US Bank / vehicle lease-end charges
Us bank lease-end fraudulent fees for "excess wear and tear."
I leased a vehicle through a local volvo dealership, which set up the financing through us bank. I made all payments on time for four years without incidence, but ran into a problem at lease end concerning us bank's unilateral determination of "excess wear and tear" to the vehicle. Simply put, us bank asserts that it alone (through its inspector) determines what constitutes "excess wear and tear" and that the lessee cannot challenge that assessment. The lease language defines "excess wear and tear" as any scratch, ding, windshield nick, etc., suggesting that any mark on the vehicle after four years of use is “excess” and not ordinary. The lease also fails to point out that us bank interprets the lease to give itself the unilateral power to determine when such exists and how much they can charge for repairs.in my case, us bank sent out an inspector (datascan), who documented every minuscule scratch or ding, categorized some as "normal" and others as "excess" and applied a cost to those in the "excess" category. When I lodged my objection to the assessment, us bank advised that the lease did not allow me to object and demanded payment or have my credit damaged. I refused to comply and they did, in fact, turn it over to collections and reported to the credit agencies that I failed to make payments on the lease. My credit has this been damaged and I am being pursued by their credit department.
I meticulously documented the condition of my vehicle before turn-in and requested an inspection by the local dealer who accepted the vehicle at lease-end. I provided both the complete documentation and the name of the individual from the dealer who performed the inspection (he determined no "excess wear and tear" to be present) to us bank, but they ignored both. On the former, they advised that they would stand on the documentation of their inspector (all photos taken within one inch of the vehicle surface, no scratches larger than ¼”) rather than consider the complete and accurate documentation that I provided. On the dealer inspection, they advised that they had no obligation to discuss the assessment with the dealer and, in fact, cited to a clause in the lease that specifically denied the admissibility of any outside inspector’s opinion — apparently, even that of their own dealer client accepting the vehicle on their behalf.in short, us bank has set up a situation that is patently unfair that offers no recourse to the lessee other than litigation.in essence, they have said if I don’t like it, it’s just too bad.
As I felt the problem stemmed from unfair practices on the part of us bank, I lodged a complaint with the arizona attorney general's office, which simply forwarded my complaint to us bank and requested a response. Us bank, in turn, responded by saying that I refused to pay for repairs to “excess wear and tear, ” but ignored the fundamental issue of fairness and failed to advise that I was denied any opportunity to object to their unilateral assessment. Unfortunately, the attorney general's office declined to take up the matter on my behalf and advised that I seek counsel.
As the issue is one that is universal to anyone who leases from us bank, I feel that it would be best to pursue action against us bank as part of a class, rather than as an individual.in a quick research on the web, I found numerous complaints from others who have had the exact same problem with us bank at vehicle lease-end (google “us bank vehicle lease dispute” or similar query). I have leased numerous vehicles prior to this one and have never had a problem with any other lessor.in my opinion, us bank is using the power of their position and their ability to damage one’s credit to bully borrowers into making substantial additional lease-end payments. There is no question that this is a widespread practice that is fraudulent, unfair, and nets us bank many millions of dollars each year in undue profits. While I first and foremost want the matter over, I would like to see us bank held accountable for their actions. Many others have been forced to pay or be harassed. I want to put a stop to it.
If there are any attorneys who would like to learn more about the issue in order to consider taking up the matter, or if others reading this have had a similar experience with us bank, please contact me at [protected]@mac.com. As an individual, we are limited in our actions against a banking behemoth; together, we can stand strong and bring accountability and fairness to past and future lessees who find themselves in the unfortunate position of having signed a vehicle lease with us bank.
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