More work needs to be done to educate PCP customers about the condition in which their cars should be returned, Glass’s has warned.

The vehicle data provider said it had received notable anecdotal evidence from the trade around customers being ‘shocked’ to find out there were potential financial implications surrounding their vehicle’s return.

Rupert Pontin, director of valuations, said: "There are many people with PCPs right now for whom their current contract is their first experience of leasing a car. They will perhaps know nothing about standards covering fair wear and tear.

"When they come to hand the vehicle back at the end of the lease period – perhaps with the odd small dent, scuffed alloys or a hole in the upholstery – they are shocked to find that they could be out of pocket by potentially hundreds, even thousands of pounds.

"For customers who have signed up to a PCP because it promises affordability and regular, monthly payments, this is obviously something of an unpleasant surprise. Also, of course, it makes them much less likely to take out another PCP in the future."

While Pontin acknowledged most manufacturers issue fair wear and tear guides based on industry recognised standards, and that the paperwork supplied with PCP deals tends to be ‘quite good’, he warned: “A lot of the documentation doesn't get read.”

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Instead, he suggested more needs to be done to tell customers about the condition expectations that are part of the deal.

"Certainly, during 2016, we have seen more and more PCP stock coming back onto the market, and condition is playing an important part in the values that vehicles are attaining. Dealers and manufacturers cannot afford to give away too many favours on the condition front,” Pontin concluded.