On November 20, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it had entered into a consent order with a Florida-based company that offers auto loans over the company’s alleged violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA).
The consent order, entered against both the company and personally against the company’s founder, states that the company charged fees through its auto loan program, but misrepresented the amounts consumers might save by failing to disclose certain fees, including program enrollment fees. The order also states the company inaccurately advertised that it helped consumers save money, without any factual basis for the claim and that the practices violated the CFPA’s prohibition on unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices, under 12 U.S.C. § 5536.
The consent order requires the company to pay $9,300,000 in consumer redress, but suspended the amount upon payment of $900,000 in redress and a $1 civil money penalty to the CFPB. The order also includes other prospective requirements to prevent future violations, including barring the company from making any misrepresentations about its payment programs. Additionally, the company must in the future account for the total costs for its programs whenever making claims about amounts saved by a consumer any potential benefits.
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