Fair Wear and Tear Guide

Damage limitation...

FLTA Guide to fair wear and tear on FLT rental agreements

Widespread confusion over the ‘fair wear and tear’ of fork lift trucks is putting companies renting fork lift trucks at risk of large and unexpected end-of-contract repair bills and acrimonious disputes.

Our illustrated Fair Wear and Tear guide has been developed to elucidate this and has been written specifically for fork lift trucks.

Expectations of what constitutes fair wear and tear when hiring and leasing cars is well understood. From restoring damaged body work to refuelling the tank, drivers are fully aware of the costs they are likely to incur at the end of the term. However, that doesn’t a;ways appear to be the case at the end of a fork lift truck contract, leading to widespread confusion and not a little acrimony.

FLTA guidance on the subject makes it clear that customers are financially responsible for any repairs outside of normal ‘wear and tear’ – on top of their contract hire fees. In addition, truck users should be aware that when a fork lift truck is damaged, it can cost much more to fix than might be expected.

A truck may be on hire as long as five years and during this time predictable deterioration, known as ‘wear and tear’, will naturally occur. Importantly, this term refers to a truck being used in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. It should not – under any circumstances – be confused with damage, which is caused by misuse or abuse.

The cost of the problem

Because of its design, damage to a fork lift truck often results in commensurate damage to other, often more expensive, components.

A truck’s exterior, for example, normally protects its hydraulic and electronic systems, so when this protection is compromised, these more valuable items are at risk. Equally, safety-related structures, such as an overhead guard, often cannot legally be repaired. Replacement prices vary between models, but could well cost several thousand pounds.

Seats are among the most frequently abused items. While genuine wear is accepted at the end of a contract, holes and rips are not. They are chargeable damage and fitting a replacement will cost several hundred pounds.

Costs can quickly mount up – even when repairing or fitting less expensive options. Fork lift truck hire companies are businesses, so their charges must reflect overheads – including valuable service engineer time.

Avoiding the problem

To help clear up the confusion, the FLTA has produced an unbiased 32-page illustrated guide which defines the term ‘fair wear and tear’ in relation to the hire of fork lift trucks. This is exclusively available to FLTA Members via the "store" or FLTA Member companies. 

Truck rental dos and don’ts

Do:

•           Ensure you have a written hire agreement that you have read and understand.

•           Check the truck on delivery and record any damage or deficiencies.

•           Confirm that you and your hiring company have a copy of the same handover certificate.

•           Ensure all operators are aware of how to operate and look after the truck.

•           Establish and maintain a system of recorded daily or pre-shift checks.

•           Deal with faults and damage as they occur. Do not allow them to deteriorate.

•           Ensure your truck is serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements, allow hiring company access.

•           Make your operators and supervisors aware of the costs resulting from damage.

Don’t:

•           Hire a truck on verbal agreement.

•           Allow untrained personnel to operate the truck.

•           Authorise the truck for use on unsuitable ground or in unsuitable areas.

•           Permit overloading.

•           Ignore inappropriate use of the truck.

•           Neglect unwanted drips of oil and other fluids. (These are symptoms of something more serious developing.)

•           Overlook minor scratches to bodywork. (Tell-tale signs of careless operators.)