CONSUMER LEASING ACT FAQ
WHAT DOES THE CONSUMER LEASING ACT COVER?
The consumer leasing act applies to leases for items of personal property where the lease is in excess of 4 months and the item is leased for personal, family or household purposes.
DOES THE CONSUMER LEASING ACT COVER REAL ESTATE?
No, the consumer leasing act does not cover real estate. The act applies to personal property, like vehicles, appliances or other items.
IS THERE A MAXIMUM AMOUNT FOR THE LEASE PAYMENTS IN ORDER TO FALL WITHIN THE CONSUMER LEASING ACT?
Yes. The total lease obligation must be $50,000 or less.
DOES THE CONSUMER LEASING ACT APPLY TO PURCHASED ITEMS?
The item must start out as a lease, but if you later purchased it, then the act may apply.
CAN THE LESSOR CHANGE THE TERMS OF THE LEASE AFTER IT HAS BEEN ENTERED?
No. That is really the point of the act. The consumer is entitled to have the lease terms disclosed.
WHAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF A VIOLATION OF THE CONSUMER LEASING ACT?
One example that I see occurs in vehicle leases where the customer considers buying the vehicle. There is an option to purchase a vehicle at the termination of the lease. That lease end purchase option should have a price that you’d pay to buy the vehicle. Some dealerships add fees or revise the lease end option purchase price in some other fashion – after the lease has been entered. This might violate the act.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
Well, that can get to be an involved answer, but you are entitled to actual damages that you incurred. You are also entitled to 25% of your payments, up to a maximum of $2,000 (and a minimum of $200). Very importantly, the lessor must pay your attorney fees for successful claims. Since the lessor must pay your fees, you don’t pay my office for legal representation of your consumer leasing act claim.
DO I HAVE TO SUBMIT MY CONSUMER LEASING ACT CLAIM TO ARBITRATION?
Under the consumer leasing act, you don’t have to submit your dispute to arbitration, but the lease terms could require arbitration.
CAN I BRING A CLAIM UNDER THE CONSUMER LEASING ACT AS A CLASS ACTION?
Maybe. The simple answer is that you can present claims under the consumer leasing act as a class action, but this gets complicated as there may be language limiting or restricting your rights.
I THINK MY CONSUMER LEASING ACT RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED, WHAT HOW CAN I PROCEED?
Contact Ronald S. Weiss to discuss the specifics of your situation. Since the lessor has to pay attorney fees, it makes senses to have an attorney on your side.