Equipment Leasing and ‘Hell or High Water’


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Equipment-leasing and finance companies have taken extraordinary steps to help customers throughout the pandemic. Ninety-six percent of equipment-finance companies offered their customers payment deferrals in 2020, including extensions, modifications or restructuring (“You Lease, You Owe, ‘Hell or High Water,’” Page One, April 15).

In discussing the “hell or high water” contract provision, the article notes correctly that support of leased equipment is driven by the equipment vendor. This is similar to acquiring a car with third-party financing. If the car breaks down or the driver is otherwise dissatisfied with the product, he or she would still expect to make car payments to the bank or finance company, and would take up the car problem with their dealer or manufacturer, not the bank or finance company.

Defaults make up a very small fraction of business in the $1 trillion equipment-finance industry. Equipment leasing benefits businesses of all sizes, from startups and small businesses that have trouble getting traditional bank loans to more established companies looking to invest working capital in other areas. There’s a reason nearly 8 in 10 U.S. companies lease or finance their equipment: It works for them.

Ralph Petta

Equipment Leasing & Finance Assn.


Our firm leased a copier some years ago. Shortly before the lease was up, our office manager notified the business holding the contract that we wouldn’t renew. It responded that the notice was “too early” per the lease language and rejected it. Later, she again wrote that we wouldn’t renew. It responded that the notice was “too late” and rejected it, automatically renewing our lease. After much negotiation, we ended up paying around $4,000 to get out of the lease and donated the copier to a church. We surely won’t do business like that again.

James W. Rushford

Sacramento, Calif.

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