Recession Drives Rise In Auto Lease Swaps - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Recession Drives Rise In Auto Lease Swaps

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With consumers eager to slash their expenses during this tough recession, car lease swaps are on the rise. A website called created a win-win for two San Diego families.

Driving their car was a dream, but for John and Kim Lovett, making the payment was becoming a nightmare.

"The money just wasn't coming in the way it has been and it was just time," John said.

So the couple with five children, a beautiful home, a boat and two other cars decided to downsize.

"We had to, it was a difficult financial spot," John said.

The Lovetts listed their Mercedes on and within days people from across the country were competing for their car.

"It was a beautiful car... it was a very nice car," Kim said.

Using's service for $145, the Lovetts transferred their lease to Bruce Doole.

"It's great. We love it, absolutely love it," Bruce said.

Bruce is a San Diego financial advisor who says assuming a car lease saves money.

"Usually you have to put in anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 down to even get the lease in the first place," Bruce said.

Not only did Bruce skip the down payment and dealership fees, he negotiated two months worth of free payments.

"In this economy, people are much more flexible, and that's why a LeaseTrader sort of site, I would assume, is doing really well," Bruce said.

According to, their business is booming, with 20,000 swaps in 2006, 35,000 in 2007 and more than 45,000 in 2008.

As for the Lovetts, they may have lost a beautiful car, but they saved their credit.

"I've run my credit since, it's completely off. It's a paid lease, it's done," John said.

The Lovetts had to pay Mercedes $695 to transfer the lease and put Doole in their driver's seat.

"I just think it's a great alternative," Bruce said.

Bruce says his experience with went so well, his wife wants to lease swap for their second car. She has her eye on a Mercedes SUV.

We called the New Car Dealers Association for their opinion on lease swaps. The association told us they haven't heard about any customer complaints, but recommended every car owner study their lease contract closely before making a decision.

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