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Disappointing experience with lease return

I returned my Model S yesterday after a 3 yr lease (and picked up my 4th Tesla!). This is the first time I've had to return a vehicle with damage, and I expected to be charged for some repairs, but the situation has turned out to be quite upsetting for several reasons; here is a list of the damage:
  • There was a scrape on the front right quarter panel and broken side-view mirror; this happened over a year ago while the vehicle was parking itself. I was showing off self-parking to a friend when suddenly the car jolted forward into a garage retaining wall faster than I could react with my brake foot. I reported this incident to Tesla at the time, but they said it wasn't their fault because "the feature is still in beta." So it was my responsibility to repair it; it was during covid and the body shops were either closed or were not doing Tesla repairs. I decided to take the insurance money ($1200 based on the adjustor's $1700 estimate minus my $500 deductible) and hoped that Tesla would not charge me too much more upon return.
  • Two weeks ago, I went out to the car on a cold morning and the windshield was cracked. I immediately called Safelite and made an appt for the following week, but they called me just before the appt and said Tesla was taking 4-6 weeks to get glass to them, so we'd have to reschedule. Of course I didn't have 6 weeks to wait since my lease was up in (at this point) 1 more week. I canceled with Safelite and figured I'd have to work with Tesla and my insurance upon return.
Tesla has refused to work with my insurance. Insurance they required me to purchase but will now not honor. The only thing they've offered is to extend my lease two more months (cost: $2900) while we wait for Tesla themselves to get glass to the repair shop. In other words, they want to charge me to wait for them and they themselves won't work with the insurance they made me buy.

Yesterday I got a bill for the above damage to the car: $4,500, with no itemization, explanation, break down or manner to dispute this amount. "Due immediately." I have no idea how it got that high?!

Question to you folks: do I have any recourse? I just have to pay whatever amount they decide to put on the invoice?

I'm seriously upset at this outcome and I've made no progress talking to lease returns via email (the CA folks) or my local reps. The bill doesn't list a contact address: it's from [email protected]. This is easily the worst customer experience in 7 years being a customer of this company. :(
 
Coming from the guy who rarely has anything positive to say about Tesla on this forum, I fail to see how Tesla has done anything wrong here.

When you lease a vehicle, you agree to return it without damage. You damaged the car and then pocketed the insurance check that was meant to repair the car. None of this is Tesla's fault.

Now you want them to do what, eat the repairs that you already got paid for from your insurance company?

If the check your insurance company cut you wasn't enough to cover the repairs, you would have gone back to them to get the adjustment to cover the damages. Instead you took the lazy way out and pocketed the check they gave you without repairing the car.

This is fully on you and why you expect Tesla to do anything about this is beyond me. This is one of the negatives to leasing an automobile is you need to keep it pristine for return.
 
Last edited:

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
18,040
44,429
Oregon
For starters, you are only complaining about $2,800, half of which is probably the windshield. (You were already reimbursed for the other $1,700.)

Initial insurance company estimates on repairs are almost always way under what it actually costs to repair. That repair was probably closer to $3,400 and they expected to work with your repair shop on supplemental claims/bills after the work was started.

So the $4,500 bill for the fender, side view mirror, and windshield sounds reasonable to me.

You could submit the portion of the bill you haven't already been paid for, $2,800, to your insurance and ask them to cover it. But they will likely say that you already signed off on the fender/mirror repair over a year ago so they won't re-open that claim. But maybe they will pay you what Safelite would have charged for the windshield replacement.
 

DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
2,284
1,339
Kentucky
As others have said, you need to return the car to Tesla on your turn in date the same as delivered, minus normal wear and tear. You need to repair the damage prior to turning it in, or you are going to pay Tesla to repair it. Dealing with your insurance, lack of parts, is your responsibility, not Tesla. They don't seem to be charging you for the amount of time they will have the car sitting during repairs when they can't sell it to anyone else. They were expecting a car in normal condition. If your windshield broke, or you had an accident near the lease turn in time, you could turn it over to your insurance company. They would then either be responsible for repairing the car by the turn-in time, or paying Tesla to do the repairs -- their option.
 

