Beware the OTR Truck Lease Scam

The Over-The-Road (OTR) Trucker is an American icon.

Who hasn’t passed, or been passed by, an eighteen-wheeler and fantasized about leaving it all behind and becoming an interstate truck driver?

The freedom of the open road.

The late night solitude of the interstate, far from snooping bosses and annoying co-workers.

The steady drone of the interstate and hours with your own thoughts.

The independence and freedom of owning your own truck and calling your own shots.

Unfortunately, where there’s a seductive dream, there’re usually plenty of sales scams ready to exploit the starry-eyed dreamer.

Where there’s a dream, there’s a scam to exploit it.

We received this email from a respected trucking industry insider, who asked not to be named:

One thing you should investigate is the owner-operator leasing scam in the trucking industry.

Big trucking companies (or not so big trucking companies) aggressively market this ploy: they try to get the truck driver to buy a truck from the trucking company, thus making him an owner-operator. He then continues to be leased to the trucking company, while making his payments. It sounds great, the driver invests very little money up front, and if he makes the payments over the length of the agreement, he ends up owning the truck.

The devil is in the details, though. Many times, once the driver signs up, these trucking companies cut his miles, or otherwise make it difficult for him to make his payments. Once he finally defaults, they get the truck back, and keep whatever payments he has already made.

I suppose there may be some legitimate lease to purchase deals out there, but most are scams.

72% of Truck Leasing Participants Say They Were Scammed

truck leasing scamAubrey Allen Smith, publisher of Ask The Trucker and The Truth About Trucking, seems to be as relentless in getting the word out about the truck leasing scam as is about exposing predatory franchise practices.

In 2011, Smith released the findings of his survey on owner-operator company lease purchase programs.  The survey pulled in 3,611 responses from professional truckers across the country.

Smith found that “although there are company lease drivers who have done well with these lease programs, the majority of these trucking company lease purchase programs are designed for the driver to fail.”

74% of respondents reported that the Owner Operator Lease Purchase Program they were under required no money down and no credit check.

80% of the drivers claim they were promised that they would be driving (and getting paid for) 2500 – 3000 miles per week.  In reality, nearly half of the drivers reported driving only 1000-2000 miles per week.  Nearly 80% drove fewer than 2500 miles per week.

The truckers were asked “Which of the choices below best describes the amount of gross income the company said you would be able to make as an owner operator under their lease purchase plan? (yearly)”

The results:

  • 9.3% – $35K to $45K
  • 13.4% – $46K to 65K
  • 38.1% – $66K to $100K
  • 39.2% – Over $100K



truck leasing scamThe truckers were asked “What was your ACTUAL gross income? (yearly)”

The results:

  • 73% – $35K to $45K
  • 6% – $46K to 65K
  • 3% – $66K to $100K
  • 18% – Over $100K

The driver comments included these warnings:

“It’s a way to put drivers in the seat of a truck they own and not have to pay out any benefits, social security or workers comp.  All you are is a cheap driver for them.  Cheap labor.”

“They are one-sided. Only designed for company profit.  You are just a glorified company driver.  Company does not care whether you make a profit or complete the lease.  They will just pass it on to the next sucker.”

“After all expenses, maybe $5,000 if I’m lucky.”

“I’m on target for earning a MINUS $2,000.”

“Lucky if I make $20,000 this year.”

“Net amount that I owe the company : $16, 910.78.”

“In 29 days, I sent $600 home to my family.”

“On track to make $9,600 this year after all lease and lease related expenses.”

“I’ll have a MINUS $9,000 loss.”

“All income went to the company.  My annual loss will be more than $9,000 as reported by my accountant.”

“Take home pay was $15,000 for the year.”

You can read the full survey here:  Company Truck Lease Purchase Program SURVEY RESULTS  July 15th, 2011




22 thoughts on “Beware the OTR Truck Lease Scam

  • jeff staley

    P.t.l. paschall truck lines another one to. Stay away from!!!!!! Just as its. Posted above…to the I quit .they made up a lie and. Got away from with 2 weeks pay..over 2300…..beware ….j.s.

  • Listen…its a business decision. Drivers see the nice shiney truck and get all giddy like a 16 year old with his first car. They gotta have it!

    Anyone who enters into a business agreement like a “fleece purchase” should of consulted with an attorney specializing in turcking…or at least called the OOIDA for advice.

    But no….the driver makes a dumb decision without doing his homework and pays for it in the end.

