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April 23rd, 2007 by Jamie Estep

Cant get out of a credit card terminal lease

Filed in: Credit Card Equipment, Merchant Accounts | 1 comment

About three times a week, I come across someone looking to get out of their lease for their credit card terminal. I wish that I could say that there is a simple solution for this situation, but unfortunately there isn’t a quick fix.

First off, I highly recommend not leasing a credit card machine. If you want to see just how much a lease can cost you extra, check out the lease cost calculator, and the: Why would you ever lease processing equipment? Furthermore, if there is any business type that should not lease, it would have to be new businesses. Many new businesses will not be successful, and the last thing that you want is a bill that lasts three years longer than your business. If your business doesn’t make it, then you will still have to pay off the rest of the lease.

Now onto how to get out…

Getting out of your lease is something that is dependant on exactly what you agreed to when you signed the lease. Leases tend to be some of the toughest contracts on earth, and it is nearly impossible to simply walk away. Some leases will even survive your death or bankruptcy, and all will keep going if you go out of business.

With that being said, there are only two effective ways to get out of a lease.

  1. Find someone to take over the lease.
  2. Pay it off.

Find someone to take over the lease:
Generally you can have another person take over your lease. This can be difficult because that person will go through a credit check, and you may not feel good trapping a friend in something that you don’t want. But, it is probably the least painful way to get out of the lease. This is also dependant on having the option written in your contract, but most lease contracts allow this.

Pay it off:
Paying off the lease is always an option, but really isn’t going to be a good outcome, as you will most definitely pay a lot of money to get it settled, and you are trying to get out of your lease without paying. A few things that you need to look into before you go and pay off your lease. Make sure you are aware of any early closing fees, whether you actually own the equipment, and what the buyout is for the equipment before you pay it off.

Last Resorts:
In the end if you want nothing less than to get out of the lease, but you cannot pay for it, you should consult a lawyer and see if there is any chance to get out of it. Even then, it is unlikely that you can get out without paying off the lease. The only times I have heard of this working, the lease company made some illegal actions to get the lease approved. Now, lease companies are required to call you and get a second confirmation over the phone before the lease is effective. Some very bad sales agents will sometimes give a lease company their own phone number, and confirm the lease in your name. This is very illegal, but it is hard to prove unless the agent’s personal phone number was listed on the lease application instead of the business’s number.

Defaulting: If you decide to default on the lease, you can be assured that the lease company will quickly attempt to reclaim the payoff amount. They will immediately send the account to a collection agency if they don’t have one in-house, and eventually they will probably try to garnish wages, repossess assets, or take out a lawsuit against you. There is probably a clause in the contract that allows them to automatically debit your bank account, as well.

In the end, the best option is to not lease unless it is absolutely necessary, and the only time that I see it even remotely justifiable is when purchasing very expensive equipment is necessary. This really only applies to POS systems and some wireless terminals, and even in these situations, it is a good idea to look at alternative funding sources as well.

One Response to “Cant get out of a credit card terminal lease”

  1. John Conde April 23, 2007 at 8:09 am

    Some lease companies actually record the verbal confirmation with the lessee to verify it was done and also to verify who it is. That way if someone says it wasn’t them confirming the lease it can be confirmed, or refuted, by using that recording. That way both lessee and leaser are protected.

    But I agree with you about avoiding leasing altogether. For what a lease can cost you business you can buy the same terminal several times over.