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Ford Settles Lease Practices Investigation

March 31, 2004

Ford Motor Credit Co. has agreed to pay customers who terminated a lease early and then purchased the vehicle, reports Automotive News. The settlement is the result of an investigation by 39 states into early lease termination practices at Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers from 1991 through 1994. The settlement calls for dealers to make a voluntary payment of $3,500, $6,000 or $8,000, depending on lease volume, to their respective attorneys general. About 3,700 dealers may join the settlement or face further investigation and possible civil action. The total settlement could reach $22 million if all dealers paid $6,000, AN reports. Though Ford Credit states its dealers never overcharged customers, the companies changed lease policies in 1995 to make the transaction clearer. Ford has agreed to pay $100 to each customer who terminated their lease early and purchased the vehicle. About 155,000 of those customers will be notified, though only a small number bought their vehicles.
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