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Discussion Starter #1
I want to make a list/timeline of the things I need to do and monitor regarding the return of my leased 2014 Volt. If there is already a list, please point me to it as that would be helpful. The leasing company (Ally, in my case) lists some things, but I want to know what all I *should* do to maximize my interests (not theirs).

I'm imagining something like this, where time "T" is the end date of the lease (i.e. three years after the lease was signed)

T-30 days: Start fixing any cosmetic issues that might be considered excessive
T-? days: Have Ally do vehicle inspection and document condition, etc.
T-? days: Return car (should I do this at the dealer I bought it from, or some other place? Is this done at the same as above?)

Registration on the car will expire on day T. So will my insurance. How do these factor into the date of return?

Separately, I'm already shopping for my next car. I wanted to finish this first lease and see how much (if anything) I would get dinged for on EWT and other charges before deciding whether to lease again. Not sure if that is possible.
 

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This is the way it worked for me when I returned my Ally Volt. It may be different in California.
I had no issues that needed to be fixed. You can get a pre-return inspection at your own cost but, it will have no weight on the actual inspection that Ally does. It may only give you a heads-up for something.
I returned my Volt to the same dealer but, that was not necessary. Then call Ally and tell them where the car was returned too.
Then, sometime in the next 2 weeks, Ally will send their inspector out to look at the car.
Sometime after that you will get a notice in the mail that shows what you still owe or that you are free and clear.
Because the inspection was NOT done in my presence, I took a lot of pictures of the car on the day that I returned it. Highlighting every little scratch. Including tire treads with a ruler, the EVSE, both key fobs, and the owner's manual in the car. Make sure that the pictures are time stamped to prove they were taken on the day of return.
The only thing I needed from the dealer was the odometer statement.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This is the way it worked for me when I returned my Ally Volt. It may be different in California.
I had no issues that needed to be fixed. You can get a pre-return inspection at your own cost but, it will have no weight on the actual inspection that Ally does. It may only give you a heads-up for something.
I returned my Volt to the same dealer but, that was not necessary. Then call Ally and tell them where the car was returned too.
Then, sometime in the next 2 weeks, Ally will send their inspector out to look at the car.
Sometime after that you will get a notice in the mail that shows what you still owe or that you are free and clear.
Because the inspection was NOT done in my presence, I took a lot of pictures of the car on the day that I returned it. Highlighting every little scratch. Including tire treads with a ruler, the EVSE, both key fobs, and the owner's manual in the car. Make sure that the pictures are time stamped to prove they were taken on the day of return.
The only thing I needed from the dealer was the odometer statement.
I'm trying to figure out what date I should return the car. Who is responsible for the car for the two weeks it sits on the dealer's lot? Do I need to carry insurance for that time? What about vehicle license registration, which for me is set to expire when the lease ends? If I am responsible for the car and it needs to have valid insurance and registration, then it seems I would have to turn it in 2 weeks prior to the lease end date...
 

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I returned my leased '13 to my dealer, at which time I asked my sales rep to do a walk around to witness that the EVSE was present and rear armrest present, flat tire kit complete and unused and the owner's manual present. My car was near flawless, so I had no surcharge issues with Ally, other than their pathetic attempt to charge me a hefty surcharge for "early return" (2-days). My dealer said "ignore that, they do that with everyone". Great business practice. That convinced me to never, ever lease again and to advise everyone to avoid Ally. U.S. Bank leasee's seemed to have it better, I read.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I returned my leased '13 to my dealer, at which time I asked my sales rep to do a walk around to witness that the EVSE was present and rear armrest present, flat tire kit complete and unused and the owner's manual present. My car was near flawless, so I had no surcharge issues with Ally, other than their pathetic attempt to charge me a hefty surcharge for "early return" (2-days). My dealer said "ignore that, they do that with everyone". Great business practice. That convinced me to never, ever lease again and to advise everyone to avoid Ally. U.S. Bank leasee's seemed to have it better, I read.
You returned it 2 days before lease end and they tried to levy an early return surcharge?? Did you have to do anything to get it removed, or did it just go away?
 

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After you've completed the return I recommend you not lease another car. You just paid over the life of that lease the amount that most people will pay in finance charges on a new car loan. Wasted money.

As for the "early return" surcharge, if you made all the lease payments on schedule, including the final one then I would actually report them to your State's AG office that handles consumer complaints. This is nothing more than an attempt to steal more of your money.

Treat the lease turn in as if you are turning in a long term rental car, which in reality is what you're doing. Before taking the car in remove any and all personal items from it. Give it a quick vacuum and car wash to get it reasonably clean - dirty cars get a much closer inspection than do clean cars. Then using a camera that date/time stamps all pictures take pictures inside and out. Take pictures of fluid levels, general exterior condition to include close-ups of any "dings" on the outside, condition of seats and interior surfaces, odometer, fuel level, tire tread depth for all four tires. Even take a picture showing the gas cap is in place. The very first picture in the series needs to have an external validation of the date/time for the entire series of pictures. Don't forget to remove your license plate at time of turn in.

Once turned in notify your insurance company - removing the car from your insurance if you have another car on the policy. There's no reason to pay insurance on a car you no longer have.
 

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Wow, so many responses saying to never lease a car again, and none of them from me.... I couldn't be prouder of the other members in this forum. Who wants to claim greenback troll number 4?
 

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After you've completed the return I recommend you not lease another car. You just paid over the life of that lease the amount that most people will pay in finance charges on a new car loan. Wasted money.
Not true I got a 3 year volt lease that if I just wanted it for 10K miles a year would have cost me $~7k before state rebates. $5K after rebates (I got 15K miles so was $1K more, but trying to do demonstrate in best possible terms. This is EVERYTHING, tax/tags/title...

lets say you'd get an LT for $27K with tax and tags and everything it goes up to over $30K. You get back 9500 in rebates, so now you're down to ~$21K. why should I pay 4x more up front for a car that a) I probably wont keep 12 years b) even if I do, that the back 9 years will be more expensive in terms of maintenance and other aggregvation.

not all leases are good (the volt is not leasing as well at the moment), but there are plenty of times where for the same car leasing is a much better value proposition than purchasing.
 
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