7 On Your Side helps woman battling ALS get out of car lease

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- For the past year and a half, a woman from Long Island has been waging an impossible battle.

Christine Casa is trying to slow the devastating effects of ALS, but she's also been losing another fight -- trying to get out of the lease for a car she can no longer drive.

With her mobility about gone, she made a last-ditch call for help to 7 On Your Side.

"I felt trapped," she said.

But she wasn't talking about the disease that landed her in a wheelchair at 60. Instead, she's lamenting her car lease, which she says she can't break.

"For them to disregard me like that, made me feel terrible," she said.

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More than a year ago, while planning trips to see the world and enjoy retirement with her husband Rick, she was stricken with ALS.

The debilitating disease left her legs useless, eventually immobilizing her arms to the point she was unable to drive her family's car.

She still owes five lease payments on it, a total of $1,335.

"I wrote a letter to the CEO of the company," she said. "I never heard from him. They didn't care."

If she was able to break her lease, she said she and her husband could afford a handicap-accessible van. Without it, a trip to the doctor's office is an all-day ordeal with the family at the mercy of a pricey transportation service.

"Yes, it's out of my pocket," she said. "Costs me $210 for one ride."

Most car leases are tough to unwind, with huge penalties if the customer breaks it before it ends.

"I recently called the finance people, and they said there's nothing they could do," she said. "And within a week, Nina (Pineda) got it all settled."

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Casa's lease company picked up the car and let her out of the deal with no penalties. With the savings, she and her husband are now shopping for a van.

"I just wanted to say thank you to Nina and 7 On Your Side," she said.

The big takeaway is that if you're looking to get out of a lease, you a few options. First, contact the leasing company and give them proof of your hardship.

That could include a signed doctor's note describing your condition, along with why you can no longer drive.

In this case, the leasing company helped out.

Next, you could ask a family member or friend if they would take over or assume the remainder of the lease. The leasing company would have to OK this arrangement.

There are also plenty of lease swapping options online. We urge you to read reviews and research the company before signing up. Also, be mindful of any fees charged.

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