Consumer Finance Insights
December 9, 2019

DOJ Files Suit Against Maryland Used Car Dealership for Alleged ECOA Violations

On September 30, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against a Maryland used cars dealership, and its owner and manager, for allegedly violating the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.  The complaint’s allegations are based on testing conducted by the DOJ’s Fair Housing Testing Program, where individuals pose as prospective car buyers to gather information about possible discriminatory practices.  According to the complaint, the results of the testing program revealed that the dealership had engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by offering less favorable auto loan terms to African American testers than white testers.  The DOJ claims that this alleged conduct violates the Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s prohibition against lending discrimination based on race.  The DOJ seeks a declaration, injunction, and monetary damages that would fully compensate the victims of the alleged discriminatory conduct.