December 20, 2016

CFPB sues 4 pawnbrokers, credit servicer for deceptive practices

The CFPB this week filed suits against four pawnbrokersand a credit service companyfor deceiving consumers about the actual annual costs of their loans and for making loans with improper disclosures, respectively.

The first set of CFPB lawsuits announced name four Virginia-based pawnbrokers: Spotsylvania Gold & Pawn Inc., Fredericksburg Pawn Inc., Pawn U.S.A. Inc., and A to Z Pawn Inc. The bureau's lawsuits seek to end the pawnbrokers' illegal practices, get restitution for harmed consumers and impose civil money penalties.

The CFPB alleges that the companies misled their customers about the costs of their loans by disclosing deceptively low annual percentage rates that did not account for all of the fees and charges tacked onto their loans. The bureau said these inaccurate disclosures understated the true APR by as much as half of the actual cost in some cases.

In another case against Military Credit Services LLC, the CFPB is ordering the Virginia-based company to ensure that its contracts comply with the law, hire an independent consultant to review its practices and pay a $200,000 civil penalty. This is the bureau's second enforcement action against MCS.

The CFPB found the company violated federal law by failing to properly disclose the terms of preauthorized transfers and interest rates on the loans it offered.

This week's lawsuits allege that the companies' actions violated the Dodd-Frank Act due to the pawnbrokers' and credit servicer's engagement in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices.