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All right, someone help me out here.

My wife and I are trying to buy a Suburban from an individual. The asking price is $17K and the book value is $20K, so I jumped on the deal. I get all the financing taken care of, and the seller and I are moving into the final, paperwork phase before I hand him a check. Suddenly, this morning, out of the blue, he lobs this little bombshell at me.

"By the way," he says over the phone, "I forgot to mention that you are going to have to pay $1500 to the XYZ leasing company where I got this vehicle. It's for tax, title, and license and stuff, but I'm not too sure about it. I'll have the lease guy give you a call."

Needless to say, I'm taken aback. Immediately, my first question (to the members of this board) is: Can you sell a car to the general public when you are leasing it from someone else?

Second, shouldn't he have increased his asking price to cover the costs of him getting out of this lease? This sounds like the old "Here's the keys to the house you just bought; by the way, the title's not clear. There's a lien on it that you are now responsible for." I know, I know, if I bought the car at a dealership, I would have to pay the TTL, but I can't see how this is the same situation. At a dealership I pay the TTL as part of the purchase price of the vehicle to the dealership, not some third-party who shows up as I'm signing the paperwork. Same way, when I buy Fig Newtons at Wal-Mart, the price does not reflect the sales tax, but I know about the sales tax when I walk into the store, and I pay the sales tax to Wal-Mart, not some guy sitting at a table out in the parking lot.

Am I simply mistaken here? Coming up with the $1500 will be a deal-breaker--I won't be able to afford the higher payments. I'm either smelling a rat or I'm about to be hooked like a fish.

James A. Brown
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