A California used luxury dealership has sued Mercedes-Benz, BMW and their captive finance companies, claiming bans on lease returns to third-party retailers interfere with dealer and lease rights under state code.
Calabasas Luxury Motorcars asked the U.S. Central District Court of California to permanently block such restrictions and award attorney fees. The dealership also seeks class-action status for all dealerships allegedly injured by the two captive finance companies' policies.
The defendants have not yet filed answers in court. Spokespeople contacted by Automotive News declined to comment on behalf of BMW, BMW Financial Services, Mercedes and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services because of the pending litigation.
Calabasas Luxury said numerous lessees had attempted to trade in or sell their BMW and Mercedes vehicles to the dealership only to have the two automakers refuse the transactions.
According to Calabasas Luxury, a representative from the Mercedes-Benz of Foothill Ranch dealership, also in California, in November told one of Calabasas Luxury's employees, "MB Dealers are the only ones allowed to payoff an MBFS Lease…No 3rd party payoffs."
Mercedes Financial Services has described company lease policy differently.
"In terms of exercising the lease purchase option, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services does not provide quotes to non-franchise dealers," spokeswoman Melinda Mernovage wrote to Automotive News in September. "However, a customer may request a purchase option quote at any time, and we will accept a payment on a lease purchase from any verified payment source."
Another Mercedes spokeswoman confirmed last week that this statement remained valid. Mercedes of Foothill Ranch has not yet responded to a request for comment.