Auto Leasing Rights

A "capital" idea -- Find out the "capitalized cost" of a leased vehicle which should be comparable to the vehicle's purchase price. This cost is negotiable.

Dear New Yorker:

Consumers in New York are now protected by the strongest auto-leasing law in the country.

It's called the "Motor Vehicle Retail Leasing Act" and, along with the Federal Leasing Law, it provides New York consumers with strong rights when leasing a vehicle.

This law allows consumers to shop around for the best deal when leasing a car, sets limits on early termination charges and even directs the Attorney General's Office to resolve "excess wear and tear" disputes through a special arbitration program.

If you're planning to lease a vehicle, this card highlights some of your most important rights.

To learn more, call or write:

Office of the New York Attorney General
The State Capitol
Albany, New York 12224


Look Before You Lease -- Upon request, the leasing company must provide you with a sample lease before you sign.

Worth a Second Chance -- If you default on a monthly lease payment, you have the right once during the lease term to reinstate the lease. You must make the required payments within 25 days after receiving notice of your reinstatement rights.

There's a Limit -- Early termination charges must be reasonable and are limited under the law. The earlier you terminate your lease, however, the higher these charges will be.

Open-Ended Leases -- Beware of leases that make you pay the difference between the estimated vehicle value when you signed the lease and the "realized" or real value when the car is returned. This can amount to a lot of money!

Wearing Thin -- You may dispute an excess wear and damage claim by using the Attorney General's arbitration program set up to hear such complaints.