Dear Fellow Consumer,

Thank you for your interest in our LeaseWise service, the only independent, nonprofit, new car leasing service in the country.

Very few consumer transactions are as deceptively simple as entering into a new car lease. But this seemingly simple transaction is fraught with consumer risk. The financial complexities of the many elements of a new car lease such as the money factor, residual, assignment fees, contracted and un-contracted excess mileage charges, gap insurance, purchase option costs, and dealership participation, can be insurmountably confusing to even the most savvy shopper, and provide fertile ground for the growth of consumer fraud. No wonder the attorneys general of many states have already launched investigations into allegations of extensive leasing fraud, and the federal government has made attempts to provide regulatory assistance through the Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation M.

Growing from the successful experience of thousands of new car purchasers who have used our CarBargains service, we have developed the LeaseWise service to provide value and confidence for those of you who wish to lease a new vehicle.(Texas customers, please read this note).

By using LeaseWise, you will -

  • Make dealers bid for your leasing business,
  • Be confident that you are getting the best deal in the market,
  • By-pass hassles and high-pressure sales tactics,
  • Avoid having to negotiate,
  • Eliminate those last minute "surprise" fees and charges,
  • Know what the lease contracts really say, and
  • Have our nonprofit consumer organization with you throughout the leasing process.

How Much Can I Save?

Since we began offering the LeaseWise by CarBargains service, the savings on competitively bid leases have been dramatic -

  • Mercedes S Series 3 yr. lease - Savings from low to high bid - $2853
  • Chevy Tahoe 2 yr. lease - Savings from low to high bid - $2620
  • Honda Accord 3 yr. lease - Savings from low to high bid - $1090
  • Lexus LS Series 3 yr. lease - Savings from low to high bid - $5036
  • Ford Explorer 3 yr. lease - Savings from low to high bid - $3842
  • Nissan Pathfinder 4 yr. lease - Savings from low to high bid - $2093

How the LeaseWise Service Works

Here’s how the LeaseWise service works:

  1. You tell us the make, model, and style of the vehicle you wish to lease, along with the lease term (24, 36, or 48 months) and the yearly mileage you desire.
  2. We will then get at least five dealers in your area to bid against one another to lease that make, model, and style of vehicle for that term and mileage. Each dealer commits to a markup or markdown from factory invoice cost. Any additional fees or mandatory add-ons are itemized and fully disclosed.
  3. We verify the terms of each dealer’s recommended lease plan, as well as whether any lower cost lease plans, found through our data analysis, are available at each of the bidding dealers. All the pertinent numbers are verified. These include:
    • Money factor
    • Residual
    • Miles per year included
    • Fee for contracted excess mileage
    • Fee for un-contracted excess mileage
    • Assignment fees
    • Gap insurance costs
    • And more
  4. The verification of these terms will account for any dealer interest rate markups, subsidized lease programs, or special incentive provisions which might be applicable to your car and lease program combination.
  5. When all the competitive bids have been gathered and verified by fax, we calculate a Monthly Payment Index that ranks each dealer’s monthly payment against all the other bidding dealers for both the dealer’s recommended lease plan and, if different, the lowest cost lease plan available at each dealership. We also calculate a total cost index that rates the overall lease plan cost, should you choose to purchase the vehicle at the end of the lease term.

  6. We send you a report that includes:

    Dealer quote sheets, which show how much above (or below) factory invoice cost each dealer has agreed to sell/lease the vehicle, and the name of the manager responsible for the commitment.

    • Factory invoice cost information for your type of car or truck.
    • Detailed financial terms for each dealer’s recommended lease plan and, if different, the lowest cost lease plan available at each dealership.
    • An index table that shows you how each dealer’s quote compares for lowest monthly payment- and for total cost, if you decide to purchase the vehicle at the end of the lease.
    • A detailed worksheet that allows you to calculate your monthly lease payment (minus tags, taxes and title) for the vehicle equipped the way you want.
    • Information on each lease plan’s contract provisions for early termination, disposition fees, end of lease purchase options, insurance requirements, default, excess wear and tear, and more.
    • An explanation of any available manufacturer-to-customer rebates.
    • Other useful information on the language of leasing, extended service contract pros and cons, and low cost service contract options.
  7. You call the bidding dealership of your choice, speak with the manager responsible for your quote, and make arrangements to execute your lease.

    We encourage you to send us a photocopy of your final lease contract to help us monitor the system.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I decide I want to purchase instead of lease, or I’m just not sure?

The LeaseWise by CarBargains report secures quotes for both purchase and lease (the purchase quotes are actually necessary if you choose to use a non-manufacturer lease finance source). We even provide worksheets for both scenarios.

What about options? Do I need to decide on them now?

