Florida drivers struggle to exercise car lease buyouts

'It's terrible that they don't follow the contract,' driver says
Posted at 5:44 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 17:52:44-05

Editor's note: After this story aired, Rosario Lepe-Monteagudo said she received a call from her dealership saying that she can finance with her credit union or anyone she wants. They are now saying it does not have to be with the dealership.


Some local car leaseholders are struggling to exercise their end-of-term buyout agreements.

This comes as dealerships blame low inventory and rising costs of used cars.

"How do you go to sleep at night knowing that you rip people off this way," Rosario Lepe-Monteagudo said.

He has been going back and forth with her car dealership for a month to exercise her lease buyout agreement.

"To my shock, they wanted to sell me the car for $27,000 when my residual value is $14,000," Lepe-Monteagudo said.

Rosario Lepe-Monteagudo, Leaseholder
Rosario Lepe-Monteagudo shares the struggles she has encountered with the car dealership over her leased vehicle.

She was able to get the Nissan dealership to honor her original contract residual amount. It's cost her time and plenty of stress.

"On top of that, they throw all these fees that people don't just have extra cash to give away," Lepe-Monteagudo said.

Those fees and taxes should also be laid out on your lease buyout agreement.

We reported Sundaythat Robert Dattolo's struggle with getting his contract residual amount and fees down to what's written in his contract.

Now, we've learned the dealership he's been working with has agreed to just the fees in his contract.

But why can't you just write a check to the leasing company and bypass the dealership?

In Florida, it's not so simple.

Joshua Feygin, consumer protection attorney
Joshua Feygin discusses why buying out a lease isn't as simple as writing a check.

"Any time they try to buy out their lease they’re directed by the captive lease servicer to visit a dealership in order to complete the transaction," said Joshua Feygin, consumer protection attorney. "The closest I've found is a Florida statute that requires anybody that engages in the sales of motor vehicles to maintain a license. However, I'm not quite certain what prevents a lease servicer from obtaining such a license and proceeding onwards with these types of transactions."

Lepe-Monteagudo said she's comfortable with the amount she has to pay now, but there's more.

"The only trick is you cannot finance with anyone else. You have to finance through them," Lepe-Monteagudo said.

Feygin said he's seen that happen to his clients too.

"I haven't seen that provision on any lease that I’ve received to date, and I'm a little puzzled as to where dealerships are getting this certain right," Feygin said.

Lepe-Monteagudo's advice is to fight for what's in your contract.

"It's terrible that they don't follow the contract," he said. "It's a contract."

WPTV reached out to Nissan Motor Acceptance Company for clarification on why its Florida leasees are not able to buy out their leased car directly. Below is their response:

"NMAC's understanding is that Florida law requires the title transferor on a lease-purchase to have a dealer license; since NMAC does not have such a license it is referring its lease customers to their local dealer to engage the lease-purchase."