Buyback Lease Scam
Car customers who are wanting to use their buyback option with their leased vehicles are discovering that doing so can be a costly expense. Recent news’ stories have surfaced about how some dealerships are actively scamming their customers by charging their lessees, unusual buyback fees that were not part of their original lease contract.
How the Scam Operates
Basically, what appears to be going on is that some dealerships are pulling a “Well, let’s try it and see if they fall for it” type of scam by trying to convince lessees who want to buy back their vehicle that added fees are part of the normal process when lessees want to keep their vehicles after the lease contract period ends.
These added fees fall under a variety of types such as:
• A Filing Registration Fee of several hundred dollars just to have someone at the dealership enter in their computer that the vehicle ownership is transferred to the lessee.
• A Predelivery Service Fee also costing several hundred dollars that is odd since the lessee already has the vehicle in his or her possession.
• A Certified Vehicle Inspection Fee where the dealership claims a final inspection needs to be done before allowing its new owner to take the vehicle on the road.
The beauty of the scam is that being a new type of scam, the laws or policies covering this one are not well worked out yet in spite of the scam appearing to be in violation of the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Here’s a recent news report about what is going on for car lease holders in Florida:
Earl Stewart on WPLG TV Channel 10 in Miami
What You Can Do When Faced with This Scam
If there is one thing to take from this is that if a fee is not outlined in your original lease contract, then you are not required by law to pay that fee. Unfortunately, however, this does mean that the process of taking ownership of your leased vehicle is going to be as simple as saying “No Fee…No Way” to a car dealer.
In some lease contracts there might be a condition that you cannot enter into any arbitration with the dealer over a leased vehicle after the contract is signed. Furthermore, it may take years before the policies to protect consumers from this type of scam will be developed.
Reportedly, some lessees have had success by pushing back at the dealerships showing them that they know they are being scammed, resulting in the dealership backing down from forcing the fee payment.
For a legal perspective of this type of scam, here is a recent YouTube video where attorney Steve Lehto presents his take on what is going on.
Many Dealers Charging Illegal "End of Lease" Fees
For additional articles related to car leases, here are two informative ones that could help you with your car lease:
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Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.
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