ElectricIAC

Devil’s Advocate
Dec 31, 2019
3,120
2,092
DFW
I returned my Model S yesterday after a 3 yr lease (and picked up my 4th Tesla!). This is the first time I've had to return a vehicle with damage, and I expected to be charged for some repairs, but the situation has turned out to be quite upsetting for several reasons; here is a list of the damage:
  • There was a scrape on the front right quarter panel and broken side-view mirror; this happened over a year ago while the vehicle was parking itself. I was showing off self-parking to a friend when suddenly the car jolted forward into a garage retaining wall faster than I could react with my brake foot. I reported this incident to Tesla at the time, but they said it wasn't their fault because "the feature is still in beta." So it was my responsibility to repair it; it was during covid and the body shops were either closed or were not doing Tesla repairs. I decided to take the insurance money ($1200 based on the adjustor's $1700 estimate minus my $500 deductible) and hoped that Tesla would not charge me too much more upon return.
  • Two weeks ago, I went out to the car on a cold morning and the windshield was cracked. I immediately called Safelite and made an appt for the following week, but they called me just before the appt and said Tesla was taking 4-6 weeks to get glass to them, so we'd have to reschedule. Of course I didn't have 6 weeks to wait since my lease was up in (at this point) 1 more week. I canceled with Safelite and figured I'd have to work with Tesla and my insurance upon return.
Tesla has refused to work with my insurance. Insurance they required me to purchase but will now not honor. The only thing they've offered is to extend my lease two more months (cost: $2900) while we wait for Tesla themselves to get glass to the repair shop. In other words, they want to charge me to wait for them and they themselves won't work with the insurance they made me buy.

Yesterday I got a bill for the above damage to the car: $4,500, with no itemization, explanation, break down or manner to dispute this amount. "Due immediately." I have no idea how it got that high?!

Question to you folks: do I have any recourse? I just have to pay whatever amount they decide to put on the invoice?

I'm seriously upset at this outcome and I've made no progress talking to lease returns via email (the CA folks) or my local reps. The bill doesn't list a contact address: it's from [email protected]. This is easily the worst customer experience in 7 years being a customer of this company. :(
Your quarrel is with US Bank who backs Tesla’s lease product.

Never lease a Tesla if you value your money and sanity, US Bank is garbage and will nickel and dime you every time they see the possibility.
 

DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
2,284
1,339
Kentucky
Your quarrel is with US Bank who backs Tesla’s lease product.

Never lease a Tesla, US Bank is garbage and will nickel and dime you.
There is nothing nickel and diming someone not doing what they agreed to do in the lease agreement. What would you have Tesla do? Repair the car for free? That is silly.
 

ElectricIAC

Devil’s Advocate
Dec 31, 2019
3,120
2,092
DFW
Read the comment. The OP’s issue is with US Bank which is a notoriously awful lessor when it comes to returns. I know this from being in the Automotive business and having dealt with this excuse for a bank on many occasions.

I would recommend the OP have bought the car out, repair and sell it vs dealing with those mamzers.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,507
7,141
Austin, TX
My Insurance paid me for my windshield based on a Tesla service center quote of something like $900 or slightly under).

You could see if your insurance would do same.

But on the other damage, pocketing the money took the insurance out of the picture finalizing the repair. And they probably low balled you by a hood but if there is door or fender damage. That’s unfortunately on you dime now.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
8,380
16,339
California
Agree w/ Mp3mike, your quarrel is over $2800.

Here’s a body shop quote I got for a Model S windshield replacement. The 2.5 hours of glass labor added $275 for a total of $1465.

EBF95C27-A9DC-4839-B962-B712B1318CC4.jpeg

It’s totally reasonable to think the actual damage from your parking incident was $1300 more than the notoriously low initial insurance estimate.

If you want to quarrel with your insurance company to get reimbursed for the windshield, that would seem to be your problem, not Tesla’s or the lease company’s.
 

DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
2,284
1,339
Kentucky
Read the comment. The OP’s issue is with US Bank which is a notoriously awful lessor when it comes to returns. I know this from being in the Automotive business and having dealt with this excuse for a bank on many occasions.

I would recommend the OP have bought the car out, repair and sell it vs dealing with them.
In this instance there is nothing unreasonable or nickel and dime repairing a car that is returned in bad condition. I wouldn't care who the bad leasing company is. In this instance, there is no leg to stand on. You don't get a break when you do these things.
 

Doanster1

Active Member
Feb 14, 2018
1,170
617
Oregon
The accident happened over a year ago and you sat on it/took the $$. Scrape could’ve been repaired (no parts needed?). Mirror could’ve been sourced on eBay, etc. You just waited too long so now are stuck with the consequences.
Sorta like not filling up the tank on a rental car then flabbergasted when they charge you $12/gallon. :)
 

Doanster1

Active Member
Feb 14, 2018
1,170
617
Oregon
OP has not indicated receipt of an itemized invoice.
Right, but at a min it includes front end, mirror, and windshield damage. Maybe there’s MORE they found like bald tires, cracked wheels, etc. but at a min it includes those obvious things. No way to argue around that and not sure why you’d want to.
People need to take some responsibility and not always say xxx manufacturer sucks (not just Tesla).
 
  • Funny
Reactions: ElectricIAC

ElectricIAC

Devil’s Advocate
Dec 31, 2019
3,120
2,092
DFW
Right, but at a min it includes front end, mirror, and windshield damage. Maybe there’s MORE they found like bald tires, cracked wheels, etc. but at a min it includes those obvious things. No way to argue around that and not sure why you’d want to.
People need to take some responsibility and not always say xxx manufacturer sucks (not just Tesla).
Tesla is okay. US Bank sucks.
 

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