Car Leases and Credit Scores

A popular cause of huge decreases in credit scores are collections at the end of a car lease. Many consumers roll in to the car dealership looking to turn in their car at the end of the lease. Some return to the dealership looking to negotiate for a new car while others just want to end the relationship and move on to another brand entirely. Once the dealer accepts the car, even if they say it looks “ok”, it does not mean the consumer will not be billed for damaged discovered later on when the car is inspected by the experts from the “official” home office. In many cases with varied types of cars we have seen collections update on credit destroying scores. When asked consumers usually say, “the dealer told me everything was fine when I handed the car in”. We have also heard, “the dealer told me not to worry about the damage since I was getting a new car with them they would have it waived”. Some did not agree with the charges and refused to pay. In any or all of these situations the dealer is not the bottom line or the decision maker since the car goes back to the company in most cases where they make the ultimate decision. If you are turning a car in make sure to call the official leasing or financing division and get feedback from them on any charges that might be outstanding. Always get a letter from the leasing company acknowledging closure of the lease and zero balance owed. Following up and doing your own homework can save a great deal of frustration and protect your credit.