Clarke contact them to say they withdraw their Claim.
  • knightstyleknightstyle Forumite
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    You may find help on the parking board on what to do if you get a ruling against you without your knowledge. But did you get a LBA, letter before action and was the notice of proceedings sent to your correct address?
  • HerzlosHerzlos Forumite
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    File the paperwork the court asked for now, so the CCJ doesn't get recorded. 

    When the Ombudsman gets back to you then you can figure out what to do.
  • m0bovm0bov Forumite
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but do they have to accept the Ombudsman's ruling anyway? If there is no evidence, then the court would surly throw it out? I'd just let it go to SCC and defend there.
  • m0bov said:
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but do they have to accept the Ombudsman's ruling anyway? If there is no evidence, then the court would surly throw it out? I'd just let it go to SCC and defend there.
    The ruling at the ombudsman is almost always actually an adjudicator first. Both you and the other party are allowed to appeal the decision to the ombudsman though they tend to side with the adjudicator most of the time (some cases can be as high as 90%). The company can accept the adjudicator decision but both sides must accept the ombudsman decision, though the firm are able to take court action after, albeit the courts would be likely to question why they feel the decisions by the ombudsman service were wrong
  • derobederobe Forumite
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    Herzlos said:
    File the paperwork the court asked for now, so the CCJ doesn't get recorded. 

    When the Ombudsman gets back to you then you can figure out what to do.
    I have now as of yesterday heard back from the Ombudsman. They have sided with Mercedes and believe the charges are fair. The dispute we have again is really only the seat cover at this stage. Here is the link to the Inspection of the car, showing photos and a video. Take a look at the seat cover for yourselves. 

    https://myinspections.bca.com/ViewInspection?verificationKey=HEOQGPYIIFD1PRUP&end=1

    Here is the Mercedes Benz Charging Matrix for damages.

    https://tools.mercedes-benz.co.uk/current/passenger-cars/finance-and-insurance/pdfs/damage-charge-matrix.pdf?_gl=1*11ecqmu*_ga*NzMxNDc3NTk4LjE2NzE3OTUwNjI.*_ga_0Q0YZ92E6R*MTY3MTc5NTA2Mi4xLjAuMTY3MTc5NTA2Mi4wLjAuMA..&_ga=2.135891569.1123457099.1671795062-731477598.1671795062

    As you can see it says on the interior section that if it is "Torn" the charge is between £35.00 - £65.00. But they are arguing this is excessive damage and the tear is beyond over 25mm. Therefore a replacement charge of £546.50 is applicable. As I mention originally and the reason that this has got to this stage is as you can see they do not measure this with the measuring tool.


    I received another letter from Mortimer Clarke Solicitors acting for DLC acting for Mercedes. I quote:

    "We refer to the above matter and your recent telephone conversation on 07/11/2022.

    We can confirm that a County Court claim was issued on 12/10/2022 for the amount of £2107.52. We confirm receipt of your admission form. A County Court Judgment has not yet been obtained.

    We note your comments that the Financial Ombudsman is dealing with an active complaint.

    Please could you forward your reference number from the Financial Ombudsman and any relevant information.

    We have placed your account on hold to await the outcome of your complaint.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours faithfully.

    Mortimer Clarke."


    Now that to me, seems as Mortimer Clarke are simply waiting for the decision (which has now been made) to enforce this CCJ. I have until 5th January to respond to the ombudsman, they have told me I can accept their decision and the case is closed. Or if I don't accept what the investigator has said, I can ask for an ombudsman to make a final decision. Do I have a case here, or is the evidence against me too strong, fighitng a losing battle and do I pay up now..... If so, how do I go about it since I have made an admission? I have to avoid this CCJ!!!

    Thank you! 
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