Ford heads for remote lease returns

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Ford is taking its first step toward a remote lease return process by allowing its customers to electronically sign using their own devices during the grounding process. According to a bulletin sent to dealers by Ford Credit, the change takes effect today, but appears to have a rather significant limitation that is worth knowing.

As of August 1, Ford Credit says customers now have “the option to log in on their own device during the grounding process” in what it says “is just our first step in delivering a great experience. truly remote”. The process involves using a QR code to check the odometer and sign a disclosure on your own phone or tablet.

However, Ford’s lease return process isn’t entirely remote yet. In its current form, Ford Credit says “the customer must be in the presence of the dealer user”, adding “what we recognize is not the ultimate solution”. For now, it’s unclear what the captive lender means when he says he’s aiming for a “truly remote experience.”

Although rental returns are normally fairly straightforward, a global chip shortage has resulted in a number of restrictions. Most major auto brands last year eliminated third-party buyouts as a way to funnel inventory to their own dealerships, which could prevent consumers from capitalizing on sky-high used-car prices.

Reports of lease buyout issues have also affected consumers. In May, Ford warned dealers about lease buyout fees. In February, Infiniti called out dealerships who charged bogus fees, failed to meet purchase quotes or refused to facilitate buyouts unless customers financed through the dealership.

Last month, Ford eliminated electric vehicle lease buyouts in a bid to make its electric vehicles “more sustainable and affordable for our customers by localizing the complex network of the battery supply chain, creating recycling options for end-of-life vehicles and increasing battery production in the United States,” according to a letter sent to dealers.

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