Specialist Motor Finance’s response to COVID-19

We are in a position today which seemed inconceivable even a few months ago. Coronavirus (Covid-19) is causing changes to all of our lives – and rightly so. We all have a social responsibility to do the right thing, to help protect the NHS, and to do our bit to keep each other safe and well.

How has SMF responded
to the pandemic?

As a business, we wanted to provide you with reassurance that the health and welfare of our staff and customers is our top priority. We have made a few changes within the workplace including ensuring that all of our staff are able to still fully service customer requirements whilst working from home.

Contacting SMF

At the present, we are experiencing an unprecedented volume of telephone enquiries which has at times led to longer waiting times than usual. We appreciate that this is causing frustration and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

If your enquiry is not urgent please contact us via our online enquiry form below.

You may also wish to review our FAQs which provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions that may assist you with your enquiry.

Affected by Coronavirus?

If you find you are experiencing temporary financial difficulty as a result of coronavirus and are concerned about making payments on your loan because of this we can help. We will look to offer the best payment solution for you, including full or partial payment deferrals for an initial period of up to 3 months.

What is a repayment deferral?

This is when you temporarily stop making some or all of your contractual loan payments. After these payment deferrals, your monthly payments will start again as before. We will be in touch with you to reach the best solution for you to make up the payments you have missed. Your loan is a fixed term agreement so no additional interest will be applied providing the loan is completed before the original end date. Any amounts outstanding after this date will be subject to interest from that date as per the terms and conditions of the Hire Purchase Agreement.

Am I eligible for a repayment deferral?

You could be eligible if:

  • Your income has been affected by the ongoing coronavirus situation.
  • You expect this to only be a temporary problem.
  • Your account is currently up to date.

If you are experiencing longer-term financial difficulties (for example if you are already behind in your loan payments), we need to speak to you to help us find the best solution for your situation.

When will my payments stop and begin again?

We will do our best to start your payment deferral as soon as we have received your request, otherwise you will still need to make your next payment. We will confirm your request in an email. If you pay by Direct Debit, we will stop collecting your payments when the payment deferral begins. Please do not cancel your Direct Debit. If your payment is due within 5 working days and this will cause you financial difficulty, please contact us on 01244 200793.

Can I ask for a repayment deferral if I am currently in arrears or have an arrangement on my account?

You will need to call us to talk about your situation and we will assess each individual situation.

What happens if I am approved for a repayment deferral?

If you pay by Direct Debit we will stop collecting your payments when the payment deferral begins, and contact you to remind you when we will start collecting payments again. Please do not cancel your Direct Debit.

Will a payment deferral affect my credit file?

A payment deferral will not be recorded as a worsening status on your credit file. However, lenders may take into account other information when making future lending decisions, for example information you provide in your application or bank account information.

Will I be charged interest on my loan agreement whilst the repayment deferral is in place?

Your loan is a fixed term agreement so no additional interest will be applied providing the loan is completed before the original end date. Any amounts outstanding after this date will be subject to interest from that date as per the terms and conditions of the Hire Purchase Agreement.

How will this affect my loan agreement at the end of the payment deferral period?

We will ask you to get in touch when your payment deferral ends to discuss what your new monthly payment amount will be and the date payments will begin again. We will ensure that any arrangement for payment is suitable for your needs.

I am coming to the end of my 3 month payment deferral, what happens now?

If you have a payment deferral that is coming to the end of the 3 month period we will aim to contact you around 20 days before your next payment is due to discuss the next steps.

If you are able to, you should resume making your normal contractual payments. You should also think about how you want to pay the amounts that have been deferred, please see ‘What are my options to bring my account back up to date again?’ below.

If you continue to experience temporary financial difficulty related to coronavirus and cannot resume full payments immediately there are a range of options we may be able to provide including a further full or partial payment deferral for a maximum of three additional months. Any such deferral will report on your credit file in the same way as the initial period. We may ask you for additional evidence of your circumstances, as well as income and expenditure information to ensure any arrangement we make with you is the right one for your circumstances.

If your circumstances do not fall within the above categories but you are still experiencing financial difficulty please contact us to discuss your options. If we do not hear from you we will assume you are able to resume normal payments.

I took a payment deferral but no longer need it.

If you want to end your payment deferral and restart payments sooner, or if you still have a question about your payment deferral, you can contact us by clicking on the “Contact” tab at the top of this page or alternatively you can call our payments team directly on 01244 200793.

