Car Lease Companies and Body Damage Penalties – Dent Dollars
While this article is based on a true story about one of our customers, I will change his name here to protect the innocent 😉 This gentleman (I’ll call him Lenny Leassor) is from Perris California and ultimately ended up looking for a body shop in Lake Elsinore CA and that is how we came to know of Lenny’s ordeal with his auto leasing company.
So Lenny’s lease term is coming up on his car. The car had a dent and a couple of paint scratches on the right rear quarter panel, but he figured they were nothing serious. A couple of hundred dollar repair at most. As a first time lessor he figured he should be able to turn in his leased vehicle, pay a small fee for the damage and get his new lease car, then be on his way; right?
Will the Lease Company Treat You Fairly?
Maybe or Maybe Not! Those dents and scratches can cost you some serious money in charges for any dent or scratch the lease company considers beyond normal wear and tear. Minor dents not much bigger or deeper than the size of pushing your thumb into a piece of clay, might be considered normal wear and tear. But this “Rule of thumb” will vary from lease company to lease company. Where the dent is located in relationship to body bends, edges, creases and folds are taken into account as well.
When Lenny leased the new car from a new car dealership in Murrieta California, (He lived in Menifee California), he figured he got a pretty good deal. (There are pros and cons to leasing from dealerships but that is another story.) but when Lenny went to return his leased car for newer car, he was blind sided and shocked to learn that what seemed to him a not so large body dent and a few scratches, would carry an estimated repair charge/penalty of almost $800.00.
Lenny ask, Why so much for such a small dent”? He was told that because the dent was too close to a body seem, the entire panel would have to be replaced versus repaired. Lenny all of a sudden figured this was not the best time to turn in his lease car. He made his excuses and abruptly left the dealership’s lease office. he decided it was time to do some research to see if there was a less expensive way to get this situation handled.
More Downside to Turning in Your Lease Car with Dents and Dings
Every dent, ding or scratch is considered on an individual basis by leasing companies and the charges are usually figured based on the cost of complete body panel replacement or repair, surface preparation and the application of new paint and clearcoat. In some cases (Depending on the size and location of the dent), replacing the body panel is all their “Policy” will allow.
The Leasing Company will Tell You It’s Only Fair
To the un-initiated or first time car lease customer, being charged for dent and scratch repair may seem only fair. After all, the damage did occur while the lessor was in possession of the vehicle.
But Why Pay for More than the Cost of Actual Repairs?
But wait a minute here. What a lease company is going to do is charge you for a full repair when in fact they will have their technicians do what is called Paintless Dent Repair or Paintless Scratch Repair at as little as 10% of the full repair price you are quoted. They profit the difference and if you are unaware of this little trick, you will go right along with the charges and simply be out the money you might not have had to pay.
Lenny’s Research Paid Off
After talking with several body shops in the Murrieta CA area, (Some of which told him body panel replacement was the only way to go), he walked into Collision Pros in Lake Elsinore, CA. Finally Lenny got the straight story. Once he understood how his car would be repaired without replacing the body panel or using any body filler and it would save him almost $600.00, he new he had found the right place.
The repairs were completed by the next day and Lenny went back to the dealership, turned in his lease vehicle with no extra charges for body repairs.
Don’t let your lease car’s dents do a number on your check book. It pays to get second opinion from a professional body shop.