Leases should be treated just like contracts. They are enforceable and will obligate you to the terms of any signed agreement. Generally, there are two types of leases: "open end" leases and "closed end" leases.

Open end leases:

  • usually cost less per month, but may be assessed additional charges at the end of the lease
  • amount depends upon the wear and tear on the item when you bring it back
    • if you dispute the amount owed at the end of a lease, you can hire an independent appraiser to value the property
    • an unfavorable appraisal might work to your disadvantage

Closed-end leases

  • allows each party to negotiate the value of the property at the end of the lease
  • an option to purchase it at the end of the lease.
  • the item can merely be returned if not wanted

With any type of lease, as with any contract, you generally cannot terminate the lease early, unless a condition in the lease permits you to do so. Doing so will subject you to several potential problems, including a lawsuit, arbitration, and a negative report on your credit report.

Leases generally involve substantial amounts of money which must be paid over the terms of the lease. As always, contact Member Services to consult with an attorney about your specific situation.

However, sometimes a lease (for office equipment, for example), may be for a smaller amount, let's say $995.00. A problem with the computer or the leasing company would require that you might lose money, if you could not pursue your rights. You may want to learn more about the specific steps you can take to pursue your legal rights. Specific instructions on how to obtain this information is available in the Small Claims and Consumer Help section. Remember - hesitation gives the person or store who was not fair to you the upper hand. This information is all about making sure you get help with your problem, when it costs too much to hire a lawyer.


Posted in: Consumer Rights