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Consumer Alert:
"Live" Lease Quotes being Sold on Internet for $12

 

When it comes to the Internet, it seems there is no limit to what people will try to sell to make a buck. Recently we began to notice that several large car-buying sites have begun to promote a product that promises to give you multiple quotes from leasing companies in your area for $12. The theory is that you can then take these quotes to a dealership and use it to compel them to give you a better deal. Sounds good, right? We decided to evaluate the $12 live quote service and compare it with similar information available for free from LeaseCompare.com.

The ad we responded to said 6 quotes for $12, so we made a list of six cars and set off to get our quotes. Right off the bat we discovered that six quotes for $12 turns out to be one quote, on one vehicle, from three lenders for two different number of months (e.g., 36 and 48 months). Sheesh. I guess technically that is six quotes - 3 lenders x 2 lease months x 1 car, but its not what I had in mind. Unwilling to part with $72, our list had to be trimmed a little to, well, one car. So I chose a 2003 Nissan Maxima for the test.

So with Visa card in hand, I filled out the form, ignoring the pushy offer to save $2 if we buy their software package for $34.95. Anxious to take our "six" quotes down to the local Nissan dealer and save big money, we encountered another little bump in the road: it turns out that "live" lease quotes take up to 2 days to receive. Oh, well. I guess that new Maxima will have to wait till Monday.

After 36 hours we still had not received our quote or any instructions on how to obtain the quote. Apparently you must log into their web site and check the status of your order periodically until its ready. When we did so we were able to view and print the quote, but once again we were disappointed. What we got was a single sheet of paper with money factor, residual, and acquisition fee, for 36 and 48 months, from 3 anonymous, unidentified "sources". No lease company names, no phone numbers, and no way to verify the information. Just a legal disclaimer (which took up about a third of the page) stating that the information is from "professional sources", actual rates may be "higher or lower", and they do not warrant our ability to obtain the terms quoted. So it turns out that the "live quotes" we bought for $12 are not really quotes at all. To us a "quote" means a viable offer to lease or buy at a specific rate and terms. Neither of which it seems you can do with our $12 "live quotes".

So what can we do with our live quotes? The print out says, "If you can get a deal that meets or beats the quotes we have furnished, you can be confident that the offer is fair with respect to the terms quoted… Good luck!" (Yes, it actually says that on the quote).

 

$12 "Live" Quotes

Lease
Compare.com

Cost $12 for one vehicle Free 
Time to get quote 1.5 days Immediately, on-screen
Get Quotes on New and Used Vehicles New only. New and Used.
What you get: Residual
Factor,
Acquisition fee
Security
Residual
Factor,
Mileage Penalty
GAP
Acquisition fee
Disposition fee
Security Deposit
Can you lease the vehicle at the quoted terms?

No.

Yes, $50 fee when you apply (fee credited back when you sign lease).
Intended Use Negotiating tool. Alternative to leasing through the dealer, negotiating tool.
Discloses lender name and phone No Only after applying for financing
Test Quote Numbers Residual: 49%
Factor:.00251
Residual: 49%
Factor:.00269

We decided to compare our $12 live quote to lease quotes available for free from LeaseCompare.com on the same vehicle. The numbers  were remarkably similar with both companies quoting 49% for the residual, and the live quote coming in with a factor of .00251 verses LeaseCompare's .00269 (the difference represents less than one-half percent in the equivalent interest rate). Neither service identifies the source for the quotes.

However, the similarities between the two services end there. We identified three notable distinctions. First, you can actually lease your vehicle through LeaseCompare.com at the stated rate. If you find that the dealer can't or won't budge, you always have the option to lease the vehicle through LeaseCompare. You can apply for financing online or by toll-free number at which time LeaseCompare collects a $50 fee, which is credited back when you sign the lease. With live quotes there is no option to lease so you are on your own to duke it out with the dealer.

Second, getting a quote from LeaseCompare is a breeze compared to the awkward process you must go through to obtain live quotes. It took us less than a minute to obtain our quotes from LeaseCompare.com verses 36 hours for the live quotes.

And finally, LeaseCompare's quotes are free and unlimited, so you can get as many as you want. In contrast, the "Live" quotes cost $12 per vehicle.

Considering the cost and the hassle involved, we strongly recommend steering clear of the $12 live quotes. In our opinion, you get very little value for you money especially when considering that almost identical information is only a free click away at LeaseCompare.com.