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Brooke Conkle offers consumer-facing companies compliance counseling and litigation services to help them address federal and state consumer protection laws. Recognizing the challenges facing financial services companies, she provides in-depth analysis of complex issues related to consumer protection and compliance.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong filed suit against auto dealer Manchester City Nissan (Manchester City), its owner, and several employees for allegedly deceiving consumers about the price of certified used cars, add-ons, and government fees. Filed January 4, the lawsuit was brought under the FTC Act and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

On December 20, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint in a Texas federal court against Colony Ridge Development, LLC (Colony Ridge), its affiliates, and Loan Originator Services, a Texas mortgage company, for allegedly operating an illegal land sales scheme and targeting tens of thousands of Hispanic borrowers with false statements and predatory loans. Specifically, the complaint alleges Colony Ridge sells flood-prone land without water, sewer, or electrical infrastructure, and that the company sets borrowers up with loans they cannot afford. The complaint alleges that defendants engaged in unlawful discrimination by targeting Hispanics in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). In addition, the complaint alleges violation of the Dodd-Frank Act’s prohibition on unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP), and a variety of violations of the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act.

On December 13, by a vote of 4-1, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted new rules aimed at “closing the ‘lead generator’ robocall/robotexts loophole.” Specifically, the rule requires telemarketers to obtain consumer consent to receive robocalls and robotexts one seller/brand at a time, instead of allowing a single consent to apply to multiple telemarketers. This is also known as one-to-one consent. The order does not specifically define “robocall” or “robotext.”

On December 12, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published the long-awaited regulation specific to motor vehicle dealers to address concerns of consumer deception in the sales process (Final Rule). We covered the proposed rule, introduced in June 2022, in a blog post here and podcast here. In a 3-0 vote, the FTC approved the issuance of the Final Rule, which will be published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks.

On October 24, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Wisconsin Department of Justice announced a settlement with Wisconsin auto dealer group Rhinelander Auto Center, Inc. (Rhinelander), its current and former owners, and general manager. The lawsuit was brought under the FTC Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and the Wisconsin Consumer Act.

Parking Revenue Recovery Services, Inc. (PRRS), a collection company, was accused of violating the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA) by allegedly illegally collecting or attempting to collect on parking fines that were already paid or were incurred by another vehicle owner. PRRS was also accused of allowing its collection license to expire on July 1, 2022, not submitting a new license application until December 2022, but still continuing to collect debts in the state in the interim.

On July 31, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve) issued its July Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices, which addressed changes in the standards and terms on, and demand for, bank loans to businesses and households in the second quarter of 2023. Banks reported that lending standards are currently on the tighter end of the range for all loan categories. Specifically, standards tightened for all consumer loan categories and demand weakened for auto and other consumer loans, while it remained basically unchanged for credit card loans. Looking forward, banks reported expecting to tighten standards further on all loan categories citing an uncertain economic outlook and expected deterioration in collateral values and the credit quality of loans.

More than two years after the Supreme Court released its ruling in Facebook v. Duguid, confirming the meaning of automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a plaintiff has filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court to challenge the Ninth Circuit’s application of the Facebook decision. The Facebook ruling effectively closed the door on one of the broadest classes of TCPA-related litigation; since then, plaintiff-side advocates have worked ceaselessly, though largely unsuccessfully, to chip away at the ruling. If the Supreme Court accepts the appeal, this will represent a significant development in the ongoing saga of ATDS litigation.

On June 28, a magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio issued a report recommending that the defendant’s motion to dismiss be denied because the plaintiff had standing under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) even though the calls in question were not intended for the plaintiff.