Ditch your car lease online

While a growing number of auto companies (Hyundai and Ford, to name a couple) are offering guarantees that let you bring your new car back if you lose your job shortly after purchasing it, a third-party marketplace is springing up for Americans locked into a lease they no longer want or can't afford.

What this article at TheStreet.com dubs a "growing cottage industry" of firms -- mostly Web-based -- are evolving to meet the needs of lease-swappers, people who want out of their leases without having to pay hefty termination fees and the buyers who want a deal on a gently-used lease.

Due to the recession and growing unemployment rate, lease swapping sites say they're handling a growing number of swaps as more Americans look for ways to trim their budgets.

So how does this online swap meet work? The first thing you need to know is that you have to pay to play. Swap sites charge "sellers" a variety of fees for everything from posting your car to running credit reports on potential "buyers" to handling the paperwork and transfer, and those can add up quickly.