Will Your Lease Cost You More than Expected?

by Ed Attanasio - Tue, Mar 22, 2016 11:47 AM

So your vehicle’s lease term is coming to its conclusion. Sure, the car has a dent and several paint scratches, but in your opinion they’re not that serious. They will cost you at most $100 or $200 to repair, right?

Think again.

Leasing a car

What Will I Have to Pay to Satisfy My Lease Company?

That’s the question everyone asks when their lease expires, and the answer is never the same. Those dents and scratches can cost you some serious cash, especially if the lease company decides to take you to the cleaners.

Most lease agreements state that anything above and beyond “normal wear and tear” is going to cost you. And of course, it’s their definition, not yours. Minor dents the size of your thumb might be considered “normal wear and tear”, but this “rule of thumb” will vary from lease company to lease company, or car dealership to car dealership.

It may look like a small scratch, but depending on the vehicle, it might cost you a lot more than you anticipated. Where the dent is located in relationship to body bends, edges, creases and folds are taken into account, so the damage may look incidental—until the lease company shows you their bill!

One friend of mine had some very minor dents, dings and scratches on his leased Lexus and his lease company was very fair. They charged him $400 and he walked away pleased. Another friend of mine returned his BMW after his lease expired, and his repairs cost him $3,400, because the car’s expensive wheels were badly scratched. He cried foul because he lives in the hills of San Francisco, CA and parking on the streets there without hitting the high curbs in the city is difficult to avoid. He said it was “normal wear and tear,” but th company strongly disagreed.

Happy lease owner

What You Should Do Before Turning in Your Lease

Before you turn it in, bring your vehicle to a certified body shop and have them take a look inside and out. Get an estimate and have it in hand when you go to the lease company. It may turn out that all your problems can be solved by a simple Paintless Dent Repair or a Paintless Scratch Repair. By having the right information in your hands, you can show the lease company that they’re gouging you.

Let your lease conclude on a happy note by taking the vehicle to a well-respected body shop in your area, because knowledge is king and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Ed Attanasio
Editor, AutoBody-Review.com
Ed has been a professional writer for more than 35 years and his specialties include B2B reporting, blogging, ad copywriting, public relations and general editorial.