Mazda Motor of America, Irvine, Calif., today agreed to pay $5.25 million--the largest civil fine in the history of the Federal Trade Commission's consumer protection bureau--for failing to live up to terms of an earlier agreement with the FTC to adequately disclose important terms of its lease ads. The fine will be shared with 24 states. Mazda in early 1997 was one of a number of car marketers cited by the FTC for running misleading lease ads; the carmakers then agreed to disclose important lease terms in their advertising. The FTC accused Mazda of failing to act and running ads in 1997 and early '98, via Foote, Cone & Belding, Santa Ana, Calif., and San Francisco, that didn't adequately disclose the terms. FCB was cited by the FTC in '98 but no longer handles the account.
Copyright September 1999, Crain Communications Inc.