|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
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 for one vehicle
|Time to get
|Get Quotes on
New and Used Vehicles
New and Used.
|What you get:
the vehicle at the quoted terms?
Yes, $50 fee when you apply
(fee credited back when you sign lease).
to leasing through the dealer, negotiating tool.
lender name and phone
Only after applying for
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