Hey, What’s This ‘Disposition’ Fee From Hyundai?

When Kim DeBiase ends her lease for a Hyundai Sonata, the dealership demands a $400 payment for a "disposition" fee. And that puts her in a bad disposition. Does she really have to fork over the money?

Still, you have to read your paperwork carefully before you lease a car. These hidden fees are becoming more common. Just read the online complaints about Hyundai’s disposition fee, and you’ll know what I mean. My point is, you should have read the contract thoroughly before you leased the car, not after you returned it.

The time to argue with your dealership about a junk fee is before signing, not afterward. Once you’ve agreed to Hyundai’s contract, you have to live with the terms.

So why would I get involved? Well, I think the form response you received was inadequate. It didn’t sufficiently explain the fee or why it wasn’t included in your total. I think you deserved a better answer, and I hoped that by getting involved, you would at least get some clarification.

I contacted Hyundai on your behalf. You received a call back from a company representative, who explained that the fee is standard, and that “all companies hide the fee” in their contracts. He also explained why it was there, and that the fee is mentioned three times in the paperwork.

As a gesture of goodwill, Hyundai offered to refund $100 of your fee. That’s a fee to which you should have never agreed in the first place, but that you’re now contractually obligated to pay. Their resolution surprised me. I expected nothing more than an explanation.

Elliott’s latest book is “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Email him at [email protected]

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