Consumer Finance Insights
February 26, 2016

West Virginia Attorney General Settles with Payday Lender for Debt Collection Calls


On February 25, the West Virginia Attorney General’s office announced that it had reached a settlement with an Ohio payday lender, resolving allegations that the payday lender had engaged in debt collection activities that “may violate” provisions of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and ​Protection Act (WVCCPA), W. Va. Code § 46A- 1-101 et seq.  The Attorney General alleged that the payday lender made repeated and unwanted telephone calls to persons listed as “references” on consumers’ credit applications.  The purpose of these calls, according to the Attorney General, was to leave messages for consumers that would cause them to contact the payday lender.  This conduct allegedly violated provisions of the WVCCPA because it created an unreasonable risk of disclosure of indebtedness to third parties and subjected consumers to “embarrassment, humiliation, ridicule, and disgrace.”  The Assurance of Discontinuance noted, however, that “[t]here is no finding confirming the Attorney General’s allegation.”  The payday lender agreed to cease calling contacts listed on credit applications (other than employers), and to pay a $150,000 civil money penalty. ​