Bank One sued for lease car fraud

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by bbauer, Nov 8, 2001.

  1. bbauer

    bbauer Banned

    Bank One Charged with Fraud in Car Leasing

    A class action will soon be filed claiming that Bank One commits fraud in its motor vehicle leasing program. Specifically, the action will assert that Bank One charges lease customers for repair expenses that the bank does not actually incur.

    All automobile lease agreements permit the lessor (the firm that leases the vehicle to the customer) to charge the customer for "excess wear and tear" of the vehicle when the customer returns it at the end of the lease. The agreement will define what is "normal" and what is "excess" wear and tear. Typical examples of excess wear and tear include: broken or missing parts; dented or damaged body panels or trim; cuts, tears, burns or permanent stains in the fabric or carpet; excessively worn tires; cracked or broken glass; and poor quality repairs.

    While Bank One's lease agreement does have this language, the agreement also suggests that the customer must pay only for expenses the bank actually incurs on the repairs of the vehicle. In this action, Bank One's lease customers allege that Bank One collects money for "excess wear and tear" from the customers and, in many cases, never repairs the vehicle.

    Problems often arise when motor vehicle lessors try to take advantage of the "excess wear and tear" provision in the lease agreement. To prevent this, some states have passed laws that give consumers specific rights with regard to charges for what the lessor calls excess wear and tear. For instance, in New York state, the Motor Vehicle Retail Leasing Act specifically provides that:

    1. Excess wear and damage charges can be assessed only if the lessor actually repairs the vehicle or gets a bona fide estimate of the repair costs from a licensed appraiser.

    2. The lessor must provide the consumer with an itemized excess wear and damage bill and a notice of the consumer's right to a second inspection of the vehicle if the consumer disagrees with the bill.

    3. If the consumer still disagrees with the lessor's charge for excess wear and damage, the consumer can submit the dispute to binding arbitration established by the New York Attorney General.

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