On November 5, 2020, the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CFPB) announced that it had filed a complaint against a Florida-based payday lender and its CEO in the Southern District of Florida. The complaint alleges that the company violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) by engaging in deceptive acts and practices in connection with the short-term, high-interest loans it offered its consumers, who are predominantly Uber and Lyft drivers. These loans typically range from $100 to $500 and are repayable in 15 daily installments. However, the company is alleged to have misrepresented the APR of those loans to be 440% when, in fact, the APRs ranged from 975% to 978%, in violation of Florida’s usury statute.
Further, beginning in June 2020, the lender is alleged to have begun accepting deposits from consumers in order to fund its loan program. The company is alleged to have misrepresented various terms about these deposits, including that each account offered a “guaranteed” 15% APY and that the accounts were FDIC insured up to $500,000. The company’s website also allegedly contains pop-up messages appearing about every minute stating, “new investor has registered from [state],” when the average rate of new customers is actually only a few a day.
The complaint seeks injunctive relief, monetary damages, disgorgement, civil money penalties, and costs associated with the action.