On January 31, 2023, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (“Mass AG”) announced a settlement with Hometown Auto Framingham, Inc. (“Hometown Auto”), resolving allegations that the auto dealership had engaged in unfair, deceptive, and discriminatory pricing of add-on products sold to Black and Hispanic consumers. Under the terms of the settlement, Hometown Auto will pay $350,000, which includes $200,000 in restitution and a $150,000 civil penalty.… Continue Reading
36 State Attorneys General settle with CarMax over non-disclosure of open safety recalls
On December 1, 2022, nationwide used car dealer CarMax Auto Superstores, Inc. (“CarMax”) and 36 state attorneys general announced a $1 million multistate settlement that will require CarMax to disclose open recalls related to the safety of its used vehicles before consumers purchase them. The settlement resolves an investigation into CarMax’s advertising and sales practices related to vehicle recalls since 2014. … Continue Reading
Mulvaney comments on enforcement approach, use of disparate impact
According to a Politico report, CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, speaking at a Washington, D.C. event, commented on changes to the Bureau’s approach to bringing enforcement actions and the Bureau’s plans to review the use of the disparate impact theory of ECOA liability.
With regard to enforcement actions, Mr. Mulvaney is reported to have indicated that the Bureau plans to consider the scale and frequency of violations when deciding whether to bring an enforcement action against a company. … Continue Reading
CFPB unveils Know Before You Owe auto loan initiative; issues report on consumer auto financing experiences
The CFPB has unveiled its latest “Know Before You Owe” initiative aimed at consumers shopping for an auto loan. The new initiative was accompanied by the CFPB’s release of a report entitled “Consumer Voices on Automobile Financing” that is intended to share the CFPB’s research about how consumers approach decisions about auto financing.… Continue Reading
Ballard attorneys to receive 2016 Distinguished Legal Writing Award for auto finance disparate impact article
I am proud to report that Ballard attorneys Peter N. Cubita and Christopher J. Willis have been selected to receive a 2016 Distinguished Legal Writing Award from The Burton Awards, which recognize outstanding legal writing. They are being honored for their article entitled “Auto Finance and Disparate Impact: Substantive Lessons Learned from Class Certification Decisions,” which was published in the May 1, 2015, edition of the Consumer Financial Services Law Report. … Continue Reading
Trade group criticizes CFPB reliance on enforcement and informal guidance
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness has sent a detailed letter to Director Cordray in which it criticizes the CFPB’s approach of “regulation by enforcement settlement combined with issuance of brief guidance statements” in lieu of engaging in rulemaking or otherwise soliciting public input.
In the letter, the Chamber expresses its strong belief that “if the Bureau identifies areas in which it wants to fundamentally alter the rules, it should take the time to write new standards rather than rely on one-off enforcement and press release “warnings” to other regulated companies.” … Continue Reading
Auto dealer trade group issues fair credit guidance
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has issued fair credit guidance to assist auto dealers in complying with the CFPB’s March 2013 indirect fair lending bulletin. The bulletin stopped short of mandating the elimination of dealer finance charge participation. However, in remarks made since the bulletin’s issuance, Director Cordray and other CFPB officials have expressed a strong distaste for dealer finance charge participation as a method of dealer compensation in the indirect auto finance market. … Continue Reading
House member questions CFPB auto fair lending guidance cost impact
The CFPB’s auto fair lending guidance continues to draw criticism from members of Congress, most recently from Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, a member of the House Financial Service Committee.
In a November 15 letter to Director Cordray, Mr. Luetkemeyer challenged the CFPB for not having studied how a shift to flat fee compensation for dealers would affect the cost of credit to borrowers, particularly low-and moderate-income borrowers. … Continue Reading
CFPB responds to letter from Senators raising concerns about auto fair lending guidance
The CFPB has responded to the October 30 letter it received from a bipartisan group of 22 U.S. Senators raising concerns about the fair lending auto finance bulletin issued by the CFPB this past March. The Senators’ letter posed a series of questions and we expect many of the Senators will find the answers provided by the CFPB in its five-page letter dated November 4 to be less than satisfactory. … Continue Reading
Democratic Senator wants more regulation of auto dealers
Democratic Senator Edward Markey wants the FTC to take a more active role in policing auto dealer sales practices. Because Dodd-Frank bars the CFPB from directly regulating auto dealers, the CFPB has targeted the fair lending practices of banks and non-banks purchasing auto finance consumer contracts from auto dealers. In a letter sent to the FTC on October 23, Senator Markey called on the FTC to investigate whether auto dealers are using “potentially unfair or deceptive financing practices to sell cars to consumers and then take all appropriate action to address these practices to protect consumers.” … Continue Reading