There are plenty of legitimate leasing companies to choose from. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association and FLA both operate approved schemes with official complaints channels.
Many car manufacturers also now offer leasing schemes for private buyers as well as businesses. Your dealer will be able to talk you through your options and broker the deal when you decide on the car you want to buy.
However, beware if youre shopping for a leasing deal on the internet; the BVRLA has reported a wave of unscrupulous operators on the web who lure customers into parting with their cash with tantalising deals before disappearing. One What Car? reader lost 2500 after he made a deposit to an internet leasing firm by bankers draft and never heard from them again. Make sure that the company you choose has a registered address (that means no PO boxes) before signing up to any deal.
Its also worth running a check on www.companieshouse.gov.uk. In the case of our reader, this would have shown that the business he was fleeced by was listed as dormant when the companys last accounts were filed. Genuinely dormant companies dont take deposits for thousands of pounds.