It seems like dealers’ shenanigans are becoming a daily thing. This time, it’s Infiniti dealers who have been issued a warning to stop putting customers through the wringer on their leases after numerous customer complaints.
The warning to dealers follows consumers’ complaints to both the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over lease issues. Complaints include everything from made up fees (of course) to refusing to provide lease purchase quotes. The letter includes some of the complaints, and many of them are exactly what you’d expect them to be. From Cars Direct (emphasis mine):
According to a letter from Infiniti Financial Services (IFS), dealers cannot charge customers any extra fees when the purchase option is exercised on a lease agreement. Doing so, the automaker says, “negatively impacts the customer and causes reputational risk to IFS and the Infiniti Brand.”
Key complaints cited in the letter include: Dealers refusing to honor lease-purchase quotes and telling customers they don’t handle lease purchases, charging “dealer fees” if a customer doesn’t finance the lease buyout through the dealer, imposing “required” fees such as “COVID fees”, market price fee, chip shortage fee,” etc, refusing to facilitate lease buyouts unless a customer finances through the dealer.
This isn’t even the worst of the issues. One consumer complaint filed to the BBB detailed how a Southern California Infiniti dealer effectively ruined their credit by not reporting that the customer had returned their lease:
I returned my leased QX 60 to *redacted* (Sales Manager at Mission Viejo Infiniti) on July 1st. It was fully paid off on time with no issues to the vehicle, I have proof on both. It’s been 4 months since I returned my lease but my credit sees it as not returned and late over 60 days. It’s been over three weeks since I spoke to ***** and he assured me things would get fixed. Even though it was returned fully paid my credit was hit over 62points in a day. Effectively destroying my credit. I would like a fix to my credit immediately which would include a written letter to the credit bureaus affected and paperwork to confirm I no longer own the vehicle.
Rather than threaten dealers with things like cutting vehicle allocations, Infiniti is going a rather soft route:
The company says that violations of this process could result in funding delays or, in the worst-case scenario, the inability to participate in certain manufacturer programs for buying and leasing.