Car lease botched. Must you make payments?

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Dear Driving for Dollars,
My husband and I leased a car more than two months ago. We never received any payment information. We called the leasing company each month before a payment should have been due, and they told us we did not have an account, and no information had been submitted for our car. Now, the dealership just called saying our contract had been rejected by the leasing company because we signed on the wrong line. They want us to make the two missed payments to them, and they’ll resubmit the contract. Are we legally responsible for the two payments even though the contract was rejected?
— Dianne

Dear Dianne,
Well, that’s a loaded question. Laws vary depending on your state, but if you were taken to court, chances are the judgment would be that you owe the two payments. You certainly do from an ethical perspective.

That said, I’m questioning a bit how the situation is being handled and wondering if the dealer is being ethical. Are you really being asked to make the payments directly to the dealership and not to the leasing company? Or is the dealership just collecting the payments to submit with the contract? The payments are owed to the leasing company, not the dealer.

Be sure your new contract — signed in the correct location — is dated with the original date so those two payments are applied to that contract and your lease terms remain the same rather than being extended by two months. You may want to call the leasing company directly to explain the situation and see how it handles these situations.

When you do see the new contract, make sure all the other aspects of it remain the same as the original, including any additional fees such as per-mile charges and the purchase price for the car at the end of the lease term.

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