Wednesday, 8 August 2012

small print

The lease on my current vehicle, a ford Fiesta, expires on the 12th of this month. This coming sunday in fact.

For the last five years, I've hired my vehicles from a company called GoInstruct, with few problems. There were a few minor gripes, such as them stating on their website that if a vehicle wasn't listed in their stocklist, contact them and they'd do their best to get one, when the answer, at least for the vehicles I asked them to supply was always, "no." but overall, I seemed to have a good business relationship with them.

The first car I got from them was a Ford Fiesta Zetec S. It was lovely car both to drive and to teach in, and I extended the lease on it for a year. Then, two years ago, I replaced it with another Fiesta. Just a standard model. Perfectly adequate, but lacking some of the little touches that made the Zetec S stand out.

That was OK. I didn't need anything special. At the time I was paying someone to provide me with pupils, and I didn't need a car that stood out, in the hope of it generating work. But I never really liked it that much. So I was looking to change to a different car, and I asked them to supply a Citroen DS3.

The DS3 is a distinctive car. It turns heads. It also goes a long way on a gallon of diesel. After weighing up several different cars, I decided that this was the one for me. GoInstruct were happy to provide me with one, for £370 a month including servicing and VAT. A bit more than I currently pay form my existing car, but then, it's a higher spec vehicle. However the colour turned into a sticking point. I was after a particular colour but communications became confused. There are two levels of trim available on the particular type I wanted. Surprisingly, the higher spec car has a far narrower range of colour options. Eventually, we got on the same wavelength regarding car, varient, colour, and availability, only for them to inform me that Citroen had discontinued the colour I was after.

So I looked directly into what Citroen had to offer, and found that their driving instructor programme could offer me a higher spec model for substantially less than what GoIstruct were advertising. Citroen put me in touch with a garage in Warrington, (why? there's a perfectly good Citroen dealer in Wallasey - If I'd been more on the ball, I could have saved myself a lot of unnecessary travelling) and after looking at the figures, I paid a deposit and committed to dealing with them. I then contacted GoInstruct, telling them I'd had a better offer, and thanking them for their business over the past five years.

They responded by asking if they could match the price, but when I told them I'd signed a contract with the Citroen dealer they said basically "OK Thanks". And that was that.

A fortnight passed. No further communication took place.

And so yesterday, I enquired about arrangements regarding returning the Fiesta. And in due course, a reply arrived asking if I'd given notice?

What? To my mind, the lease was ending, and I was going to give the car back.

I felt a flush spreading up my neck. Something similar happened to me once before. My first flat. I'd signed a 12 month tenancy agreement, and the landlord kept my deposit because at the end of that time I hadn't given a months notice that I was vacating.

I couldn't do much at the time because I was down at Bren's Shop, but when I got home I dug out the hire agreement, and there it was. Half way down page three.

Unless terminated under clause 5.01, this agreement will terminate only after the minimum term period has expired and you have given 30 days written notice of your intention to end the hire period
It's my own fault of course. I should have read through carefully. this sort of stuff really isn't my strongest suit. I'm a teacher, not a businessman.

They're quite within their rights of course, although informing me of my obligations under the contract would have been a more customer friendly approach. The silence was oddly uncharacteristic. Anyway, that oversight will cost me several hundred pounds, for hiring a vehicle I have no need for and which I will be returning to them.

Still they've burned their bridges with me. It's possible that once this new 2 year hire with a Citroen main dealer expires, I might have gone back to GoInstruct, but that's not going to happen now.

One glint of sunlight is that looking back through the correspondance, I informed Goinstruct of my intentions on the 24th July.

"when my current leasing arrangement with Go Instruct ends on the 12th of August, I shall be returning my current vehicle to you but not continuing with a leasing arrangement with you. "
This is important because this only takes me to the end of August, and not into September. They will only get £311 instead of £622.

driving lessons in Wallasey? learn to drive in Wirral? driving instructor in Birkenhead?

1 comment:

Pete said...

Don't give up on this. Threaten to take them to court if necessary.