US Bank lease return experience -- fairly awful

Hi folks,

Thought I’d share my experiences with US Bank. My father leased a Volt through them in November 2013, before GM Financial existed. Biggest difference from our perspective is that, compared to a captive lender, 1) don’t expect any semblance of customer service and 2) expect to be dinged on any wear or tear.

As is customary, they send AutoVIN to do a pre-return inspection. AutoVIN sends the report back to US Bank, who then determines if the wear is “normal” or “excess.” If excessive, US Bank assigns a cost to each repair.

In our case, AutoVIN found a scuff in the front plastic air dam, as well as a small paint scratch on the front bumper and rear bumper. US Bank’s deemed this wear to be “excessive” and provided an estimated bill of $1,000+ for these repairs. Parts included an entire new front bumper and air dam, and labor consisted of painting and installing the new front bumper and a touch-up of the rear bumper.

To me, the wear clearly fell within the “normal” wear and tear guidelines that were mailed to us in a brochure. So we declined to repair the items, planning instead on disputing the charges. After all, it’s ludicrous to replace and paint an entire bumper for a scuff on an entirely separate part, the unpainted air dam.

We went ahead and returned the vehicle. The local Chevrolet dealer wouldn’t take the car – another disadvantage of a non-captive lender. We called US Bank, who found a local Ford dealer to use instead. About a month later, the $1,000+ bill came in.

I could go into detail about the dispute “process”, but in short, the process is bogus and opaque. Pursuant to instructions I received by phone, I submitted a letter and included all sorts of documentation as to how the charges are erroneous. We received no response, except for overdue bill statements. I called multiple times and got the runaround each time (“sorry, we’ve got a backlog – you’ll hear from us soon.”) Finally, in April, five months after the lease return, I’m told over the phone that a response was mailed to us in January. I had to follow-up with them three times to obtain a copy. The letter itself is a generic response saying that the charges are valid and the matter is final.

So, in short, if leasing through US Bank, fix any so-called excess wear and tear before returning the car, even if it’s normal wear and tear. Keep the receipts. In hindsight, a new plastic air dam would have cost $50 from the dealer, and a touch-up is at most $200 from a body shop. Don’t expect to successfully dispute anything; I have no reason to believe there has ever been a successful dispute. And I can see why – to US Bank, it’s free money. Don’t expect any goodwill, unlike with a captive lender who cares about customer retention.

On the upside, we were still better off leasing than buying. The residual was $22,662 and the car likely sold at auction for $12,000. Even accounting for the $7,500 federal tax credit US Bank got, they still lost a bunch of money.

Thanks for reading!


Yikes. I’m sorry to read about you and your father’s travails. This is a lesson for anyone seeking a lease deal with US Bank.

The folks who leased the F-Type that can “transfer” out (vs Chase captive)

Ouch that is horrible. Lesson learnt about US bank.

Imagine how much they would ding you on a jag f type. So with this, the guy who is trying to transfer his 396 F type better throw in some incentives lol

That sucks. Every captive at least gives some “credit” for excessive wear, I think. US Bank was mostly subprime lender, so I guess that’s how they get their money.

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Lol and now they are leasing Jaguars for 399 lol

That sounds horrible. Luckily I got my new Chevy leases through GM Financial.

I must commend Honda on how exceptional their lease return process has been. I scheduled appointments to evaluate 3 cars and the repair estimates they gave me were far below what I had expected. One car had pretty extensive front fender and bumper damage and the estimate came out to $590, which was mostly covered by their $500 damage waiver. I was expecting between $1,000 and $1,500.

The inspector actually told me that Honda is pretty forgiving for exactly the reason you stated, customer retention.

I have a similar experience with US Bank 4-5 years ago on a Chevy lease return. I would not lease another vehicle through US Bank ever again.

No dealers would take the car return. I basically had to beg a dealer to take the car return for US Bank since I was picking up a new car from that dealer. They attempted to send me a bill for new tires and front bumper replacement. The tires were new replacementa less than 2 months old and the front bumper had a dime size rock chip.

I was able to have them remove the tire charge since I provided them with a dated reciept that all tires were replaced less than 60 days ago. At the end, I still have to pay a hefty price for a rock chip on the front bumper.

Never again.

That sucks, I have a great experience with a return of a Camaro last year with USB. Try to see if you can negotiate the charges (I have had 50% waived if I agree to pay right away with a different leasing company. It cannot hurt to ask.)

Exact same experience with US Bank and my 2013 Volt. $1600 ding for excess wear and tear eventually reduced to $1000. Atrocious to deal with. My dealer said they are by far the worst financier to deal with.Leased another 2017 Volt with Gm Financial thankfully this time around.

@buster11xx My 2014 Camaro lease ends Feb. 2018 with US Bank. Did you have any noticable damage when you returned your Camaro? I currently have a scratch on the hood that should buff out, and a door ding that needs touching up. Other than that I don’t see anything excessive.

@GOMD No noticeable damage, just some curb rash on the wheels. They did not mention that at the inspection. It was a very smooth process from start to finish. I did get the pre inspection-- so if something was noticed I would have time to get it fixed.

@michael Your father’s experience lines up with the stories I have heard in the industry but none have been as detailed as yours. It sounds like US Bank is very disconnected internally with a very rigid business rule about their turn-in process. Every lender should make customer retention one of the top goals, if not the top one. They were one of the few banks that stayed in the game through the recession and have enjoyed a decent lease volume due to slight price advantages over the captives (on a few models) and flat fees paid to dealers.

I wonder if the experience is any different on a car that they aren’t taking a total bath on? Luckily the other 3rd party lenders actually care about retaining customers.

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How and where did you do the pre inspection? Thanks,

I don’t see how they could argue it is excess wear when your documentation clearly shows it’s within the limits of the wear and tear rules? No way to escalate?

It brings up a good point though- is there any official protection for consumers in these situations? Is it a process that’s protected by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? Sounds like shady credit collection practices-they are a lender…they are leveling charges at you under duress that would hurt your credit if you don’t pay etc…someone more clued up on this kind of issue can weigh in.

Like I said before - they are used to dealing with subprime lenders, hence strong-arm tactics. All normal lenders have guidelines for normal wear/tear.

There is no way that this is plainly legal, where a business can contradict their own return guidelines, essentially ignore documentation, and have final say in the matter with no recourse. They have every incentive to abuse consumers.

If the lease has an arbitration clause for disputes, tell them that you’ll pursue that. Other options include threatening to take them to small claims court and/or get the Department of Consumer Affairs involved if you don’t get a more reasonable response out of them.

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I hd a very similar experience. The inspector called out all sorts of things that should have been normal wear and tear as stated in the lease-end documents I received. Mine was about $1300 as well but I ended up advertising the car and sold it to a private party. He got a great price (thousands less than he would have paid at a dealer) and I didn’t have to pay for the repairs. A win-win which is very surprising when US Bank is involved.

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I have autovin scheduled to come out tomorrow for a pre-return inspection. USBank lease. I have a few items I know need repair. One wheel has some decent curb rash as well. Not looking forward to this, based on above I’m preparing myself.

I wonder if tipping inspector well would help :slight_smile: