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BBB seeing loyalty, conquest rebates included in advertised lease payments

November 1, 2019
The Better Business Bureau lately has seen a strong increase in lease payment advertisements in which loyalty and conquest rebates are included in the payment amounts.  These advertisements may be prepared by manufacturers or other third-party website developers.  While such advertising may be acceptable in other states, it is not in Illinois.
Rule 475.530, Rebates, is very clear on the subject. Part (b) states: "It is an unfair or deceptive act to advertise a price or amount of an installment payment, wherein rebates have been deducted, unless every consumer seeking to purchase or lease the advertised vehicle is eligible for the rebate."
Part (c) states: "The availability of a limited rebate may be advertised if the terms of the limitation are clearly and conspicuously disclosed.  It is an unfair or deceptive act to advertise a price or amount of an installment payment in which limited rebates have been deducted, or to advertise the total amount of rebate if a portion of the total consists of a limited rebate."
The BBB wants to encourage dealers to consistently review their lease payment advertisements. As CATA members know, there are "zero tolerance" issues established by the CATA board of directors. The inclusion of limited rebates in prices or payments is a 0-tolerance issue requiring referral to the attorney general’s office. 
As a refresher, other zero tolerance issues are: free gifts, coupons with the sale of vehicles, advertised trade-in amounts and the exclusion of amounts other than tax, title, license and the doc fee from advertised prices and payments. 
The BBB hopes that dealers will specifically correct their lease payment advertisements to exclude, rather than include, loyalty, conquest or any other limited rebates so that a level playing field is maintained throughout the Chicago area marketplace.