The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has discovered that an indirect auto finance company, Westlake Services, LLC (Westlake), and its car title subsidiary, Wilshire Consumer Credit, LLC (Wilshire), have been implementing illegal debt collection strategies, including:
- Deceiving consumers by contacting them under false pretenses, such as pretending to be a repossession agency that would release the car if a payment was made
- Using fake caller ID information (such as it appearing that it was a pizza delivery service or a flower shop calling the consumer)
- Threatening consumers with criminal investigations or prosecutions
- Disclosing information about the borrower’s debts to third-parties
- Paying a repossession company to make collection calls even though repossession of the vehicle was no imminent
- Deceiving borrowers about the consequences of changes to the due date or loan extensions
- Providing consumers incomplete information about the true cost of loans
Westlake’s business focuses on purchasing vehicle loans from auto dealers nationwide, particularly from consumers with low credit scores in the subprime or near-subprime credit score market. Wilshire, the subsidiary, purchased car title loans from other companies and provided car title loans directly to consumers, mostly online, and then serviced for those car loans.
The Consent Order by the CFPB has ordered the companies to not only revamp their debt collection practices, but also pay civil penalties in the amount of $4.25 million as well pay the victims of their illegal practices $44.1 million.
“There’s no excuse for lying to your customers, and today’s action will provide millions of dollars in relief for borrowers caught up in Westlake and Wilshire’s deception,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Consumers struggling to pay their bills deserve to be treated with respect, not subjected to illegal threats and deceptive phone calls. We will continue to clean up the debt collection market and root out these illegal and inexcusable practices.”
Fitzgerald Campbell handles debt collector harassment cases on a “contingency fee” basis, which means you pay us nothing unless we are successful! There is no charge to you for us to represent you. If we win, we will get paid. If we lose, we will not get paid. It is that simple. The law provides that if your case is successful, the creditor or collector will pay your reasonable attorney fees. Call us today toll free at (844) 431-3851 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.