A ‘midsize’ conundrum

For the past 20 years, we’ve leased all of our vehicles.  It’s just been more practical as well as financially feasible, considering we don’t ever drive all that far over the course of a three or four-year period (the length of a typical lease).  Over those years, we’ve had the following:

  • 2000 Ford Ranger
  • 2003 Subaru Forester
  • 2006 Jeep Compass
  • 2010 Subaru Forester
  • 2013 GMC Terrain
  • 2016 Ford Edge

With the exception of the Ranger, they’ve all been SUV’s of the mid-size or ‘crossover’ variety.  It was while we had the Ranger that we figured out that we needed something that was like the truck, but was a bit better for transporting people and things. (more things than people as we rarely have company that we need to take from Point A to B)  Every lease we swapped choices.  I chose the 2003 Forester, my wife picked the Compass, though we discovered that was a poor choice, as it was a very new model of Jeep and the frame was very stiff, it didn’t take a bump very well in the road.   The second Forester was sort of a toss-up as I recall, we were looking for a vehicle and our lease on the Compass was coming up pretty quickly.  After looking at different SUVs, we happened to be at a satellite lot of the dealer that we’ve been using, and they didn’t have the ‘one’ we were looking for.  The one we ended up with was ‘close’ and the sales guy sort of talked my wife into leasing it, because he didn’t want to look for anything that wasn’t on his lot.  If he had to ‘share’ his commission with someone else at another dealership, well he wasn’t really interested in that.   He threw in a few bells and whistles, made it amenable for us to drive it off the lot that evening.  We went to Red Lobster, had dinner and by the time we got back, we dropped off the Compass and drove the Forester home.

The last two vehicles have been my choice.  I think my wife got tired of choosing, to be perfectly honest.  I spend a good amount of time looking at vehicles, can read the technical aspects and for the most part understand them and I do the lion’s share of the driving.  She really only has a few preferences that she wants each vehicle to have.  So long as they have a moon roof or sunroof, heated seats, and they’re comfortable for riding, she’s happy.  When she’s happy, I’m happy.  Me?  I like to have a good sound system, rides well, a back-up camera and the ability to interface with my phone.  I have had an ongoing subscription to Sirius XM radio since we had the Terrain, so I expect any vehicle we get to have that, so I can just transfer the subscription.  I don’t need a nav system installed as I have a Garmin GPS, and that can be plugged into the 12V port.

I’ve been looking into different vehicles for the last couple weeks and have my preferences narrowed down a bit.  I’m not looking for a brand that I’ve had previously, although Subaru has come out with a new model called the Ascent.  It’s a little larger than the Forester, and I’d be very interested to take one for a test drive.  It’s been 3 years since I’ve checked out new vehicles and I’m itching a little to try out the new doodads that have been coming out tech-wise.

You’re sh*tting me, right?

I spent 5 hours of my life yesterday waiting for someone that was supposed to come to my house but never did.  Five. Freaking. Hours.  On my vacation, no less.

The lease for our vehicle is due to end next month and one of the requirements is that the vehicle has to be inspected so that the lessor can determine whether or not there’s cause for additional charges for repairs before the end of the lease.  Which makes sense, if there’s some major problem with the car, and they don’t determine that ahead of time, it could end up being costly for either us or them (likely us) and it would happen at the very end of the lease, causing probably less than stellar results for us in wanting to be a repeat customer.

We started getting phone calls and e-mails from the company the lessor uses for this about a month and a half ago, and I’ve been interacting with them for the past week or so.  Getting the car inspected isn’t a problem, scheduling a time that’s convenient for both them and us is.  We’re not in a major metropolitan area, so their inspectors are going to be on the road going to and from places for large stretches of time, so they need to schedule them accordingly.  Consequently, when I was on the phone with both the customer service arm and the dispatch arm, they took down two places and two addresses.  I think you can start to see where things are headed.

I made an appointment for Thursday, between 12 and 5.  They schedule appointments in blocks, so you have to wait between 8 and 12 pm or 12 and 5 pm for the inspector to arrive.  You can either have it done at your workplace, your home or at a place that’s mutually agreeable to you both (like a car dealership, a parking lot or somewhere else)  I had mentioned the local car dealership where we’d originally leased the vehicle, then mentioned my home, since I was on vacation this week and wouldn’t have to sit around a dealership for 4 or 5 hours waiting for someone to arrive.  If I’m going to have to spin my wheels and wait, I might as well do it somewhere that I can be comfortable, or do something else in the interim.  After confirming the appointment (and location, as well as address) with the scheduler on Monday,  I didn’t expect there were going to be any problems.  Oh, what little did I know?

On Wednesday the phone rang here at the house and I answered to a confirmation call, the operator informing me that the inspector was going to be here between 12 and 5 and the car needed to be accessible to them, as well as having the keys (or key fob in this case) available as well.  I informed the operator that all of that was going to be in compliance and hung up with him.  Yesterday, our houseguests wanted to go out for early-bird dinner but figuring the inspector was going probably be here and gone long before that, it was just a matter of finding a place to go locally that was open.  In the interim, I started waiting around 12 pm and waited patiently through the afternoon.

By 4 pm, however, I was starting to get antsy.  No inspector, no phone call, no nothing.  I finally decided it was time to call the customer service people and discover whether the inspector got lost, had an accident, or there was some other reason he or she wasn’t showing up.  After taking my information, I was informed that the inspector went to the local dealership even though the address they had was my home address!  If the inspector had come here, they would have seen the car in my driveway.  So I was more than a little perplexed why when the inspector went to the dealer and inquired about the car, no one, neither they nor the dealership called us to determine what was going on.  The person on the other end of the line didn’t know either, so she bumped my call up to her supervisor.

The supervisor was extremely apologetic that I’d been inconvenienced, and attempted to right the situation as best he could.  Since by then it was past 4:30, he wasn’t able to get an inspector to come here and do the work.  It would have to be rescheduled.  Again, being out of the way was going to be a problem.  He looked in my area (which confirmed my suspicion their central office is nowhere near here) with his limited scheduling ability and couldn’t find anyone that could be here before July.  Well, that wouldn’t work as the lease is up next month and the car won’t be here by then.  So, again I have to wait for a phone call from them to re-schedule this inspection that should (by all rights) have already been completed.  And yes, the clock is ticking.

So yeah, I’m pissed right now.