Is dealer playing games, said car was in stock, now not, trading in using Equity in my Toyota Lease

PLEASE see update on the bottom, decided to use the equity to lease another Highlander, was supposed to get it this weekend but now dealer is saying new car is sold.

My lease on a 2018 Highlander XLE ends this week.Really do not care what I get to replace as long as it is Japanese or Korean. Need 7 or 8 seats, leather, sunroof and blindspot. My current lease is for $375, credit not an issue, and that was with some work in 2018.

The buyout is $26 something and I would prefer not to do that for a bunch of reasons. I am slightly under mileage and no visible damage, dings from wear and tear. Plan to extend but there is no gap insurance after lease end and no warranty. I already had a couple of warranty issues recently. Any chance the dealer will want to buy it out given the supposed shortage?

Can I really replace the lease at a similar rate? The dealer who sold me said they try to get people into the same cars/same price but I know that is usually BS. I look at dealer inventory and it is worse than last year when I was replacing a 5 seater. My local high volume dealer has maybe 30 highlanders or pilots (depending on dealer) listed. Should I even bother looking? Any broker or dealers have any thoughts on how long I have to extend, how many months? Toyota does month to month so I have time, as long as nothing goes wrong again

Not right now, no. It’ll be quite a bit more, especially if you want to go the Korean route with Telluride/Palisade twins

Have you checked the 3rd party buyout? We made a $6k profit selling our leased 2018 Highlander XLE on 36k miles to Carmax. It would soften the blow of having to pay more for a new lease.

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Punch the VIN in CarMax to see what they’ll give you.

Thank you! When did you sell the Highlander? I priced it about 6 months ago and there was no benefit then but that was the sweet spot between the post lockdown, I never want to take public transportation again surge and the chip shortage, cars were available and I helped a friend on an RDX. Have you looked at the Telluride etc? Is there something so much better about it? Have not looked, not that interested and it seems pricerier than getting a pilot but am curious. Also, with Carmax how does the tax work? I am in NY, are they buying it from Toyota or am I? Tax is 8.75

They are willing to offer about $3000 over the buyout! This is good if I do not have to pay the tax to the leasing company but if I do?

As for now, if using TFS you don’t pay taxes. You also don’t get hit for the disposition fee.

Yes it is TFS. Thank you. It is actually $4500 over the buyout as I had overestimated the buyout. CarMax wants me to bring the car in, so I am not sure if they will not try to nickel and dime. I will go to Toyota, Acura, and Honda (just one dealer each that I have dealt with although I am usually not very loyal.) and see what they will offer taking the trade in into account. I really do need a car so want to see what the deals are before I give this one up

Are You sure you can sell leased Toyota to 3rd party dealer?



You generally do much better not involving a trade-in.

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We sold ours back at the end of May. We went the Carmax route because it was significantly easier, low pressure and they actually offered the highest amount. They didn’t reduce the price offered - even considering the condition of ours wasnt perfect. There were parking dings on the front bumper, it was in need of a service and new tires. Easiest money I’ve ever made.

Highly recommend this route over going for a trade-in on a new lease as it just makes things simpler unless you’re sticking with Toyota.


I would be fine with another Highlander, possibly a pilot, Ascent or ? When I replaced the 5 seater last year I let the Accord go (it had two big accidents repaired on insurance so was not buying it) before I realized how hard it would be to replace it due to everyone who never drove before wanting to avoid public transport. I am nervous about not having a car and having to shop in a hurry so I would prefer to do it as one deal even if it costs me a little more. Of course if it costs me a lot more, another story!

Did you replace yours with another one?

Nah. We were going to get a Venza to replace it but I couldnt bring myself to pay the current market prices. We picked up a Sonata hybrid instead for the interim. I’m hoping the Jeep 4XE deal lasts a couple more weeks - we’re doing a mortgage refi so waiting for that to finish up and we’ll be back in the SUV market.

Can I ask what you did on the Sonata and what market? I would prefer an 8 seater but could use something else if I absolutely have to

Tried Vroom, another $1200 over Carmax! This is bizzaro world. Over $5700 over residual?! Really not sure what to do as I hear the stories about people getting screwed on VWs but it seems it is fine to do it with TFS. I really do need another car with a 3rd row to replace it

My Toyota Highlander lease ends on Sunday. I know I have a grace period or could extend, not worried. Made a deal yesterday for a new Highlander, including buying out the equity in my old lease. The deal is nothing to brag about and would be embarrassed to post it here but honestly do not have time, energy or inclination to shop around or to drive the car 2 hours to my nearest Carmax so they can buy it out. However, it is still a much better deal than what they originally offered and they probably found someone who will pay more or the car was legitimately sold and the system did not register it. No idea, if there are any salespeople who can tell me what is really going on, I would appreciate it. They are definitely making money on my trade/Lease return but it may go into a different pocket so they may not care as much

They supposedly had the car I wanted at a sister store in the area (all three stores owned by this dealer are normally high volume, selling hundreds of cars a month, guy said yesterday they have 41 in stock total across all models). I am a repeat customer, same salesperson. He called today to say the car was sold. He will call me back Monday to tell me what car he has. Frankly this is annoying on so many levels. Not the least of which, Monday is a new month although it is only the 2nd.

Should I visit another dealer? See if they have it in stock? See if I can get a better deal since I am underwhelmed by the deal I got (but it is good for now, if this were 2019 no way would have taken it). I signed the term sheet and put a $500 deposit down. I am fine with Monday or even next Friday but do not want this nonsense to continue too long and my grace period ends August 11

If a dealer sold a car out from under me that they had taken a deposit on, I would immediately demand my deposit back, tell them to pound sand and never patronize them again.


He wavered a little yesterday, said he would confirm availability today by 12 which he did, it was unavailable?! Why wait until Monday to locate something else is what confuses me. Also I hate losing the end of the month if I cannot make a deal with him

Probably incompetence rather than malice, but either way, they took your money to hold a car they didn’t have.

My sister had a 2017 Highlander XLE with more miles than yours, due back April 2020 that she kept extending. Sold it a couple weeks ago to Carmax for $5960 over payoff.


Here is the miscommunication. You gave him a deposit to TRY to locate a different car at a different dealer. Does not matter if it is a sister store or one next door, there is never a guarantee since someone might be at that dealer buying it as you put down a deposit for an attempt to trade or they simply don’t want to trade it.

As for waiting until Monday, nothing new will happen over the weekend. No dealer trades then or will pick up the phone. Also there is nothing mystical about the end of the month. I can count on the same hand the number of truly special deals I have seen at month end (and still have fingers left over) and it does not sound like your deal is a month-end one anyways.