No. You only need to tell us the make, model and style of the vehicle you want (the only exceptions to this are Honda and Acura, where all the options are dealer-installed). The dealers bid an amount above or below the total factory invoice cost. You are, in effect, paying invoice cost for each option or option package you choose (in a very few cases, dealers may place bids relative to total MSRP). In this way, the quotes you receive will be applicable to any vehicle of the type we shopped that is available in your market. If you are purchasing the vehicle, even factory order quotes are obtained, if applicable. When leasing, however, lease finance terms change so frequently, that your LeaseWise report will be most applicable to vehicles which already exist in your area.

How close will the dealers be to my home?

We maintain a computer file of all dealers in the country. When you order our service, we identify dealers close to you and get them to bid. In urban areas they might all be close to your home. In more remote locations, the distances could be larger.

What about rebates?

If you are entitled to a manufacturer-to-customer rebate on the car you are leasing, we will tell you so in your LeaseWise report. You can then choose to receive a check from the manufacturer or you can have the dealer apply the rebate to your lease to reduce your capitalized cost.

If there is a secret factory-to-dealer rebate on your vehicle (money which the dealer may do with as he chooses), the LeaseWise competitive bidding process will squeeze out much of this additional dealer profit, resulting in additional savings to you. You have a real leg up in this area because the staff of LeaseWise by CarBargains does ongoing national research on the availability of dealer rebate programs through its CarDeals rebates and incentives newsletter.

What The Press Has Said About CarBargains

Money Magazine

"... Money [had] correspondents in five cities comparison shop three internet buyers [Auto-by-tel, AutoVantage, and CarPoint] vs. CarBargains. The result: In nine out of ten comparisons, the lowest CarBargains bid beat the lowest Internet bid, even after adding in the service fee."

Kiplinger’s Buyer’s Guide The New Cars

"CarBargains has gotten lower quotes than other car-buying services in several consumer tests."

ABC News,20/20

"CarBargains, a non-profit buying service, got the best deal - $3,000 off the sticker price."

Good Housekeeping

"Can save you hundreds of dollars on the price of a car."

Motor Trend

"CarBargains delivered the best new-car price in our search."

Mark Eskeldsen, What Car Dealers Don’t Want You To Know

"[CarBargains] not only produces a good price, it also spares the consumer the hassles and high-pressure sales tactics."

Jack Gillis, The Car Book

"We believe it’s a great value"

Why Not Do It Yourself?

There is no magic to the LeaseWise service. It is founded on proven competitive bidding techniques, constantly updated financial information on over 50 lease financing sources (both banks and manufacturers), detailed analysis of actual lease contracts, a thorough understanding of the leasing process, knowledge of the best bids we are getting for hundreds of other customers, and years of experience. Most consumers will find the scope of this information impossible to duplicate on their own. Without it, however, the consumer is extremely vulnerable to subtle (or blatant) manipulation of the financial terms of lease arrangements, in order to put more and more profit in the dealer’s pocket.

  • How would you know that Ford Motor Credit has a secret Lease Finance Charge calculation?
  • How would you know that on a particular Lexus lease, Key Bank Leasing produced the lowest monthly payment, but Toyota Motor Credit produced the lowest total cost if you purchased the vehicle at the end of the lease term?
  • How would you know that secret dealer rebates were available as markdowns on the cost of the vehicle if you used one particular lease plan, but not another?
  • How would you know that different dealers, quoting the same lease plan, can use widely varying interest rates?
  • How would you know that one lease plan versus another could save you up to $600 on gap insurance?

The complexities and variations in leasing are so numerous as to overwhelm even the most conscientious shopper. The LeaseWise service puts you in control in a way that is impossible on your own.

Do Dealers Live Up To Their Commitments?

We get dealers’ bids by phone and then confirm them by fax. The dealers know that they will not get future opportunities to bid if they fail to follow through as they should. Failure to honor a confirmed bid has been extremely rare. Should any problems or questions arise, LeaseWise by CarBargains is only a phone call away.

Is There A Guarantee?

If you are able to get a lower monthly payment than you would get under the terms of the quote of our lowest quoting dealer, in the same time frame and area, without using our information as leverage, we will refund our fee.

A copy of your lease contract and vehicle window sticker will be required as proof of the transaction.

Who We Are

LeaseWise by CarBargains is a service of the Center for the Study of Services, an independent, nonprofit consumer organization, founded in 1974 with the help of funding from the U.S. government’s Office of Consumer Affairs. The Center’s purpose is to provide consumers information to help them get high quality services and products at the best possible prices. The Center is totally independent, has no relationships with any auto dealers, and accepts no advertising.

The Center is supported entirely by subscription payments and donations from individual consumers who subscribe to our magazines, and by fees for our information services. We do not accept support from businesses and our publications carry no advertising.

Call Us If You Have Questions

If you have any questions now or upon receipt of your LeaseWise report, please give us a call at 800-475-7283. We look forward to helping you get the best deal on your new car purchase or lease.



Robert Krughoff