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Comment for 1013.3 - General Disclosure Requirements

3(a) General Requirements

1. Basis of disclosures. Disclosures must reflect the terms of the legal obligation between the parties. For example:

i. In a three-year lease with no penalty for termination after a one-year minimum term, disclosures are based on the full three-year term of the lease. The one-year minimum term is only relevant to the early termination provisions of §§ 1013.4 (g)(1), (k) and (l).

2. Clear and conspicuous standard. The clear and conspicuous standard requires that disclosures be reasonably understandable. For example, the disclosures must be presented in a way that does not obscure the relationship of the terms to each other; appendix A of this part contains model forms that meet this standard. In addition, although no minimum typesize is required, the disclosures must be legible, whether typewritten, handwritten, or printed by computer.

3. Multipurpose disclosure forms. A lessor may use a multipurpose disclosure form provided the lessor is able to designate the specific disclosures applicable to a given transaction, consistent with the requirement that disclosures be clearly and conspicuously provided.

4. Number of transactions. Lessors have flexibility in handling lease transactions that may be viewed as multiple transactions. For example:

i. When a lessor leases two items to the same lessee on the same day, the lessor may disclose the leases as either one or two lease transactions.

ii. When a lessor sells insurance or other incidental services in connection with a lease, the lessor may disclose in one of two ways: As a single lease transaction (in which case Regulation M, not Regulation Z, disclosures are required) or as a lease transaction and a credit transaction.

iii. When a lessor includes an outstanding lease or credit balance in a lease transaction, the lessor may disclose the outstanding balance as part of a single lease transaction (in which case Regulation M, not Regulation Z, disclosures are required) or as a lease transaction and a credit transaction.

3(a)(1) Form of Disclosures

1. Cross-references. Lessors may include in the nonsegregated disclosures a cross-reference to items in the segregated disclosures rather than repeat those items. A lessor may include in the segregated disclosures numeric or alphabetic designations as cross-references to related information so long as such references do not obscure or detract from the segregated disclosures.

2. Identification of parties. While disclosures must be made clearly and conspicuously, lessors are not required to use the word “lessor” and “lessee” to identify the parties to the lease transaction.

3. Lessor's address. The lessor must be identified by name; an address (and telephone number) may be provided.

4. Multiple lessors and lessees. In transactions involving multiple lessors and multiple lessees, a single lessor may make all the disclosures to a single lessee as long as the disclosure statement identifies all the lessors and lessees.

5. Lessee's signature. The regulation does not require that the lessee sign the disclosure statement, whether disclosures are separately provided or are part of the lease contract. Nevertheless, to provide evidence that disclosures are given before a lessee becomes obligated on the lease transaction, the lessor may, for example, ask the lessee to sign the disclosure statement or an acknowledgement of receipt, may place disclosures that are included in the lease documents above the lessee's signature, or include instructions alerting a lessee to read the disclosures prior to signing the lease.

3(a)(2) Segregation of Certain Disclosures

1. Location. The segregated disclosures referred to in § 1013.3(a)(2) may be provided on a separate document and the other required disclosures may be provided in the lease contract, so long as all disclosures are given at the same time. Alternatively, all disclosures may be provided in a separate document or in the lease contract.

2. Additional information among segregated disclosures. The disclosures required to be segregated may contain only the information required or permitted to be included among the segregated disclosures.

3. Substantially similar. See commentary to appendix A of this part.

3(a)(3) Timing of Disclosures

1. Consummation. When a contractual relationship is created between the lessor and the lessee is a matter to be determined under state or other applicable law.

3(b) Additional Information; Nonsegregated Disclosures

1. State law disclosures. A lessor may include in the nonsegregated disclosures any state law disclosures that are not inconsistent with the Act and regulation under § 1013.9 as long as, in accordance with the standard set forth in § 1013.3(b) for additional information, the state law disclosures are not used or placed to mislead or confuse or detract from any disclosure required by the regulation.

3(c) Multiple Lessors or Lessees

1. Multiple lessors. If a single lessor provides disclosures to a lessee on behalf of several lessors, all disclosures for the transaction must be given, even if the lessor making the disclosures would not otherwise have been obligated to make a particular disclosure.

3(d) Use of Estimates

1. Time of estimated disclosure. The lessor may, after making a reasonable effort to obtain information, use estimates to make disclosures if necessary information is unknown or unavailable at the time the disclosures are made.

2. Basis of estimates. Estimates must be made on the basis of the best information reasonably available at the time disclosures are made. The “reasonably available” standard requires that the lessor, acting in good faith, exercise due diligence in obtaining information. The lessor may rely on the representations of other parties. For example, the lessor might look to the consumer to determine the purpose for which leased property will be used, to insurance companies for the cost of insurance, or to an automobile manufacturer or dealer for the date of delivery. See commentary to § 1013.4(n) for estimating official fees and taxes.

3. Residual value of leased property at termination. In an open-end lease where the lessee's liability at the end of the lease term is based on the residual value of the leased property as determined at consummation, the estimate of the residual value must be reasonable and based on the best information reasonably available to the lessor (see § 1013.4(m)). A lessor should generally use an accepted trade publication listing estimated current or future market prices for the leased property unless other information or a reasonable belief based on its experience provides the better information. For example:

i. An automobile lessor offering a three-year open-end lease assigns a wholesale value to the vehicle at the end of the lease term. The lessor may disclose as an estimate a wholesale value derived from a generally accepted trade publication listing current wholesale values.

ii. Same facts as above, except that the lessor discloses an estimated value derived by adjusting the residual value quoted in the trade publication because, in its experience, the trade publication values either understate or overstate the prices actually received in local used vehicle markets. The lessor may adjust estimated values quoted in trade publications if the lessor reasonably believes based on its experience that the values are understated or overstated.

4. Retail or wholesale value. The lessor may choose either a retail or a wholesale value in estimating the value of leased property at termination of an open-end lease provided the choice is consistent with the lessor's general practice when determining the value of the property at the end of the lease term. The lessor should indicate whether the value disclosed is a retail or wholesale value.

5. Labeling estimates. Generally, only the disclosure for which the exact information is unknown is labeled as an estimate. Nevertheless, when several disclosures are affected because of the unknown information, the lessor has the option of labeling as an estimate every affected disclosure or only the disclosure primarily affected.

3(e) Effect of Subsequent Occurrence

1. Subsequent occurrences. Examples of subsequent occurrences include:

i. An agreement between the lessee and lessor to change from a monthly to a weekly payment schedule.

ii. An increase in official fees or taxes.

iii. An increase in insurance premiums or coverage caused by a change in the law.

iv. Late delivery of an automobile caused by a strike.

2. Redisclosure. When a disclosure becomes inaccurate because of a subsequent occurrence, the lessor need not make new disclosures unless new disclosures are required under § 1013.5.

3. Lessee's failure to perform. The lessor does not violate the regulation if a previously given disclosure becomes inaccurate when a lessee fails to perform obligations under the contract and a lessor takes actions that are necessary and proper in such circumstances to protect its interest. For example, the addition of insurance or a security interest by the lessor because the lessee has not performed obligations contracted for in the lease is not a violation of the regulation.