    I am not coming down on the drivers…I am just merely saying that most drivers look at the shiney truck though rosey glasses and dont bother to check the details.

    Its that simple

  • i went to them thanking iwas going to make it and three weeks went bye i was ready to come in and i got no money and they kick me out of the truck,and now iam scard to trust any trucking company now.

  • Seward trucking out of seward ne is one not to drive for,too.

  • 2nd lease truc almost paid off been at henderson trucking 6th year would have never made it if any off time
    dont take holidays off no time off 52 weeks per year 70 hours a week is the only way to make it

  • mike coleman

    2nd lease truc almost paid off been at henderson trucking 6th year would have never made it if any off time
    dont take holidays off no time off 52 weeks per year 70 hours a week is the only way to make it

  • I have been up to otr leasing 3 times and met Matt very good and very nice salesman. terrence I have not met but talked on the phone many times emails answers all your questions and takes care of you I had my lawyer look at the contract and he said it was a good one.for the truck the warranty and the fact that I can’t go down and buy a brand new oneI’m going to make it work.word to the wise I would stay away from any leases that you cannot move the truck to a different company I got screwed on that back in 2000 to 2004 on a CTI lease purchase when they ended the lease purchase program abruptly 89 trucks at taking back we had 30 day notice and that was a bad deal that we almost had a truck paid off anyways good luck you got to work hard for what you want otr good people and their members of oida .

  • I june 2014 65 drivers were told to return there trucks to Kenny adams trucking 1798 64 spur wynne,ar 72396 we were told Kenny was in bad health and he had to close the company down and he had sold the trucks totruck centers of Arkansas freightliner 11700 valentine road north little rock,ar 501-955-3200 they took the trucks there for a while then they went back and got the truck back re sold the trucks to new drivers these trucks was on a 36 month lease with a $15.000 bal freightliner Kenny adams Claudia wiles were involved in this fraud

  • Samuel gallezzo

    Here’s the problem and the reason why drivers sign these leases. I was recruited by ptl in may. They made all the promises over the phone and when you get to orientation you are tired, broke, and I’ve 1000 miles from home. You either agree to what’s in the contract or you are going to be homeless in Kentucky with no way home. I still work for Ptl as a lease operator. Even if I wanted to leave I can’t because they won’t let me put together a good enough paycheck to pay my way home. They shut off your fuel card when you say you want to go home. This company acts like terrorist.

  • Ira Martin

    OTR Leasing in Liberty MO … BUYER BEWARE!!! I entered into a lease agreement on a 2010 freighliner cascadia that had a brand new motor installed..I entered the agreement because I was told that if any maintenance problems occurred that the motor was under warranty, and if anything else were to go wrong that they would help me out with the expenses. I was told by Matt “we are here to help you succeed, we are not just going to let you go out of business.” LIES, LIES, LIES…I put 7000 dollars down on the truck and I have driven the truck less than 50000 miles and unfortunately I’m in the shop replacing everything around the motor to the point I’m now spending 5500 more dollars on this truck, and once contacting OTR the most help I could get out of them is, and I quote ” good luck on your lease” by Roman. If you don’t believe me I will gladly send you the emails between roman and myself.. I also referred another driver to them and he is now shut down with no help.. Please beware of these guys.. Keep your money don’t do it!! I will also refer you to other drivers who are in the same situation… They are selling garbage and expect to spend a lot of money to get your equipment up to standards..

  • Hi, guys! It’s sad to hear your scaring stories here. Me personally and many others who take in leasing trucks do not wish to get into these bad companies. Let’s punish them cause it’s worthy finally. I advice everyone who has been cheated by his company to write down in comments just the name of the company that cheated them and also to say the season, year, and state or province in which they were cheated. Thank you in advance for your help. If you do that we will combat a lot of scam companies. Such cases surely should have been followed to the judgement place. But till then, we can help each other through Internet which is the biggest power of any information nowadays.

