After receiving complaints about dealerships screwing customers over leases, doing everything from tacking on fees to refusing to provide buyout quotes, Nissan is taking a strange stance. Cars Direct reports the automaker is allowing some Nissan and Infiniti dealers to charge customers “reconditioning fees” if they want their lease returns to be certified pre-owned vehicles.
In a letter sent to dealers on March 9th, the company says that it’s allowing a $2,500 cap on reconditioning fees for customers that want to have their vehicles certified. A Nissan spokesperson confirmed the fee with Cars Direct:
This update now allows for a $2,500 cap on customer-approved reconditioning costs. Additionally, reconditioning costs are limited to required repairs needed to meet CPO requirements and do not include the CPO Certification Fee, which is paid for by the dealer.
Historically, dealers would incur the costs needed to bring a vehicle up to the standards of whatever manufacturers certified program required. But in this unusually shitty car buying market, everything goes — including charging sellers for everything under the sun. And even though there’s a fee cap, this could all work in a dealer’s favor. The dealer could still be in a position to entice a customer to certify their vehicle for one reason: interest rates.
Customers that opt to purchase their lease at the end of its term may qualify for better rates on vehicles that are certified. But as the Nissan spokesperson clarified “Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) certification is NOT a requirement for customers to be able to purchase their lease vehicle, and should not be represented as such.” But you know this is exactly what many dealers will end up doing to get those reconditioning fees.
So it looks as if Nissan may have made the dealer mess worse by trying to clean it up.