UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In The Matter of
MARTIN ADVERTISING, INC., a corporation.
FILE NO. 972 3267
The Federal Trade Commission ("Commission") has conducted an investigation of certain acts and practices of Martin Advertising, Inc., a corporation ("proposed respondent"). Proposed respondent, having been represented by counsel, is willing to enter into an agreement containing a consent order resolving the allegations contained in the attached draft complaint. Therefore,
IT IS HEREBY AGREED by and between Martin Advertising, Inc., by its duly authorized officers, and counsel for the Federal Trade Commission that:
1. Respondent Martin Advertising, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its principal office or place of business at 2801 University Boulevard, Suite 200, Birmingham, Alabama 35233.
2. Proposed respondent admits all the jurisdictional facts set forth in the draft complaint.
3. Proposed respondent waives:
4. This agreement shall not become part of the public record of the proceeding unless and until it is accepted by the Commission. If this agreement is accepted by the Commission, it, together with the draft complaint, will be placed on the public record for a period of sixty (60) days and information about it publicly released. The Commission thereafter may either withdraw its acceptance of this agreement and so notify proposed respondent, in which event it will take such action as it may consider appropriate, or issue and serve its complaint (in such form as the circumstances may require) and decision in disposition of the proceeding.
5. This agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by proposed respondent that the law has been violated as alleged in the draft complaint, or that the facts as alleged in the draft complaint, other than the jurisdictional facts, are true.
6. This agreement contemplates that, if it is accepted by the Commission, and if such acceptance is not subsequently withdrawn by the Commission pursuant to the provisions of Section 2.34 of the Commission's Rules, the Commission may, without further notice to proposed respondent, (1) issue its complaint corresponding in form and substance with the attached draft complaint and its decision containing the following order in disposition of the proceeding, and (2) make information about it public. When so entered, the order shall have the same force and effect and may be altered, modified, or set aside in the same manner and within the same time provided by statute for other orders. The order shall become final upon service. Delivery of the complaint and the decision and order to proposed respondent by any means specified in Section 4.4 of the Commission's Rules shall constitute service. Proposed respondent waives any right it may have to any other manner of service. The complaint may be used in construing the terms of the order. No agreement, understanding, representation, or interpretation not contained in the order or in the agreement may be used to vary or contradict the terms of the order.
7. Proposed respondent has read the draft complaint and consent order. It understands that it may be liable for civil penalties in the amount provided by law and other appropriate relief for each violation of the order after it becomes final.
1. "Clearly and conspicuously" as used herein shall mean:
2. "Total amount due at lease signing or delivery" as used herein shall mean the total amount of any initial payments required to be paid by the lessee on or before consummation of the lease or delivery of the vehicle, whichever is later, as required by Regulation M, 12 C.F.R. § 213, as amended. The total amount due at lease signing or delivery may: 1) exclude third- party fees, such as taxes, licenses, and registration fees, and disclose that fact, or 2) provide a total that includes third- party fees based on a particular state or locality as long as that fact and the fact that such fees may vary by state or locality are disclosed. (Sections 213.2 and 213.7 of Regulation M, 12 C.F.R. §§ 213.2 and 213.7, as amended.)
3. "Balloon payment" as used herein shall mean any scheduled payment with respect to a consumer credit transaction that is at least twice as large as the average of earlier scheduled payments.
4. Unless otherwise specified, "respondent" as used herein shall mean Martin Advertising, Inc., its successors and assigns, and its officers, agents, representatives, and employees.
5. "Commerce" as used herein shall mean as defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTC Act"), 15 U.S.C. § 44.
IT IS ORDERED that respondent, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, or any other device, in connection with any advertisement to aid, promote, or assist, directly or indirectly, any consumer lease involving motor vehicles in or affecting commerce, as "advertisement" and "consumer lease" are defined in Section 213.2 of Regulation M, 12 C.F.R. § 213.2, as amended, shall not, in any manner, expressly or by implication:
For radio advertisements, respondent may also comply with the requirements of this subparagraph by utilizing Section 184(c) of the CLA, 15 U.S.C. §1667c(C), and Section 213.7(f) of Regulation M, 12 C.F.R. §213.7(f), as amended. For television advertisements, respondent may also comply with the requirements of this subparagraph by utilizing Section 213.7(f) of Regulation M, as amended; and
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, or any other device, in connection with any advertisement to aid, promote, or assist, directly or indirectly, any extension of closed-end credit involving motor vehicles in or affecting commerce, as "advertisement" and "closed-end credit" are defined in Section 226.2 of Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. § 226.2, as amended, shall not, in any manner, expressly or by implication:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent Martin Advertising, Inc., and its successors and assigns, shall, for five (5) years after the date of service of this order, maintain and upon request make available to the Commission for inspection and copying all records that will demonstrate compliance with the requirements of this order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent Martin Advertising, Inc., and its successors and assigns, shall:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent Martin Advertising, Inc., and its successors and assigns, shall notify the Commission at least thirty (30) days prior to any change in the corporation that may affect compliance obligations arising under this order, including but not necessarily limited to dissolution, assignment, sale, merger, or other action that would result in the emergence of a successor corporation; the creation or dissolution of a subsidiary, parent, or affiliate that engages in any acts or practices subject to this order; the proposed filing of a bankruptcy petition; or a change in the corporate name or address. Provided, however, that, with respect to any proposed change in the corporation about which respondent learns less than thirty (30) days prior to the date such action is to take place, respondent shall notify the Commission as soon as is practicable after obtaining such knowledge. All notices required by this Part shall be sent by certified mail to the Associate Director, Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent Martin Advertising, Inc., and its successors and assigns, shall within one hundred and twenty (120) days after the date of service of this order, and at such other times as the Federal Trade Commission may require, file with the Commission a report, in writing, setting forth in detail the manner and form in which they have complied with this order.
This order will terminate twenty (20) years from the date of its issuance, or twenty (20) years from the most recent date that the United States or the Federal Trade Commission files a complaint (with or without an accompanying consent decree) in federal court alleging any violation of the order, whichever comes later; provided, however, that the filing of such a complaint will not affect the duration of:
Provided further, that if such complaint is dismissed or a federal court rules that the respondent did not violate any provision of the order, and the dismissal or ruling is either not appealed or upheld on appeal, then the order will terminate according to this Part as though the complaint had never been filed, except that the order will not terminate between the date such complaint is filed and the later deadline for appealing such dismissal or ruling and the date such dismissal or ruling is upheld on appeal.
Signed this day of , 1998.
JOAN Z. BERNSTEIN