SEATTLE - December 19, 1996---Mazda Motor of America, Inc. today agreed to reform its national auto leasing advertisements and pay $857,500 to Washington and 23 other states.
The multi-state agreement prevents Mazda from misrepresenting the amount of up-front lease costs, including the amount "down," the "downpayment" or the "capitalized cost reduction."
The Attorney General's Office filed a lawsuit against Mazda in late October alleging the auto manufacturer required consumers to pay up-front fees of up to $900 to get the advertised "zero down" or "penny down" lease. The up-front fees included a security deposit, the first month's lease payment and, in some cases, a $450 acquisition fee.
According to Doug Walsh, Assistant Attorney General, Mazda must also comply with federal "truth in leasing" regulations and is required to disclose lease terms in a clear and conspicuous manner. Those terms include: total amount of up-front lease costs and the number, amount and timing of all scheduled lease payments.
Other states signing the settlement include Minnesota, California, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Kansas, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.
Washington and several other states signed agreements last month with General Motors, Mazda, Honda, Isuzu and Mitsubishi requiring similar auto leasing advertisement disclosures.