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Top 10 Leasing ScamsTM
  1. Secret Price Hike
  2. Disappearing Trade
  3. Quote the Factor As APR
  4. Phony Lease/Buy Comparison
  5. The Undisclosed Acquisition Fee
  1. The Payoff Packing Scheme
  2. The Extended Warranty Rip-Off
  3. The Phantom Options Scam
  4. The Single-Payment Rip-off
  5. Phony Lease Trade-in

Free Bonus Scam: The Call-Back Leasing Scam

10. Phony Lease Trade-in

One of the reasons car dealers love leasing is because they know you will be back in a couple of years and you will, of course, need a new car. Many leasing customers get the itch for a new vehicle and start the process early. They end up at the dealer asking if they can "trade-in" their current vehicle for a new one. "Sure, Mr. Smith. Step into my office and have a seat."  In this scam, the dealer uses this opportunity to roll you into a new high-profit while hiding all the early termination fees and penalties in the new lease. 

How it Works: Unless your lease contract specifically mentions trading-in your vehicle for a new one (we have never seen one that does), there really is no such thing as "trading-in" with a lease. No matter what the dealer tells you, your current lease must be terminated early for you to turn-in the vehicle. All of the early termination fees, penalties, and unpaid depreciation as spelled out in the contract, are due. A clever salesman may say, "No problem. We'll take care of all that for you." What he means is all that expensive, unpleasant stuff will get rolled into the new lease where you will pay interest on it for the next three years. And while he's at it, he'll take care of your security deposit on the first  lease by making it mysteriously disappear. 

How to Prevent: Just don't do it. If you think about it, you are combining two complex and inherently risky processes - terminating a lease early and leasing a new vehicle - into one step. And you're going to trust a car salesman to handle all the paperwork for you. You are much better off seeing your first lease to completion before leasing a new one for the following reasons:

  1. You avoid the early termination fees and penalties on the current lease. If the dealer says he will pay them for you, then he's overcharging you on the new lease. Take the fees out of the picture and the new lease should be that much cheaper.
  2. You are in a better negotiating position without the baggage of an existing lease that must be terminated. You are free to buy or lease any product from any competitor and the salesman knows this. Make them earn your business all over again with a sharp deal.
  3. And finally, terminating early and leasing a new vehicle makes tracking all the elements of the deal and accounting for all the money very difficult. This means you are more likely to get ripped off.

By the way, after making your last lease payment you should have 30 days to turn in the vehicle. This should give you plenty of time to acquire a new vehicle.

 


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