Lease Rates ‘Too Good to Be True’ Should Be a Red Flag

CSI recently won the leasing business for a $5 million PC and laptop installation. Our competition was the vendor’s own leasing unit, who quoted a very competitive lease rate. So competitive, in fact, the customer thought the decision was simple. At first.

When the CSI sales rep suggested the reseller’s pricing was unrealistic, the CIO read the contract again. What he found: our competition gave itself the right to tack on an additional month’s rent at the end of the lease. This small detail eliminated the gap between the two lease rates, and created a large gap in integrity.

The only way to compare lease offerings is to read the fine print. Low rates won’t mean a thing if you get stuck with terms and penalties that cost you more in the long run.

Here are some questions you can ask to avoid similar traps:

  • Are there any fees involved, such as deposits, restocking fees or executory fees?
  • How much flexibility will you have when the lease expires? Requirements to purchase equipment, extend the lease or replace equipment with the same lessor are bad deals.
  • How will fair market value be determined if you want to purchase the equipment? Are there third party appraisal procedures if both parties disagree?
  • Are the returns procedures difficult or unrealistic? For example, must you use original packing or include peripherals such as manuals and cables?

These are just a few examples of potential problems to watch for. The bottom line is that by reading the fine print, comparing apples to apples, and trusting your instinct, you will make an economical and sensible leasing choice.