The disposition fee (or termination fee or turn-in fee) is a fee that the lender charges the lessee (you) at the end of the lease AFTER the vehicle is returned. A common misconception is that it has to be paid to the dealership AT THE TIME that you hand over the keys. This is not true at all.
What is it? The disposition fee is a fee that is charged to the lessee for the privilege of walking away from the vehicle instead of buying it. The lender will claim that they charge it in order to cover the costs that they incur to have the vehicle transported to auction, reconditioned and resold. Rubbish. The real reason that the banks charge this fee is....because they can. Years ago, outside lenders like Chase Auto Finance charged these fees, but the captive lenders (like Nissan Motor Credit or GMAC) never did. But one by one, they all started adding the fee to their standard lease agreements. First Nissan Motor Credit, then Toyota Financial, then Honda and so on. Ford and Ally Financial held out pretty long, but as of this writing, they too charge this fee.
How much is it? It ranges on the low side from $350 (Honda) to as much as $595 (Cadillac).
But all is not lost! The truth is that the banks don't REALLY want you to pay it. What they want is for you to enter into a new contract with them. So...if you are exiting a Chrysler Capital lease ($395) and enter into a new lease or finance contract with Chrysler Capital, they will waive the fee. This is important to understand, as the 'loyalty' incentive you get by having the fee waived is specific to the LENDER, not the vehicle. If, for example, you are exiting a Chrysler Capital lease on a Chrysler Pacifica and then enter into a new lease on a Chrysler Pacifica, but this time through Ally Bank, then Chrysler Capital will still require the Disposition Fee to be paid. As of the date of this blog post, there are really good deals on the 2020 Honda Odyssey through US Bank. But that means that if you are returning a Honda that was leased through Honda Financial, and then grab a US Bank deal on a new Honda, the dispo fee will NOT be waived. So when comparing the rates from one lender to another, make that extra fee part of the calculation.
So to conclude, yes, the fee is legit. It does not come from the dealer or even from us here at Superior. It is directly from the lender and will not be negotiated away. But if you like your brand and stick with it, then in most cases you will never have to pay it.
A Superior Leasing professional can help guide you to make the decisions that are best for you.