Leaving the country, have to exit my lease

Hello, I am new here so forgive me if I am posting in the wrong place but here goes nothing…

I need some advice on my lease. I am from the UK, working over in California. I have a lease on a Golf GTI with 1 year left on it. Unfortunately I have recently lost my job and have to return to the UK on a permanent basis. I am now in a position where I need to hand back the car.

My financial situation isn’t great right now, therefore my options are limited. I can’t afford to pay the remaining term, can’t afford to make up the difference to the buy out value. The car is being advertised on Swapalease but due to VW restrictions I can’t swap when it has under a year left (which is 2 weeks away).

I feel I’ve now exhausted all reasonable options but to turn the car in under voluntary repossession. I know this will ruin my credit rating, but being as I’m leaving the country and almost definitely not returning will this be an issue? And will there be any reoccurring issues in the future whilst I am in the UK.

This is something that I would never have dreamt of doing, but I feel I have exhausted all options and this is all I have left.

Thanks for any help.

You probably don’t have more than 3-4k in negative equity (maybe even less), so you should sell it and take the loss.

Sorry to hear about your situation. Did you call VW and explain your situation to them?

If you have two weeks before the 1yr mark hits, I would add some incentives on SwapaLease to see if you can get someone interested. Explain to VW what you’re trying to do and maybe they’ll work with you. Good Luck either way.

PS, what field do you work in, you don’t see the possibility of finding another job here in the US?

It’s about 5k remaining I believe, at the moment this is too much for me.

I’m going to call VW in the morning and explain my situation and try to work something out.

But do you see any negatives to me just handing the car back on my way to the airport? I know that this is morally the complete wrong thing to do but with all other avenues exhausted this may be my only option.

In response to CaptQ, I’m a car designer, it’s a very limited field and the type of visa I have means that I have to work for the specific company that I attained my visa through.

If you intent to go back to US, then yes try to sell the car and bite the loss, if for sure no way jose you will come back to the US, just lets the bank repossess the car.

It is under hardship you cant pay for the car cant blame you, just like the people in the US file bankruptcy. I dont think it is immoral. In this situation for the US resident to go into default is not worth it, but if you dont care about your credit and have no property here then who care, walk away.

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Sorry to hear about your situation. But if you don’t mind, post some specifics about your lease here (MSRP, lease payment, mileage driven, current location, etc). I’m sure some members here will help you figure out a way to minimize your loss.

Without knowing any detail about your lease, I agree with CaptQ. Try to put some more incentive on SwapaLease. Two weeks is still a lot of time to lease transfer a car with the right incentive.

Fellow Brit here. Are you H-1B? If so, you have 60 days grace to find a new employer. I know it might be tricky in your line of work though.

On the up side, it looks like UK & US credit don’t seem to talk to each other - in a positive or negative way.

You’re in what was always my worst case scenario. Really hope things pan out for you.

If you don’t intend to live in the US for the next decade. Just drop it off on the way to the airport. Yeah, you’ll ruin your US credit for the next 7 years or so, but who cares if you don’t live here? My plan in case I ever fucked up and got way too much debt was to just move to a different country (even Canada) as they have different credit bureaus that don’t communicate with the US.

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Just out of curiosity, what is your monthly payment? How many miles left?

Thanks everyone for your advise, some good comments there!

Here is a link to the lease for everyone that has asked about figures. I’m already offering a $100 per month incentive. I think the swap is a pretty reasonable price…


In response to little, I am on an E2 visa, it makes my options very limited.

But I think in general, I won’t be returning to work in the US. I’m sure I will visit again at some point in the future. But for now, I intend to go back to Europe, I also don’t own any property out here. All of this makes me think that just returning the car is my best option and hopefully it won’t affect me in the UK.

Such a rubbish situation to be in!

Is that your negative equity or the amount of remaining payments?

The negative equity would be the difference between how much someone would pay you to buy the car and how much it would cost to buy out the lease.

So I have 12 remaining payments at $440 inc. tax. The current buyout is $21,898.

VW have offered me 17K for the car, leaving me $4898 out of pocket.

It’s closer to $19K on the higher end of trade-in for standard optioned, even more for private party. Try “Get an Instant cash offer” and see what they offer - they will show dealers in your area who are willing to buy it.


With the appraisal, i doubt any dealer will get close to 19k on the car. That still leave OP with 3k negative. Sell to 3rd party is kind of hard given the op situation, nobody will spend 20k cash on the used car, they will have to finance, and if they finance the bank need to payoff vw and get the pink slip which took time at least 1-2month. Lease swap is the best bet before the reposseses.

No one said it was easy, but he can spend 5 minutes and get a “guaranteed” quote from Autotrader via kbb from multiple dealers in his area. Granted, they will probably still play games when he takes his car to them and he will still be in negative, but he won’t know by how much unless he tries.
Also - I appraised base GTI S. If he has any packages, it should raise the amount.

Park the car at a VW dealership and let them repo it. No issues … if you will never come back to USA…

Thank you Ursus for your research, unfortunately I can’t go any further as it tells me that my car is not eligible for a cash offer, I have no idea why. But I will try and pursue it further nonetheless.

At the moment it’s looking like I stick it out with swapalease for the next couple of weeks and if nothing comes up off to VW I go. I’ll also drop the guy a message on the other thread and see if he’s interested, thanks desi_babu_2010.