Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release -- Thursday, August 28, 1997.


Miller: Office Depot Inc. Agrees to Change
"Zero-Percent Interest" Advertising

DES MOINES-- Attorney General Tom Miller said today that Office Depot Inc. has agreed to change advertising for "zero-percent interest" payment programs.

"Some Office Depot ads failed to adequately disclose that consumers had to fulfill crucial terms and conditions for so-called zero-interest plans," Miller said. "For example, a consumer could be charged interest from the date of purchase if he or she failed to make a required minimum payment or pay the full purchase price within the zero-interest period."

Miller said any such terms must be disclosed prominently under the agreement with Office Depot. The company also has paid $10,000 to the State to be used for consumer protection education and litigation. Iowa's Consumer Protection Division worked with nine other states to reach the agreement with Office Depot. Miller said Office Depot, which is based in Delray Beach, Florida, cooperated with the states' investigation.

Similar agreements were reached last fall with four other companies that agreed to change "zero-percent interest" ads -- Best Buy, Montgomery Ward, Radio Shack, and CompUSA.

"This helps consumers," Miller said. "Under our agreements, the fine-print details have to be disclosed much more prominently by these companies."

"But people still have to be careful to study all the terms behind any zero-interest offer," Miller added. "Be sure to know what obligations you have to fulfill in order to avoid paying interest," he said. "Sometimes the limitations make a zero-interest plan a lot less attractive than it appears at first blush."