there have been reports of Companies using details of real leasing brokers, to keep your money safe use the tips below .
1. Check your dealing with a real, authorised company
If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a leasing provider, start by running some checks to ensure you’re dealing with a real company. By law, companies must register with certain agencies and credit organisations, so consider making enquiries with:
Financial Services Register – If a company offers financial services or associated products, then you should be able to check out their credentials on the Financial Services Register. The Financial Services Register holds details of every financial company who are registered and regulated by the FCA. You can search for a company by entering its name or postcode. If a financial company is not on the FCA register, avoid them.
Companies House – You can check if a company is registered by searching for a company’s details on the Companies House website. If you are dealing with a Limited Company, you’ll be able to see a substantial amount of information including the names of the directors, along with the companies they own and have previously owned.
It is also worth checking trade body sites like the Leasing Broker Federation, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association or the Finance and Leasing Association to see if the company is a registered member.
While not every leasing broker has to be a member, if they are, you know you’re dealing with a company that adheres to the highest standards of professionalism and fairness.
- Treat all unexpected calls, emails and text messages with caution. Don’t assume they’re genuine, even if the person seems to know some basic information about you.
- Always double-check the URL and contact details of a firm to check it’s not a ‘clone firm’ pretending to be a real firm.
- Don’t follow phone numbers or links in emails. Check the company’s website for a phone number – preferably a landline – or check contact details on the FCA register to ensure you call a genuine phone number for the business.
- Call the company and ask to speak to the contact you’ve been dealing with. If the employee of the company in question answers the call, you can have some reassurance that you are dealing with a “real” company.
3. Look out for warning signs
If you are suspicious about a business, then it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, so if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Hugely reduced rates or interest rates than appear better than anywhere else rarely come without strings attached and should start warning bells ringing.
Other warning signs that may signal a scam include:
- someone you don’t know contacting you unexpectedly
- being asked to transfer money quickly in order to take advantage of a ‘special bonus’ or ‘discount’
- being asked to pay in an unusual way – for example, through a transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union
- being asked to give away personal information like passwords or PINs
- you haven’t had written confirmation of what’s been agreed
4. Report unauthorised or clone firms
Finally, if you think you have been approached by an unauthorised or a clone firm (a firm you suspect is not legitimate) contact the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.
Hawes said: “Ultimately, you should feel 100% comfortable before entering into an agreement with a leasing provider. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instinct and run additional checks.
“If you use an unauthorised firm, you won’t have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so you’re unlikely to get your money back if things go wrong