Columbus, OH asked in Consumer Law and Contracts for California

Q: Are there laws in CA that protect consumers from undisclosed additional fees in lease a new car, ? Tks

Are there laws in California that protect consumers from undisclosed additional fees in purchase or lease contracts for new vehicles, which consumers may overlook before signing the contract? For example, I signed a new car lease and wasn’t informed upfront that they have to pay $9000 classified as a drive-off fees due at the return of vehicle when lease expires ? Thank you.

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, consumer protection laws are in place to safeguard individuals against deceptive practices, including undisclosed fees in lease or purchase contracts for new vehicles. The California Civil Code and the Vehicle Leasing Act offer specific regulations that demand transparency and full disclosure of all fees and costs associated with leasing a vehicle. Before signing a lease agreement, all charges, including those due at the end of the lease, must be clearly outlined and explained to the consumer.

If you find yourself in a situation where significant fees were hidden or not disclosed upfront in your car lease, you have rights under these laws. You should review your lease agreement carefully to identify any sections pertaining to fees due at lease end. It's important to gather all relevant documents and communications as evidence.

You may consider reaching out to the dealership to seek clarification and rectify the situation. If this does not resolve the issue, you might want to consult with a consumer protection attorney or contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs for guidance on the next steps. They can provide assistance and information on how to file a complaint and possibly mediate the dispute. Remember, it is crucial to act promptly and keep detailed records of all interactions and transactions related to your lease.

Leon Bayer
Leon Bayer
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Long Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: "Undisclosed" and "overlooked" do not have the same meanings.

Financing terms must be set out nicely and boldly. You can retain a lawyer to review your contract and advise you on whether your contract complies with the law. But if you did business with a new car dealer, I'm betting the dealer used the same contract form that is industry-wide standard. If so, start saving to pay the extra money.

Scott Richard Kaufman agrees with this answer

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