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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Massachusetts AG fines auto dealer $1.5 million for predatory lending

State Issues State Attorney General Enforcement Predatory Lending Auto Finance Consumer Protection Consumer Complaints

State Issues

On March 9, the Massachusetts attorney general announced a consent judgment to resolve a 2017 lawsuit brought against an auto dealership and its in-house lender alleging that the dealership misled consumers into purchasing unfavorable sale packages in violation of Massachusetts’ consumer protection law. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the complaint alleged that more than half of the auto dealer’s sales failed or ended in repossession due to misleading sales practices, predatory lending, and faulty underwriting. The consent judgment follows a January court decision awarding summary judgment in favor of the AG’s office. According to the AG’s press release, the auto dealer agreed to provide monetary and injunctive relief to resolve the entirety of the lawsuit’s allegations. The relief includes (i) paying $1.5 million, half of which will go towards reducing ongoing payments on active loans for consumers who purchased cars prior to 2018; (ii) providing eligible consumers who had their vehicles repossessed the option to cancel outstanding debts and repair their credit from the repossession; (iii) improving business practices to ensure provision of fair disclosures and enhanced repair services; and (iv) developing a structured process for handling consumer complaints received by the AG.

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