Monday, August 8, 2011
Help Me Howard: Turn In Lease
Have you ever leased a car? A great deal for a lot of people. The only headache may come when you turn it in. and have to pay for the dents and dings you put in the car. But what if you are told to pay and there was no damage. Its why one woman called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- When I look at a restaurant I think of filling my stomach. Delsa Bernardo looked and thought of fulfilling a dream.
Delsa Bernardo: "It was the right time, the right place and I took advantage of it."
Two and a half years ago, Delsa opened YiYa's on 79th Street in Miami
Delsa Bernardo: "It's gourmet Cuban bakery. It's Cuban food with a twist. A little healthier twist."
The restaurant is doing well. Delsa is doing great unless you bring up her lease vehicle.
Delsa Bernardo: "This is part of the turn in package."
As her lease was about to expire this year, Delsa realized her Jeep had some dents and dings on the vehicle that could cost her money so she headed to a body shop.
Delsa Bernardo: "I have had leases before and I know they charge you an arm and a leg for something that could cost me $400 or $500. I would have been charged $1,500."
Delsa paid the shop $320 to get the SUV in tip-top shape. Then she took it to the dealer to turn it in.
Delsa Bernardo: "So I took plenty of pictures of the car. I figured I was sure I had my pictures no problem."
The Jeep dealer doesnt check the car, just holds it for the finance company. But Delsa wanted something in writing that the car was in great shape.
Delsa Bernardo: "I said can you at least write somewhere that the car has no issues. That there are no problems with it. Thats when he handed me this piece of paper."
An employee wrote dealer: "Not responsible for any damages." Underneath that he wrote: "Clean unit." Delsa was happy till her mail came a few weeks later.
Delsa Bernardo: "They said 'Yes the car had a broken taillight. We are charging you for the broken taillight and for the dings and bumps you had on the car.'"
Delsa was stunned. She called the finance company and even sent them a copy of the repair bill. Unfortunately, she could not send the pictures of her pristine Jeep.
Delsa Bernardo: "Pictures got lost with my cellphone at the beach."
And so the finance company told her you owe us $405 for the broken taillight, dents and dings. Refusing to believe Delsa when she said the car was in great shape.
Delsa Bernardo: "Anybody that knows me knows I dont lie. There is no reason to if I break something. Listen, I broke it I am sorry. What can I do to fix it? If I gotta pay I gotta pay."
But Howard, without pictures will Delsa have to pay for damages that she says were not on the car when she turned it in.
Howard Finkelstein: "Maybe, maybe not. The pictures would guarantee she doesnt have to pay, but in this case, Delsa has the receipt from the body shop and the signature from the dealer that says the car is clean. Its not a slam dunk, but it should be enough to convince the leasing company to remove the charges."
When I spoke to Chrysler Financial now called TD Auto Finance, they were very nice and said they would check into Delsa's problem. They moved quickly.
Delsa Bernardo: "I am really happy and glad everything worked out for the best."
The finance company wiped out the $405 charge, and Howard says when you turn in a lease you need to do a little work.
Howard Finkelstein: "The more proof you have the better. Take pictures and video and dont walk away from your car till you have a detailed inspection report that proves the car was in good shape when you turned in the keys."
What was the key for Delsa: The finance company have not seen the repair bill that showed the work Delsa had done to the car. That convinced them she was not the one who damaged the car.
Delsa Bernardo: "And his exact words were 'If you went thru the trouble of taking it to a body shop and getting it fixed, I guess it was our error, and we are gonna go ahead and remove the amount.'"
Patrick Fraser: "Glad we were able to help Delsa. And who damaged the leased SUV after it was turned in no-one knows. Well one person knows, but they arent raising their hand. Leased cars are great for some people, but be as careful turning it in as you are picking it out.
Out dents and dings damaging your day? Got to drive to dump it? Turn it in to us and hopefully get a new lease on life.