Automotive

Lease Return during COVID-19: Hit with $700 bill

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 17th, 2020 3:20 pm
[OP]
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Mar 10, 2003
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Toronto

Lease Return during COVID-19: Hit with $700 bill

So, we had to return a car during COVID-19, which meant that the inspection shop was not open. Instead, we had to drop it at the dealership, where everything went fine. The car was pristine and detailed prior to return, well under the mileage ratings. No accidents or scrapes. Today we received a bill for excess wear and tear - no details - for over $700. What are our options here? I was generally pretty pissed about how they handled the COVID-19 return (no information provided, we had to call to figure out how to return the car, and forced to take an extension because they were closed, then sent a bill for late return (which they eventually reversed), and the sent to multiple places), but to get this bill is insult to injury. What would you do?
47 replies
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As a first step, ask for full details and pic (if applicable) of this so called excess wear
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Aug 15, 2009
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Did you do a preinspection couple months before you turn in your lease ?

Did you take pictures of the car the same day before returning it to the dealer ?

Definitely asked them proof with comment and pictures of the wear & tear.
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elpaso wrote: Did you do a preinspection couple months before you turn in your lease ?

Did you take pictures of the car the same day before returning it to the dealer ?

Definitely asked them proof with comment and pictures of the wear & tear.
this - darn stealerships are always up to their wascally tricks! Especially now when they want your monnnaaayyyy during COVID....

Care to share which dealership this is? Would be a good warning for other RFDers..

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ji2o0k wrote: this - darn stealerships are always up to their wascally tricks! Especially now when they want your monnnaaayyyy during COVID....

Care to share which dealership this is? Would be a good warning for other RFDers..
Dealership doesn't own the car, the Finance company does.
Therefore, it is not the dealership who is charging OP the $700 penalty. They may "act" on behalf of the Finance Company. Such as Toyota Finance, Mazda Finane, etc.

I would complain to The Finance Company which you lease the car with, as usually they sent an inspector over to check out your car before the car return. It gives you times to fix it without having to pay for penalty, and no OP do not have that option.
Figure out what is that excessive wear and tear. Did you recall having that wear and tear?

$700 is not a lot of money. Imagine if they said the tires are bald and want a new set, it can be easily over $1000 for 4 tires.
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Pre return inspection should say something is excess or not.
[OP]
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Mar 10, 2003
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spike1128 wrote: Pre return inspection should say something is excess or not.

Perhaps this was our fault, but we did not have a pre-inspection because the company was closed due to COVID-19. In fact, we returned the car in early May, and that was with a forced extension of two weeks due tot he closure. In fact, we had no inspection at all due to COVID, just received this bill two months after returning the car.
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2 months? I believe inspections are supposed to be done within a minimum of 2 weeks prior to your lease maturity date. Who is the bill from? Dealer? Pound sand. I'm sure there is some limitation on when you can be charged. Anything could have happened to the vehicle after it was returned. As mentioned, get a detailed itemised list of what was needing replacement.
Last edited by koffey on Jul 10th, 2020 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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I think they are trying to scam you for those two months.
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Jun 17, 2010
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Sucks, your experience sounds similar to mine. No communication or organization regarding lease return during these COVID times. Most manufacturers use AUTOVIN to examine the lease return, and they're only doing inspections POST return, and they are backed up. It's total BS because we are not afforded the opportunity to rectify any findings before return. Anyway, I argued with my lease company until I was blue in the face, and they simply made a note, and did little else.

Do you know if your leasing company used Autovin? If so, go to autovin.ca/login and if you have the last 8 digits of your VIN and your account/ref number with the finance company you will be able to login and see their report of vehicle condition/damage. That's what I was able to do, but still no final invoice from the leasing company for me and I returned my vehicle in late May as well. Good luck.
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milhaus wrote: So, we had to return a car during COVID-19, which meant that the inspection shop was not open. Instead, we had to drop it at the dealership, where everything went fine. The car was pristine and detailed prior to return, well under the mileage ratings. No accidents or scrapes. Today we received a bill for excess wear and tear - no details - for over $700. What are our options here? I was generally pretty pissed about how they handled the COVID-19 return (no information provided, we had to call to figure out how to return the car, and forced to take an extension because they were closed, then sent a bill for late return (which they eventually reversed), and the sent to multiple places), but to get this bill is insult to injury. What would you do?
Did you take detailed pics of the car when you returned it? That would save you from any trouble. I also do that before and after I rent any vehicle.
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milhaus wrote: Perhaps this was our fault, but we did not have a pre-inspection because the company was closed due to COVID-19. In fact, we returned the car in early May, and that was with a forced extension of two weeks due tot he closure. In fact, we had no inspection at all due to COVID, just received this bill two months after returning the car.
They are trying to scam you. It's not YOUR fault the inspection company was closed. They should've extended your lease and than do an inspection after or have the dealer do a quick inspection.

