On February 2, 2023, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (Massachusetts AG) announced that it had entered into a settlement with an auto dealer to resolve allegations that the company engaged in illegal auto loan collection practices in violation of the state’s consumer protection laws. Specifically, the Massachusetts AG alleges that the auto dealer failed to disclose sufficient information about the calculation methods for deficiencies left on consumers’ auto loans after their cars were repossessed because they failed to reference the Fair Market Value in the calculation of deficiency amounts. Additionally, the Massachusetts AG alleges that the dealer made excessive collection calls in violation of the Massachusetts AG’s debt collection regulations, 940 CMR 7.04(1)(f).
Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, the auto dealer agreed to pay $5.5 million in debt relief and $2.1 million in civil penalties. The auto dealer further agreed to cease collecting and to waive outstanding deficiencies for relevant borrowers, to request that credit reporting bureaus remove the tradeline associated with the relevant borrowers’ installment contracts, and to not initiate communications with debtors via telephone with the frequency that exceeds the limits of the Massachusetts AG’s regulations.
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