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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB sues auto-loan servicer for double-billing practices

Federal Issues CFPB Enforcement Mortgages Consumer Finance

Federal Issues

On August 2 CFPB filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against an auto-loan servicer alleging a host of illegal practices that harmed individuals with auto loans. The Bureau alleged that the auto-loan servicer engaged in unfair acts and practices in violation of the CFPA, including (i) wrongfully activating nearly 80,000 times starter-interruption devices, which are devices that warn consumers with beeps or disable their car altogether when they are late with a loan payment; (ii) failing to ensure refunds of over millions of dollars of GAP insurance premiums after consumers paid off their loan early or their car was repossessed by the auto-loan servicer; (iii) erroneously billing 34,000 consumers for collateral-protection insurance (CPI) by charging consumers twice each billing cycle, totaling around $1.9 million; (iv) wrongfully applying extra consumer payments first to late fees or CPI instead of accrued interest; and (v) wrongfully repossessing consumers’ cars dozens of times due to errors by the auto-loan servicer or its vendor.

The Bureau seeks, among other things, redress to consumers, civil money penalties, and injunctions to prevent future violations.