  • Harley

    Transam!!! Did this to me with my T-700 KW in 2011. I made them pay in taxes for the next 2 years,by God!!! But still. When they went to cheap contractors,they got rid of all us “high priced” contractors! Within 2 months the guy who trained me had the same thing done to him! They are also owned by the same guy who owns National Carriers! “The Elite Fleet”, my Ass!!! They stranded me in Dallas on the streets with all my gear, (after having my info for 6 weeks, that I had been a contractor at Transam prior to the “purge”! Be4 I even got to Dallas! )They apparently did nothing with the information (resume and application) till I arrived. The 2nd day of orientation is when they called me into the Director’s Office and accused me of lying!!! Not telling them I was a contractor at Transam! (they don’t hire contractors from TA) When I reminded them they had my info for 6 weeks prior to my arrival.They got all pissed off and said I was the problem and kicked me out! I had my gear and dog on the streets of Dallas! Luckily my sister was able to come over and help me and she asked me if I kicked the bastard’s ass? I said no, I threatened to sue them if they didn’t pay for my way back to Florida! They ended up not paying me for two months! Then I only got half! So maybe she was right I should have kicked his ass! He was a dick!!!!
    Finally, I later found out that Transam and National are owned by the same guy! He sits on the board of Tyson Foods and owns 20% (@the time) of Tyson! Get this, he uses the trucking companies as a tax write off! So he doesn’t give a rat’s ass how he treats his drivers! The Tyson Drivers can atest to that as well I’d imagine!
    You know, it’s no wonder why companies like Landstar and Mercer have so many contractors and drivers under them. Last check Landstar had something like 8,000 and Mercer something like 3,000! Sure they have small issues,that may seem big at the time for some drivers. But quite frankly, they do what they say and say what they do overall.
    As for the rest of the industry,then they wonder why there’s a “shortage” of drivers! Walmart just had to pay Tracy Morgan something like 90 million bucks! You think they will learn? I doubt it!
    I’ve already decided if things don’t workout with my latest deal! I’m DONE WITH TRUCKING PERIOD! Adding 1 more driver who leaves the business,because of soo many bad companies and government regulations! I’ll say one last time and they wonder why there’s a shortage of drivers! Duh!

  • Leasing is very often a scam and if you have been victimized in such a program you may have legal rights to either get your money back or fair compensation. My law firm represents truckers and we would be happy to speak with anyone that wants to know more about their legal rights. See for more information on trucking issues.

  • How to win at Lease Purchase
    First get in to a truck that you want to drive, if you want a Pete 386 don’t settle for a Pete 587. Now they all claim it is a walk away lease and that’s what they hope you do so they can sell the same truck to the next driver. Here are a few questions you should ask before you sign the contract.
    1.) How muck money goes toward the equity each week/month
    2.) Is there a penalty for early buy out?

    The after 6 months go get a loan from someone like Mission, Agile Financial or Equity Equipment Finance and get a real loan. If you don’t have a down payment and want to be an O/O this is an easy way to get a truck. Do the research before you go in to a Lease Purchase and know how to get out and keep the truck.

  • Tras ammand jacobsen transportaion are both crook.s never pay you!! Rick with tras Am biggest Ass hole!! Jacbsen just as bad / both should be shut down !!

  • Thanks 4 info on i been wanting get rick back !! Thank.s a bunch!!!!!

  • rodger griffin

    wow i am sorry so many got scammed but I also was a ucked by jb hunt robbed my ass til my ass was gone! they made me sit for days waiting for a load and when I did get a load it was for 150 miles maybe 200 then sit for some more days.

    After I started to tell them I can’t make it off I was making they said just work with us it will get better all lies it never did get better only worse for me. after my third check for 6 to 8 dollars I had enough. I called them I said I was quitting and they sweet talked me into staying and gave me a good load going to cali I did it.

    after working my way back to ohio where I lived got load to new York but before could get there I was rerouted to terminal to come for truck check got there and was told I was being let go for a complaint from some four wheeler that couldn’t get on freeway cause I didn’t move over. What a crock of bullshit.

    Then tried to strand me there by taking my truck then they proceeded to take all the monies from all my accounts like maintenance account and all the other accounts which was about three to four and my pay check! so beware don’t go with jb hunt out of louisville ky.

    one week later I filed for bankruptcy and to top it off two years later I got a letter from them saying I owed them 400 and change for an account that they already stole from me. The nerve of them bastards. and the way they went about it the long list of charges was never ending and confusing bottom line, they went thru a lot of trouble to take my money at same time trying to make it look legit is how one lawyer describe it.. what a waste of time. Don’t waste yours.

    I really wish I could get some pay back on them bastards!! iam sorry for any misspelled words but i am sure yall get the gist of it.

    just say no to company leasing cause you will never own that truck i am sorry to say??

