Leasing a car can be a big deal, sometimes even more so than outright buying a car. You won’t have to pay as much all in one go, but there are plenty of things that can go wrong, things which you might not notice until they creep up on you and flip everything upside-down in an instant.
“Of course I know my mileage.”
Mileage is something that seems like just another metric on paper – if you’ve never had to know it off by heart before, you might just make a guess or go with whatever the dealer is suggesting.
This is, in all honesty, a huge mistake.
Many dealers want the mileage on the car to be pre-determined before leasing and won’t want you to exceed that limit unless there’s no other option. If you end up using double the miles you said you would, they’re completely in the right to charge you extra – per mile. 3000 extra miles could lead to an additional thousand pounds on the annual lease price, and you won’t be able to “sell back” any unused miles if the dealer offers such a service.
It’s better to pay extra for miles you won’t use than bankrupt yourself using miles you shouldn’t use.
“I want to cut my lease short.”
Leasing can be expensive if you’re not careful but ending a lease early can be even more expensive no matter how much you were paying before. Dealers really don’t like this and will almost always charge you a sizable amount for ending the lease early. After all, you’re technically breaking the contract you agreed to.
If you think you’ll need to cut a lease short, try negotiating it down to a smaller duration, with a promise to pick the lease back up again for the full period if everything goes to plan. A reasonable dealer might even encourage this if you tell him your concerns since it would let him prepare to re-lease the car if you decide to drop it.
“I want to lease this long-term.”
A car that you lease isn’t yours – that’s just how it works. You’re free to move on to another car at any time and for any reason, and every extra year you keep that car is another year it’s your responsibility.
When you consider that many manufacturer warranties only last for two or three years, you might understand why “loyalty” to a leased car is an awful idea – one that warranty runs out, you’ll be paying for past-the-warranty maintenance on a car you don’t actually own. Even worse, if the car needs to be upgraded to continue being road-legal, you’re sinking even more costs into a car that’ll eventually go back to its owner.
“You’re the expert, what kind of deal should I take?”
Salespeople exist to make sales, and they know that we know that, but there’s still no reason for them to not try and pressure you into taking a more expensive deal. There’s no deal where a sales rep won’t make money, only ones where they’ll make more money, and taking the right deal for you is important.
That’s not to say that you should go for the cheapest deal available – sites like Go Green Leasing can explicitly tell you what you’ll be getting for your money, so if a deal you want is a little pricier than another, don’t be afraid to take it anyway.
“I’m sure there’ll be no wear and tear.”
Most leasing companies want their cars returned in near-perfect condition and will explicitly tell you this once the lease is ready to be completed. However, there’s not really a legal definition of terms like “wear and tear” and forgetting to define them with the dealer can lead to unexpected extra charges down the line.
You may think a small drink stain on one of the seats is a minor issue, but to a dealer, that might be “wear and tear”. So, could scratches, bumps, damaged seats, a chipped dashboard… all of these could and more could cause you to spend more than you bargained for once the car’s returned.