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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB reaches $2.6 billion settlement with credit repair telemarketers

Federal Issues CFPB Settlement CFPA Consumer Finance TSR Consumer Protection Credit Repair Enforcement

Federal Issues

On August 28, the CFPB announced a proposed settlement with Utah-based credit repair telemarketers and various affiliates (collectively, "defendants") for allegedly committing deceptive acts and practices in violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) by collecting illegal advance fees. As previously covered by InfoBytes, in its initial lawsuit the CFPB alleged the defendants requested and received payment of “prohibited” upfront fees for telemarketed credit repair services when they signed up. In June, a district court ruling put a hold on the Bureau’s initial attempt to impose the settlement because of “outstanding issues of fact” which precluded it from entering the agency’s requested relief at that time (covered by InfoBytes here). The Bureau and defendants have now agreed to a new settlement which will, among other things, (i) impose over $2.7 billion in redress (understanding that the principal corporate defendant is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings); (ii) impose over $64 million in civil money penalties; (iii) ban defendants from telemarketing and from doing business with certain marketing affiliates for ten years; and (iv) require defendants to send a notice of the settlement to “any remaining enrolled customers who were previously signed up through telemarketing.”

The proposed settlement is subject to final approval by the court.