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Leasing a Car

Helpful Tips

Thinking about leasing a car? These tips will help you compare lease offers and get a lease that best fits your budget and your needs.

Consider all of the costs.

You’ll have to make a payment when you sign the lease, while you are leasing the vehicle, and when you turn the car in at the end of your lease.

Know the up-front costs.

Up-front costs include: first and last monthly payments; a refundable security deposit; fees for license, registration, and title; a capitalized cost reduction (similar to a down payment); an acquisition fee (also called a processing or assignment fee); freight or destination charges; and taxes.

Estimate total monthly costs.

Besides your monthly payment there are additional costs associated with leasing a car which include sales, use, and personal property taxes; insurance premiums; maintenance costs; and any fees for late payments. You’ll also be responsible for safety and emissions inspections and any traffic tickets during the lease.

Watch out for end-of-lease costs.

If you end your lease early, you may have to pay early termination charges. If you don’t buy the car at the end of your lease, you may have to pay a disposition fee and charges for any excess miles or wear. These costs should be spelled out in your lease.

Compare different lease offers.

Ask for written lease offers, read the fine print carefully and compare several offers.

Negotiate costs and lease terms.

You may be able to negotiate costs and fees as well as terms such as the length of your lease, the mileage allowed by your lease, and your option to purchase the car when the lease ends.

Pay attention to the car’s value.

Negotiating a lower value can reduce your monthly payments.

Ask about “gap” coverage.

This insurance helps you cover the total amount owed on your loan, over and above your insurance coverage, if a car you have leased is stolen or totaled in an accident.

Know your rights.

When you lease a car, you have the right to: drive it for an agreed-upon number of months and miles; take advantage of any warranties, recalls, or other services that apply to the car while you’re driving it; turn it in at the end of the lease and walk away once you’ve paid any fees or charges; and buy the vehicle (if your lease includes a purchase option).

We Can Help

If you have a complaint about leasing a car, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.