I have Voluntary Terminated my agreement with you and am waiting for my vehicle to be collected – what should I do?

We are able to collect your vehicle but must maintain social distancing, so there are some things you have to do:

  • You must complete the G3 ‘Go-appraise’ app – find at the App Store for IOS or Android on Google – Voluntary Termination – Self appraisal information
    • The collection agent will call you to advise they have arrived rather than approach your door
    • Both the customer and the agent will be required to hand wash / sanitise
    • The agent will expect you to place the keys and all paperwork (service history, V5 etc.) in the vehicle (preferably in an envelope) only when the collection agent has arrived
    • You will not be asked to sign anything, but it might be possible for an agent to record (on body worn cameras or a telephone) the consent of the customer to take the vehicle or to acknowledge any damage

Your agreement will be placed on hold until the vehicle is sold. We will also ensure that there is no negative impact on your credit file, however, if your vehicle is not in ‘retail’ condition, you may be charged for the equivalent cost of repairs to return the vehicle to ‘retail’ condition.

If you have advised us of your intention to terminate your contract, and we have confirmed acceptance, you must stop using the vehicle immediately.

You will need to keep the vehicle safe and in your possession until we collect it.

You may declare your vehicle as SORN – not use and store in a secure place, off the public highway, do not change the owner as this affects the re-sale value.

If you are unable to do this you must continue to insure the vehicle.

When you told us that you wanted to terminate your agreement we wrote to you explaining how this works. In this letter we explained if any further payments would need to be made. If you were told that you would need to pay further sums you will still need to pay this. We will contact you about this AFTER the vehicle has been collected and sold.

If you have any questions please email adept.agent@smfmotor.com

I have deferred all or some of my payments, but have received a Notice of Sums in Arrears letter, what does this mean?

When we granted a payment deferral we did not change the terms of your contract, we provided a concession which enabled you to defer payments to a later date. As this was not a change to the contract we still need to send you certain notices. A Notice of Sums in Arrears is legally required under Section 86B of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

A Notice of Sums in Arrears is a statement sent to you to let you know that you have missed contractually due payments under the agreement. It is issued when an account is the sum of two contractual payments in arrears. Commonly, this would mean two monthly payments having been missed. A Notice of Sums in Arrears will tell you how much you need to pay to bring your account back in order.

If we’ve already granted you a payment holiday, and you were up to date with your payments before we granted it, please call 01244 200793 to discuss possible options for bringing your account up to date within your original agreement term to avoid additional interest accruing following the original end date of your agreement.

Additionally, if you had missed payments before we granted you a payment holiday and we’ve not discussed how you should repay these please get in touch with us on 01244 200793 to discuss bespoke payment options.

What are my options to bring my account back up to date again?

While we will agree something specific with you, taking into account your circumstances and affordability, we are asking customers to consider these options as potential solutions. If you repay your deferred payments by the original end date of the loan we will not charge you any additional interest.

Option 1

Short Term Solution
If you have less than 12 months to go on your agreement we suggest you consider adding the missed payments onto the end of the term, but you can make additional payments at any time. You will pay interest on the extended payments from the original end date.

Option 2

Medium Term Solution
If you have longer than 12 months to the end of your agreement you may wish to increase the monthly payments to repay the deferred payments within the original term of the loan. To calculate this you take the total of the missed payments and divide by the number of remaining payments and add that to your regular payment. We only want you to take this option if you are confident you can afford the additional payments. No additional interest or related fees will be charged during the original term of the loan and you can make additional payments at any time.

Alternatively, you could make additional payments of what you can afford on top of your monthly payment amount to reduce how much is left after the original term and in turn reduce the amount of interest you are charged.

We may ask you to complete an income and expenditure form to assess whether the arrangement is affordable for you.

Option 3

Default Solution
If you don’t want or can’t afford to take Option 2 then we will extend the agreement by the number of monthly payments you have missed. You will pay interest on the extended payments from the original end date. You can make additional payments at any time.

How do I set up repayments after my payment deferral?

Whatever option is best for you, we will do everything we can to make the process as straight forward as possible. We will also let you know what’s happening so you know where you stand with us.
Please contact us straight away to discuss your options on 01244 200793.

Please be assured that as the situation in the UK changes our teams will continue to fully support all our customers.