Thursday, March 20, 2008

ShrewdLease Evaluator Saves Time and Money

Some people insist on leasing rather than owning a vehicle. I could never figure out why until I got married. My husband is one of these people who likes to trade in a vehicle every year or every other year. Rarely has he kept a new vehicle for more than three years. For someone like him, leasing makes perfect sense.

People who prefer to lease should be able to compare lease terms. Sadly, most people never get that far. They just see a car they like, decide the monthly payments are affordable, and sign on the dotted line.

But, leasing a vehicle is so much more than plunking down money on a vehicle you won't own. It's crucial to understand lease terms and what makes the terms of one leasing agreement better or worse than another. That's where the Vehical Lease Evaluator of ShrewdLease steps in.

The Evaluator is fairly straight forward and easy to use. It begins,

A Shrewdlease evaluation can be made on any brand new automobile offered under the industry normal terms of a 'closed end lease'.

We suggest you have a lease ad from a newspaper or magazine, an offer from a dealer, a preliminary or completed lease agreement, or firm numbers from a leasing company on hand, upon which the evaluation can be made.
If you're serious about leasing, you should enter a valid e-mail address when prompted. Then continue to use the Evaluator in ten easy steps.

Enter the MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) for step one. Step two requires the total due at signing. The monthly payment amount is step three. Enter the lease period for step four. Annual mileage allowance is step five. Then the capital cost for step six. "Option to purchase" price at the end of the lease is step seven. Then enter the number of months for the manufacturer's warranty period. Step nine is the excess mileage charge. Voila. You're done. The Evaluator synthesizes all the information and provides an informed opinion in step ten.

If your lease does not provide information for any of the required steps, simply leave that particular step blank and continue forward. Also, if your lease provides the information in a way that requires calculation, there's a handy calculator that pops in a second window throughout the process.

Despite my best efforts to keep my PC virus free, I'm afraid something is slowing it down. Yes, we've looked at it, run debugging programs, installed firewalls, the works, still, it doesn't run quite right. This could account for the more than three minutes it took for the Evaluator to move ahead to step ten.

When I was done clicking each field to verify the numbers, it was time to validate. The validation is a good device because it will prompt you to correct any inadvertent errors. If everything is in order, just click "calculate" and wait.

This time the waiting period was almost instantaneous. Unfortunately, the lease I wanted to evaluate scored quite low on the ShrewdLease scale. Which basically means the deal was a bad one and I should try to get a better deal from the leasing company. Or look for something better.

That's good because ShrewdLease just happens to have a leasing forum with available offers. And it clearly pledges lack of an affiliation with any particular manufacturer, dealer, or banking institution. So, one can assume the site provides unbiased lease offers. If you're still dubious, just return to evaluate another lease of your own choosing.

As an extra bonus, there is a FAQ section for problematic leases that don't quite fit the mold, plus a contact link for especially difficult issues and questions.

I would recommend the Evaluator to anyone who is considering leasing a vehicle. The steps are simple and easy to navigate. The end evaluation can save you big bucks. Also, you don't need to give a real e-mail address to make use of it, a big plus for paranoid people such as myself who are deathly afraid of spammed e-mail accounts.

But isn't that what gmail is for?