It’s hard to imagine an accident causing the total loss of your virtually brand-new BMW. This is especially rough to think about if the car involved is a high-performance BMW. For example, the M5 Competition in this particular story. However, imagine that, on top of losing your car, the manufacturer steals $25,000 from you. Allegedly, that’s what happened in this particular case.
BMW terminated this M5 Competition owner’s lease and took the profits after his crash
According to Car Scoops, a California resident named Alexander Russell signed a three-year lease for a 2019 BMW M5 Competition back in October of 2019. Unfortunately, on February 14th, 2022, the car was in a crash. That crash led to the insurance company writing it off entirely. That’s where things got a bit messy between Russell and BMW.
As most are aware, inflation has the prices of vehicles at an all-time high across the board at the moment. This inflation is exceptionally huge on high-end cars like this BMW M5. According to Russell, the remaining balance on his financing was $81,589.57. However, the vehicle’s insurer, Safeco, valued the vehicle at $106,178 at the time of the accident. So, Russell states that he should have gotten the remaining equity balance of $24,589.40 after insurance paid the vehicle off.
However, Russell alleges that the balance of nearly $25,000 went to BMW Financial Services instead. That seems pretty cut and dry. However, the reasoning for BMW keeping the money is a bit of an interesting grey area. Now, it led to Russell joining an additional 1,000 BMW owners who found themselves in similar situations to create a class-action lawsuit against BMW. It’s not like the German giant needs the money, right?
The grey area in question comes from the fact that the vehicle was under lease terms. So, the destruction of the vehicle brings the lease to an early end. Since the vehicle is still technically the property of BMW and Russell was leasing it, the company allegedly kept the money from the insurance company. However, Russell, his fellow claimants, and his attorney are suing with claims that they should have been able to purchase the car after the accident since the lease came to an end.
It’s a bit of a messy situation
Russell and his attorney pulled out all the stops in the lawsuit. They are suing BMW for misrepresentation and deceit, breach of the implied promise of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, interference with contractual relations and potential economic advantage, unfair business practices in violation of California’s Business and Professional Code, and conversion.
“In a closed-end consumer vehicle lease, the consumer is always entitled to purchase the vehicle during the term of the lease, or at the end of the lease,” the lawsuit notes.
Russell’s attorney Leon Ozeran states that BMW can call in the lease since the high-performance sedan was a total loss. However, he also states that Russell should have had the opportunity to buy the vehicle at the end of the lease. Just like in standard lease-end circumstances. Thus, taking ownership of the car and any equity leftover.
It’s a tough call, but it will be interesting to see how the eye of the law sees it!