Leasing a car? Then don't be as stupid as I was.

By | January 29, 2008

If you are planning to lease a car, make sure you read the fine print. I didn’t, and I was also somewhat ignorant (some might say stupid), and it ended up by costing me a lot. Plus, the dealership made out big time.

Here’s the sordid story:

About five years ago, I started my own business. I was pretty lucky in a right place / right time sense, and began doing really well (for a mid to late 20’s guy). I had always wanted to own a Porsche, so to celebrate my success, in 2002, I treated myself and leased a Porsche 911 (996). I guess that was my first mistake. I really should have bought the car, but I didn’t want to commit for the long haul (even though I always wanted one, I thought it prudent to not fully jump in with both feet on what amounted to a childhood fantasy.)

Anyway, fancying myself as a bit of a performance nut, I asked the salesman about my installing aftermarket equipment. The salesman said no problem. Silly me, I believed him (I realize I will get called all sorts of names for this, and I fully deserve them, so fire away.) In fact that’s why I’m writing this, to keep someone else from making the same dumb mistake I did.

Long story short, I lease my car, and I’m happy as heck until some ricer in a Civic blows past me. I then end up installing a few aftermarket extras and by a few I really mean a AWE Tuning GT600 Package.

Anyway, three years go by, and while I enjoyed the car, (and never lost to another Civic) I had decided it was impractical. I was very happy that I was ‘smart’ and decided to lease it. So I return the car with nary a scratch, and low miles. It even still smelled new. Now, here’s the rub:

  1. I got hit with a good sized monetary penalty for the modifications. (Read: bent over at the waste at the dealership pants around my ankles.)
  2. The lease company refused to return my aftermarket upgrades. I had kept the original parts because the salesman also told me that I could pay a nominal fee to re-install them and get my high performance stuff back. I figured I’d do such and sell the high performance stuff on ebay. No dice.

This all would have been made apparent had I read every word of the contract. But, of course, who really does that (note: me from now on.) I instead listened to the salesman (who, incidentally, is no longer at that dealership.)

Now, this by itself wouldn’t have made me so angry after all, this is entirely my fault and I totally get that. But here’s the ultimate rub of salt in the wound, get ready for this:


Are you @#$%ing kidding me??? Is that the ultimate kick in the groin?


I upgraded the car, got hit with a penalty for such, lost the money on the parts, AND the dealership made out like a bandit?? I needed a drink (or four) after I heard that.

So anyway my point is simple, if you are leasing a car, be it a Porsche or a mundane minivan, make sure you aren’t planning on modifying it in any way. You may lose out big, and make the dealership more money to boot. I definitely should have bought instead of leased. But I was dumb, please don’t do what I did.

Anyone else got a car leasing horror story?