Beware Price Gouging on Lease Buyouts

With used car prices hitting record highs due to the chip shortages, those of you currently leasing are probably aware that the value of your vehicle is going to be worth more than the buyout price at the end of the lease.

More than ever before, we're seeing leasees buying out their vehicles rather than turning them in at lease end - which makes a lot of sense. However, many dealers are using this as an oppportunity for price gouging consumers.

In some States such as California and Arizona, dealers are required to inspect a used vehicle before selling it to the consumer. When signing a lease in these States, you agree to pay this "inspection cost", but there is no price specified for it (see image below). Historically, inspection fees would typically be $200, but now we're seeing dealers taking unfair advantage of consumers by charging upwards of $1,200!

What Can Be Done About This?

Unfortunately, there's no limit set on what a dealer can charge for the inspection fee, so leasees who are trying to buyout their lease are left in a vulnerable position. The only thing you can do right now to limit this cost is to contact multiple dealers and see which one can do the inspection at the lowest cost. However, it seems that local dealers often collude to keep these prices high.

Due to the obvious price gouging going on with this fee, I feel that lease companies should have a legal obligation to limit this cost by specifying the fee in the agreement and ensuring dealers abide by that fee.

I also think there may be an opportunity for a class action lawsuit for those who have already been price gouged with this fee. If there are any attorneys willing to take this case, please Email Me and I can connect you with leasees who have been forced to pay these outrageous fees.

If you've been forced to pay a high inspection fee on your lease buyout, please Send me an email including the State you reside and the price you were forced to pay.






My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle, CarsDirect, and NADAGuides are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

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About The Author

Gregg Fidan Gregg Fidan is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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I welcome your car buying questions. Email Me and I'll be glad to answer them!