Mazda Paying $5.2 Million for Lease Advertising

“State Attorney General Christine Gregoire has announced that Mazda Motor of America, Inc. will pay just over $5.2 million to Washington, 24 other states and the Federal Trade Commission for violating a 1996 consent decree which required the auto dealer to change the way it advertises auto leases.“Mazda did make some changes, however, it continued to highlight low monthly payments while obscuring the total lease cost,” Gregoire said. “Using small size type and obscuring the cost amidst advertising clutter misleads consumers.”Both the actions by the states and the FTC deal with television ads placed by Mazda during a 13-month period after the 1996 consent decree was signed. That agreement required Mazda to clearly disclose certain key lease terms in its advertising such as up-front costs and the number, amount and timing of the scheduled payments. This action alleges that Mazda violated the court order by advertising certain terms but failing to make full disclosure.Washington and the other states will receive $50,000 from Mazda. Mazda will pay $4.05 million as part of its settlement with the FTC.The Attorney General’s Office encourages consumers to do some research and know what they are committing to prior to deciding to lease a vehicle. The AG’s office recommends:- Consider all the costs of leasing. Most leases have mileage limits and impose substantial penalties for exceeding those limits. Other costs may include acquisition fees and lease-end disposition fees.- Carefully evaluate lease options, especially if you went into a dealership to purchase and were presented a lease option as a preferred alternative.- Remember that lease terms are negotiable. Dealers can and will offer lower monthly payments than those they first quote.- Don’t sign a lease until you have researched the lease and know it is what you want. Most leases include large penalties for ending the lease early.The Attorney General’s Office offers a guide to buying and leasing cars, and accepts complaints about auto leases and lease advertising at 1-800-551-4636, 1-800-276-9883 for hearing impaired, or at”