  • National Trot Trucking out of Winston Salem NC ( is scam. Beware, they seem like sweet and honest people. It is ran by a 25 yr old boy (Caeqon Westray) and his mom (Regina Diggs). They hire unsuspecting O/O. Meet them at an agreed location. Never at an office. They don’t have an office. After some investigation, I’ve learned their operation is ran out of an apartment in a project/low income neighborhood. In a course of two months of working for them I have made little over $800 for which I had to beg for, never paid on time. While at home one weekend I parked the truck at a truck stop. When it was time for me to return on the road I went to the truck and it was gone. They took the truck and all of my belongings. They now don’t answer my calls and haven’t paid me. I now have my own truck.

  • Garold Lambert

    The best advice I can give anybody, regarding OTR LEASING LLC, out of Pleasant Valley Mo. Is, DON’T! They are the ” Buy here, Pay here”, of the trucking industry, and when it goes to crap. You are on your own. They won’t return calls, emails, etc, and when it comes time for their $$$. They don’t care, that they sold you junk, and can’t make a living.

  • Luis Renderos

    If you has been a victim of OTR FBI has open an investigation over this crooks for more info contact me over mssangef

  • Joshua Carlton

    Avoid NOVA LINES like the plague yall. 80% of nothin is nothin. This pos, corrupt ass, scam of a company will rob ya blind. $2083/wk fixed expenses. My trk payment was $750/wk. Trlr was $250/wk. $300/wk to maintenance. That’s a total of $1300/wk. When I asked where the other $783/wk was going, I got BS story after BS story. Not a damn thing explained why this $783/wk was missing, ever. I went to ID with a load I loaded in OK, where I live. Load to ID payed pretty decent. After I unloaded, I was offered a shit paying load that payed $3300 to go over 2200 miles to southern GA. 80% of $3300 is $2640 to the trk. $2640 ÷ 2200= $1.20/mi. Remind yall, fuel is $5.50/ga in ID. I told my dispatcher to forget that load. Her supervisor calls me & tries to pressure me into taking a load that has absolutely no potential for profit. Our exchange got heated & I told that foreign mf to F off. I immediately started heading home back to OK. While enroute, this same asshat called & threatened to have my fuelcard shutoff. Lil did the idiot know that I had already fueled up & had more than enough fuel to get as close as possible to the house. Once again, he threatened to have my fuelcard shutoff. I told him go ahead & ya will be picking this truck up wherever the hell the fuel runs out. Now the sorry bastards have offset $1000 that I paid in good faith for a storage box for the trailer.

  • I wouldn’t wish a lease purchase program on my worst enemies.
    8 years ago I was recruited by PTL truck lines for their lease purchase program in what was suppose to be a 5 year lease, No fuel surcharge. For the first 1 years I made nothing as a matter of fact I was in debt. Then this “new” truck at least I thought I had, broke down real bad. The transmission went out while all the way in Pennsylvania. Took them 2 months to rebuild the transmission in a 2016 international lone Star, not because of anything international was doing, but because it took the warranty company weeks to respond and back and forward they were really dragging it out. Mind you I had a Car note and a mortgage needing to be paid, while sitting still making No money. It was so bad for me I couldn’t even afford a way back home. I had to sleep in the truck until they pulled the truck inside, then I had to Sleep outside. As a result I had to file bankruptcy chapter 13 just to keep my house.

    Once they finally finished the Truck. I began as regular schedule. Still way behind on payments on everything. I had to run super hard just to catch up and this company had assholes working in dispatch, trying to give me low hanging fruit loads. I was probably home for 2 days like once a month it felt like i was in prison NO! Slavery. This was a form of Slavery. Fast forward 5 years later I call quality to see if I was almost done paying off the Truck, (you’d think) but come to find out not even close. They charged extremely high interest rates. Most of the payments didn’t even go towards the truck it went towards interest. I also had trouble moving my truck to another company, because real companies didn’t take lease payments through quality.

    Now the truck breaks down again in Jackson, MS, this time it was the motor. Took it to international in Jackson. Took weeks and the Truck was still far from fixed. So much so I couldn’t even drive it a mile down the road. So I was finally fed up with PTL Robbing me of not only my wages, but maintaince escrow as well. I finally left after like 7 years of torture under those folks, trying to stay loyal. The Best decision I’ve ever made, haven’t looked backed since. Quality trying to come after me for litigation for “breaking” the lease on the truck. I don’t even care I just don’t want to be a Slave. I’m still in bankruptcy, but at least I have a breath of fresh air. I would like to know other legal routes I can take against quality and PTL to keep off my back.

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