Lease Maturing? My First hand experience in turning in a lease

My wife and I are at the end of our lease on our 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan SE. The Tiguan has been a great vehicle for my wife and I. With that said, our family has grown and so has our need for space when it comes to our primary family vehicle. With that in mind we are now about to embark into minivan land. I know my wife has some reservations about turning in a lease and being a minivan driver but with the latter, I know that in time she will like it.

Between the two of us we have leased 5 Volkswagen over the past 6 years or so. This is the first time that we have had to go through the lease turn-in process. In the past, we have traded the vehicle in through the various pull-ahead programs that Volkswagen offers from time to time. Being that we have to turn it in to VCI, I felt it would be a good time to document my experience turning in a lease with Volkswagen Credit Incorporated.

Our lease matures on July 10th, 2011. We received a packet in the mail about a month and half ago from Volkswagen. This packet was very informative on the steps to take when turning in your lease.  It included a robust tips section, ding and dent cards which I will get to in a moment and additional details on what to expect when turning in our lease.

I found the tips to be quite helpful. Some notable mentions: have the vehicle cleaned inside and out, have service records, owners manual, floor mats, and extra key all available. Inspect the interior and exterior for excess wear and tear, this may include rips or burn holes, stains on the interior and dings and scratches on the exterior. With exterior Volkswagen provided me with a dent card. The rule of thumb was if there was a blemish on the paint, bumpers or wheels more than 2 inches and diameter, I would be subject to excessive wear and tear charges.

I inspected the Tiguan thoroughly and called SGS which is the company VCI uses to inspect their leased vehicles.  I dialed (800) 340-4080 and after holding for minute was connected to a representative and requested an inspection. I called on the 14th and was able schedule the inspection for the 30th at my home. It is kind of like the cable company where the block of times range from 9-12 or 12-5pm. Someone 18 or older has to be present for the inspection and they want to see all the keys, manual, etc at time of inspection. I was notified of a $350 Lease turn in fee that I will see via an invoice along with any other wear and tear charges that I may incur. If you continue to lease or buy with Volkswagen this fee is waived. This time around my wife and I have decided to go with a different make. All in all it was an easy experience. With my inspection scheduled I plan on cleaning and vacuuming the Tiguan throroughly this weekend.

The only other thing I found interesting during this process is when we tried to make the final monthly payment through, it informed me that we were with 30 days of lease maturity and we had to call. I called the number provided and spoke to a representative at VW Credit and was informed of my buy-out options and asked if I was returning to the brand. When I said I simply wanted to make the final payment, they took payment by check over the phone right then and there at no additional fee.

Throughout the entire process I was surprised with the ease of everything, from scheduling the inspection to being informed of VCI’s expectations at lease maturity from the packet they mailed us.  Having this be the first time I had to go through this I did have some reservations but at least with Volkswagen it was hassle-free.

Now only time will tell how we make out with the potential wear and tear charges, but knowing it was a lease we maintained it meticulously knowing that we may be turning this one in and looking outside the brand. With two small kids it was no easy feat but for the most part we feel we were successful. Hopefully the folks at SGS feel the same.

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