On May 5, 2023, the CFPB announced it would be sending $22.3 million in refund checks to consumers who lost money in credit card relief schemes. The CFPB sent 6,523 refund checks to damaged consumers. The relief is part of a settlement the CFPB reached with a Maryland-based debt-relief and credit-repair company in a consent order published on June 29, 2021. This came on the heels of a joint complaint the CFPB and State of Georgia filed against the company on June 28, 2021. The consent order alleged that the company along with its owners and executives deceived consumers by falsely promising to lower or eliminate their credit-card debts and to improve their credit scores. The order imposes a suspended judgment for $30 million in consumer redress.
The company marketed and sold debt-relief and credit-repair services to people nationwide from January 2016 until at least September 2019 and collected fees from them until at least August 2020. Specifically, the company allegedly advertised through direct mailers and third-party lead generators, soliciting potential consumers by stating its “debt-validation” program used a legally vetted process to eliminate debt. The consent order alleged violations of the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), and the Fair Business Practices Act (FBPA), in connection with the marketing, sale, and provision of debt-relief and credit-repair services.
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