In my last post, I listed some terms that you should definitely know before signing on the bottom line for a new car. For lease contracts, you’ll have a few extra areas to watch out for – and some extra questions you’ll want to ask.
Annual Mileage: Make sure the annual mileage is what you’d previously agreed to. Also, make sure you understand the over-mileage penalty.
Disposition Fee: Make sure you see and understand whether you’ll pay a disposition fee to turn in your car at the end of its lease term.
Wear and Tear Allowance: Make sure you see and understand what amount of wear and tear allowance is allowed at the end of your lease. This is especially important to know before your salesman pitches you on buying additional wear and tear protection.
Signing on the Bottom Line: the Due Bill
Your dealer may give you one little extra form where their promises are put in writing. This is called the “Due Bill.” If the dealer agreed to give you all-weather mats, a free oil change, or a missing key, this is the form confirming they owe you these items. Before signing the Due Bill, make sure it lists everything owed to you. You and your salesman should never have any outstanding verbal promises between you.
When signing paperwork, the main things to check are the fields your dealer has the ability to change. Scan them all, and stop wherever you have a question. This is usually your last opportunity to ask AND have corrections made. If you’re the type who likes to read the small print on the back (and there’s nothing wrong with doing so), you might find it more efficient and productive to ask for a copy of a blank contract ahead of time. That way you don’t feel the pressure of four families staring at you while they wait their turn.