Also how do you know the damage wasn't after you dropped off the car? Probably sitting on the lot for a while. Dealership could've damaged it or something
Last edited by simplypop on Jul 10th, 2020 9:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Name the manufacturer, and the dealer, please.

So I can avoid them.
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Could it be for stuff not visible? It's not just the body, paint, tires that are inspected. Maybe brakes/calipers worn down?
[OP]
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Mar 10, 2003
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So it was a Hyundai. I’m not sure the dealership has anything to do with the problem, since it’s now closed! (Which contributed to the problem of where and how to return). And yes, they used AutoVin, which was not open during COVID. We’ll call and complain on Monday - what gets my goat is (1) the failure to allow for pre-inspections during COVID (though understandable), (2) the terrible communication - we had to do everything to make sure we weren’t billed extra for late return - no notices were sent to us or contact made, (3) failure to provide a solution until we pressed for one - they wanted us to ride COVID out and continue to pay our lease fees, and (4) the huge delay between return and the bill and no further details. We didn’t take pictures - that’s our fault but again, the return was rushed because we couldn’t get answers until the day it was due back!

But thanks everyone for your responses. We’ll try our luck.
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engineered wrote: Did you take detailed pics of the car when you returned it? That would save you from any trouble. I also do that before and after I rent any vehicle.
Do you have to take pics or a video or both is better?
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VanillaDonut wrote: Do you have to take pics or a video or both is better?
A video can work and is easier to do, but pics would be better quality. Just make sure to get every angle and interior.
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engineered wrote: Did you take detailed pics of the car when you returned it? That would save you from any trouble. I also do that before and after I rent any vehicle.
Pictures while always advisable with rentals before after, and during LOL. Can only go so far though with long term usage. It would not show if a caliper was stuck and the brake pads were worn on the inside of the rotor... Also unless OP took detailed pictures of each tire lying on the ground right in front of them , they could have missed that the vehicle was out of alignment... A picture also might miss a cigarette burn in the interior. Tons of things photos alone would not show either way.

I only mention the cigarette burn because a friend on mine owns an upholstery shop. Last year a woman had to replace two seat covers because of them. Before she returned her BMW SUV lease. Due to both of them having air bags behind that part of the cover, they could not just repair the section like they always did years ago, would have cost 300.00 to 400.00 max. The OEM covers were just under 1600.00 bucks his cost. So the markup tax and almost 4 hrs labor (BMW dealership said the book time was 6) added up pretty quickly. When she saw the bill she kept muttering smoking IS going to KILL me LOL.

Without the pre-inspection with the OP being there in person or being present when it was done. The inspector had carte blanche to do whatever they wanted. I would not be surprised if the inspector walked with 20 ft of the vehicle, and just wrote down looks like 700.00 to me. NEXT I got a big back log here.... 75% chance most people would get scared and just pay the money. If they fight it so what? The inspector will still get paid, and they are so entrenched now. So it is not like they will be dropped anytime soon.

Also, anybody can look at any item and find fault if that is their objective and that is the sole objective of these "independent" inspection companies. If they continually found nothing, no repairs for the dealers to make money on, so they would squawk. The leasing company would begin to question why pay them, when we could just cheat the dealer into doing it again somehow...
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milhaus wrote: So, we had to return a car during COVID-19, which meant that the inspection shop was not open. Instead, we had to drop it at the dealership, where everything went fine. The car was pristine and detailed prior to return, well under the mileage ratings. No accidents or scrapes. Today we received a bill for excess wear and tear - no details - for over $700. What are our options here? I was generally pretty pissed about how they handled the COVID-19 return (no information provided, we had to call to figure out how to return the car, and forced to take an extension because they were closed, then sent a bill for late return (which they eventually reversed), and the sent to multiple places), but to get this bill is insult to injury. What would you do?
Unfortunate. Call the finance company and ask for details. When my A4 lease ended, upon inspection, the assessor (?) noted a scrape under the car (front spoiler) and Audi Finance wanted to charge $700 for it. Keep in mind the car was exceptionally clean and the pre-lease inspection assessor mentioned one of the cleanest lease ends he's ever done. I thought the charge was petty and not necessary, so I called Audi finance and provided feedback. The charge was quickly reversed.

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