One of my closest friends told me today of a funny situation. He had just entered into a lease for a Lexus GS350 and the car has been his for a few weeks. He got a call from the dealership yesterday from the original salesperson who informed him that they had made a mistake on the lease agreement. Apparently they had collected the security deposit on a lower model class of car (I think it was the ES line) instead of what was supposed to be collected on the GS line. The difference over the four year lease was $2,200 if I’m not mistaken. So even though the signed contracts had stated the incorrect amount and had been signed and agreed to by both parties, the salesperson had called to ask for the $2,200 or for the car to be returned!
Isn’t A Contract A Contract?
As you can imagine, my friend is not too happy. I’m not a lawyer, but my mind is that if the contract has been signed by both parties, that’s it. As was brought up by someone else, what transpired is the equivalent of the customer going back to the dealership and saying, “Oh, geez. I just realized that the $550/month lease payment I signed up for was a mistake. I thought someone had mentioned it was going to be $450/month – do you mind sending me a cheque for the cumulative difference over the next 4 years of the lease agreement and we’ll call it even?”
Regardless of the letter of the law, what ever happened to doing the right thing? If the business made the mistake, perhaps they should suck it up and not upset a customer (especially in the current environment of auto sales), who until now was having a great customer experience. Now, he’s so upset he’s not even driving the car while waiting for a manager to call back and provide a decision (my friend indicated he would not pay the extra money and would be happy to have the car picked up and returned).
Was It Worth It?
The security deposit lease is refunded upon the expiry of the term of the lease. In this case, the dealership has potentially foregone a customer for life for less than $200 (the accumulated interest on $2,200 over four years at just over 2%). That doesn’t make sense to me. Anyone in the auto sales world care to enlighten us? Is there more to this than meets the eye? Comments appreciated.