The Most Complained About Aspects of Leasing

If you’re looking to buy a new car, but want a low monthly payment with little-to-no money down, then leasing is probably the best way to go. However, there are some drawbacks to leasing a car and consumers typically have a few common complaints about the process. So here are the more common complaints about leasing as well as some solutions for them.

Leasing a car costs more than getting a loan for it

This complaint is kind of a misnomer when it comes to leasing, that is if you only plan to get rid of the car after the lease term is up. We say this because your upfront cost (down payment) and your monthly payments when leasing is always lower than if you were to finance the same car. However, if you end up opting to buy the car when the lease contract is up, then you would ultimately be paying more for that same car if you were to finance it from the get-go instead.

According to Go Auto, lease payments will always be 30 to 60 percent lower than loan payments. So if you want to take the most advantage of leasing a car – and not pay more than you should for the car – then it’s best to just carry out the lease term and then sell or trade the car in at the end of it. That way, you’ll end up paying only a fraction of what the car would cost if you financed it and you’ll be able to enjoy the car for three years.

NEW YORK – APRIL 27: A leasing sign is displayed in a window at a General Motors dealership on April 27, 2009 in the Queens borough of New York City. GM has announced that it will be to cutting 21,000 Jobs and will eliminate the Pontiac brand. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

You’re never done with your monthly payments

This complaint stems from those who habitually lease cars every few years. Sure, it’s nice to be able to drive a brand new car every three years, however, if you do that, then you’ll always have a monthly car note to worry about. If you don’t want to perpetually have car payments, then either finance the vehicle or buy an affordable used car.

There’s a limited amount of miles that you can drive

When you lease a car, you have to choose how many miles per year that you’re going to drive. The typical mileage allotments are 10,000, 12,000, and 15,000 miles per year, but you can tailor a lease to meet your mileage needs. Although, the more miles you drive, the higher the monthly payment, typically around $15 to $20 more per month.

However, if you drive more than 15,000 miles per year, then it’s usually recommended that you finance the car as opposed to leasing since the mileage overage or inflated monthly payments can make leasing not worth it.

Cars stand on display for sale at a Mercedes-Benz dealership during the coronavirus crisis
Mercedes-Benz models available for lease at a dealership | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

There are fees and penalties if you need to terminate the lease early

It’s true that if you need to terminate a lease earlier than what the contract is set for, then you’ll likely have to pay an early termination fee as well as the remainder of the lease payments. However, you can typically circumvent this, or at least reduce the amount that you will owe, by selling the car to a third-party vendor like Carmax or Carvana.

Those used-car dealers typically pay more for used cars and if the amount that they offer you is more than the car’s “payoff amount” – the total amount owed for the car – then you’ll actually make a little money off it. But if they offer you lower than the payoff amount, then you’ll owe some money, but it could be less than what you would owe if you paid all the fees and penalties instead.

A car dealership salesman works on a sale
A car dealerships salesman | Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Leasing isn’t for everyone

While there are some drawbacks to leasing, it’s still a good method when it comes to getting into a new car, provided that you stay within the confines of the lease contract. However, if you can’t, then we recommend financing a new car instead, or perhaps, buying a used one with low miles.