Common car lease scams

| Mar 22, 2021 | Consumer Fraud |

Car leasing has many desirable advantages that consumers like. Notably, it allows the leasee to get a new car and use it without the hassles of ownership. The consumer doesn’t necessarily need to take out a large loan, and they pay lower monthly payments. Setting aside these benefits for the moment, the consumer still needs to be careful before signing a lease agreement.

Typical tactics to beware of

Unfortunately, not all dealers take an honest approach to their transactions.

  • Do your research: It is best to go into the negotiation with an idea of what you want and understand the process, which avoids getting directed towards bad deals.
  • The monthly payment: The dealer will ask about the monthly budget and then apply it to a longer lease, or they will encourage the consumer to increase their budget.
  • Trade-in value: If the trade-in is overly generous, they will likely jack up the lease price.
  • Lying by omission: Consumer asking about a cosmetic blemish may get an answer that they will fix it, but they don’t mention that the cause was due to a collision.
  • Lump-sum payment: Paying the total amount upfront can avoid paying interest, but the dealer may add the interest to the total amount, thus making it the same price either way.
  • Credit score: Be sure to check your credit score before going in to lease a vehicle, so you don’t have to take their (potentially misleading) word for it.

Holding fraudsters accountable

The consumer should not sign anything if it appears that that the lease company is unethical or fraudulent. However, it is not always apparent that a business is misleading its customers, such as leasing a car that was not the vehicle promised. If this becomes clear after signing an agreement, lemon laws and consumer fraud laws still protect consumers.