What is an auto lessee’s rights regarding changes to their lease without notification?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2012

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What is an auto lessee’s rights regarding changes to their lease without notification?

About 3 years ago, we leased a car through a dealership related finance company. The lease expires in 4 months. I called the finance company to get the payoff so we could look at trading the vehicle. I was told we could only trade it at a dealership or we could buy it and then trade it. They no longer allow a third party to buy the vehicle. The finance company made this change to existing leases on 2 months ago without telling anyone with a lease. They claim they are the owner of the vehicle and as such they can make this kind of change. Is this legal?

Asked on September 12, 2012 under General Practice, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I realize that on the face of things, this all seems unfair. However, the terms of your lease will prevail; it is a binding contract. The fact is that many times a lessor retains the right to make certain changes to such an agreement (provided that they are not changes to the material terms). That having been said, they also typically have the responsibility to notify the their lessee of changes. Again, you will need to look at your lease agreement carefully. If things are not clear or you feel that the lessee has violated the terms of your lease, you can consult with an attorney. For the prce of an hour or so of their time they can review the document and give you guidance on how best to proeceed in this matter.

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