Swapping leases with Lease Trader

April 11, 2008 4:23:17 PM PDT
More and more consumers are having trouble paying their car leases. But exiting a lease early isn't always easy. So some folks are turning to what you might call the match-dot-com of the car lease industry. Carl Vaughn needed to get out of his car lease.

"This year I got engaged so I had to get rid of the sports car. I'm sure everyone knows how that goes," said Vaughn.

"No trunk, no room. So, it had to go," he added.

But Carl still had two years left on the lease, which was costing him $419 a month.

So Carl turned to www.leasetrader.com. It's one of a number of sites that promise to help consumers in Carl's situation by acting like a match-dot-com for people who want to buy and sell car leases.

"Within days, I had someone who was actually interested enough to start the process," said Vaughn.

Sellers posting on Lease Trader, pay $79 to list a vehicle and a $150 broker's fee after rebate when the lease sells or transfers.

Buyers pay $39 for a credit check and contact information of sellers. They then pay a $150 broker's fee once they assume a lease.

But a word of caution: Some companies don't permit lease transfers

"You have to make sure. Go back to your original lease. Look to see if you can you trade or sell your lease to someone else or assign it to them," said Attorney General Tom Corbett.

"If you trade it to someone else and they discontinue the payments, you're still going to be responsible for those payments," Corbett added.

Also, most manufacturers and finance companies may charge their own credit application, lease-end, or transfer fees. That could cost you hundreds of dollars.

You may also have to pay vehicle licensing, registration fees, or taxes required by your state.

As for Carl, he said it was worth it.

"It's actually your best option if you want to get out of your lease," said Vaughn. A good tip for potential buyers is to make sure to check out the car and the lease details beforehand. That is your responsibility. Leasetrader.com just matches you up with vehicle sellers. The website does not guarantee the condition of the car, the financing, or help either party negotiate.