SwapALease.com - is this service right for you?

Ron Doron

So here I am, two years into my $279/month Honda Ridgeline lease, and I want to get out of it. A friend suggests SwapALease.com so I contact them to see if indeed I can get out of my lease.

The program works like this:

  1. Original lessee pays swapalease.com $500 to advertise the vehicle and find someone to start a new lease.
  2. Whether swapalease.com is successful or not, original lessee still pays $500.
  3. If they find a new lessee, a credit check is run and if approved, SwapALease.com will pay off the old lease and issue a new lease.

It all sounds wonderful and simple, but here's the problem. My original Ridgeline lease was for $1500 down, $279/month, for 39 months. After two years, i have a payoff amount of $20,800. A typical new lease would run as follows: $0 down, $409/month, for 36 months. To me, that sounds absurd and I'm wondering just how much money SwapALease.com is making. Furthermore, why would someone lease a used truck or car for more than a brand new one costs.

Back in the 1990's, I worked for Nissan Finanical Services and my job was to design these special leases. you remember the $0 down, $299/month Maxima lease. Those special leases cost Nissan an average of $1200 per car. That's how much money Nissan pays its finance company to get the price of the vehicle down to an attractive amount. This was accomplished through a "buy-down" process where the price of the car or the interest rate were bought down. Another way to reduce payments was to artificially inflate the residual value of the car. The higher the residual value, the less you pay during your lease. Next time you're considering a special lease, ask these questions and make sure you can stay for the duration of the lease.

Bottom line is that you cannot get a better deal than you can through the dealer on a new car, especially when it's a special lease. The other lesson is that when there is a special lease, you can almost be guaranteed to be upside down in it if you try to get out early.

I guess leases are like any relationship. They're exciting and promising in the beginning, but if you want to get our early, it's going to cost you.

Ron Doron, TheDriversSeatTV.com