A consumer’s death during his or her lease term isn’t a common occurrence, but how the lender responds to the needs of the consumer’s family members makes a lasting impression.
Automotive News became interested in learning about programs for deceased lessees after we heard about a captive that required the lease customer’s widow to pay off her husband’s payments -- now.
We don’t know the details of the husband’s lease contract or if his payments were up to date, but the widow felt abandoned and disappointed by the captive. She already had a vehicle and couldn’t afford her husband’s payments on her own. On top of coping with a major loss, she had to deal with a potential financial crisis.
Mercedes-Benz Financial, on the other hand, will in some cases allow family members to return the leased vehicle and relieve them of future payments.
The likelihood that a consumer dies during a lease term is so low that relieving deceased clients’ lease payments is unlikely to hurt a lender’s bottom line. More important to the lender is consumers’ trust. By simplifying the decisions, and potentially taking a substantial payment off a family member’s plate, Mercedes-Benz is solidifying that trust across the deceased client’s family.
Other lenders would do well to review how they treat consumers during their time of grief.