In Soliman v. Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, Ltd, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending a text message to her cell phone using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) and which utilized an “artificial or prerecorded voice.” The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss the case because the TCPA did not apply.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently reversed a district court’s ruling, which had denied a motion to compel arbitration of Opportunity Financial (OppFi) on the basis that the arbitration clause was substantively unconscionable due to the choice of law provision in the loan agreement containing the arbitration clause. The Ninth Circuit vacated the decision and directed the district court to refer the matter to arbitration.

Virginia is currently one of only two states that does not allow class-action lawsuits in its courts. However, that could change soon as House Bill (HB) 418, originally introduced on January 10, 2024, seeks to create a class-action framework loosely modeled on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On February 9, HB 418 passed the House of Delegates and will be sent to the Senate for consideration.

Recently, Lead Bank and its loan servicer Hyphen, LLC, an online lending platform operating Helix Financial, filed a motion to dismiss a purported class action alleging violations of the Georgia Installment Loan Act (GILA) and Georgia racketeering law arising out of a consumer installment or “payday loan.” Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the loan agreement between herself and Lead Bank was “nothing more than a façade, and a temporary one at that” in an attempt to evade Georgia’s restrictions on payday lending.

In Career Counseling, Inc. v. Amerifactors Financial Group, LLC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a district court’s decision denying class certification in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) case on the basis that the plaintiff failed to satisfy Rule 23’s “implicit further requirement of ascertainability.” The Fourth Circuit also upheld summary judgment against the defendant as to the individual claim finding the defendant was indeed the “sender” of the fax at issue. Each finding is discussed more fully below.

We are pleased to share our annual review of regulatory and legal developments in the consumer financial services industry. With active federal and state legislatures, consumer financial services providers faced a challenging 2023. Courts across the country issued rulings that will have immediate and lasting impacts on the industry. Our team of more than 140 professionals has prepared this concise, yet thorough analysis of the most important issues and trends throughout our industry. We not only examined what happened in 2023, but also what to expect — and how to prepare — for the months ahead.

On January 18, a court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin denied class certification in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) case concluding that the factual issue of whether the proposed class members had suffered an injury-in-fact sufficient to confer Article III standing based on the receipt of a ringless voicemail was an individualized issue that would predominate over common issues.

In a case of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was tasked with determining whether the alleged extracting and retaining of consumer data and tracking of customers using an online payment platform exposes defendants to personal jurisdiction in the state where an online purchase was made. The court concluded it does not. “When a company operates a nationally available e-commerce payment platform and is indifferent to the location of end-users, the extraction and retention of consumer data, without more, does not subject the defendant to specific jurisdiction in the forum where the online purchase was made.”