State Attorneys General

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 October 17, following Washington Attorney General (AG) Bob Ferguson’s unsuccessful consumer protection action against thrift store chain, Savers Value Village Inc. (Savers), the Washington Superior Court of King County granted Savers’ motion for attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $4.3 million. This substantial award — which is allowable under the Washington Consumer Protection Act (WA CPA) — represents a substantial recoupment of Savers’ attorneys’ fees spent to defend the almost decade-long litigation.

On September 11, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it issued a consent order against Tempoe, LLC, a nonbank consumer finance company, for alleged violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), Consumer Leasing Act, and Regulation M. That same day, it was announced that Tempoe also entered into a parallel settlement with 41 states and the District of Columbia resolving a multi-state investigation into the same alleged misconduct. Under the terms of the CFPB consent order, Tempoe was banned from consumer leasing activity and must pay $1 million to the CFPB and $1 million to the states and jurisdictions participating in the settlement.

On August 16, a coalition of seven state attorneys general (AG) announced a settlement with participants alleged to be involved in a “massive” robocall operation. The stipulated order, which names Scott Shapiro, Michael T. Smith, Jr., and Health Advisors of America (defendants), permanently bans Shapiro and Smith from initiating or facilitating robocalls; working in or with companies that make robocalls; and engaging in telemarketing. The settlement also requires the defendants to make monetary payments to the coalition, which is comprised of AGs from the states of Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, and Texas (the AGs).

In the latest episode of Regulatory Oversight, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Executive Director Brian Kane joins co-host Ashley Taylor to discuss the role that NAAG plays among attorneys general. NAAG provides a community for attorneys general and their staff to collaboratively address issues important to their work, as well as training and resources to support attorneys general. From Supreme Court training to a multistate settlement database, NAAG offers a variety of resources to the attorneys general offices.

On June 26, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Florida Commercial Financing Disclosure Law (FCFDL). As discussed here, the FCFDL mandates that covered commercial financing companies provide consumer-like disclosures for certain commercial financing transactions. The law also defines and prohibits specific acts by brokers of those transactions, including the collection of advance fees.

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On June 7, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a request for information (RFI) to gain additional insight into how it can optimize joint enforcement with state attorneys general (state AGs) to protect consumers from fraud. The announcement signals a growing trend of cooperation between the FTC and state AGs, which we have also seen between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the state regulators.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita and the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions announced a settlement in excess of $250,000 with Integrity Acceptance Corp., affiliated companies, and their owners to resolve allegations that they originated personal loans without the required license, contracted for charges in excess of the maximum allowable rate, misrepresented finance charges, and failed to disclose prepaid finance charges in violation of the Indiana Uniform Consumer Credit Code and Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act. As part of the settlement, the entities will forgive $223,685 in loans, pay $33,991 in restitution, and pay $33,000 in civil penalties and costs to the state. The entities and their owners are also enjoined from engaging in similar conduct in the future. 

In February, Massachusetts Attorney General Joy Campbell announced a $6.5 million settlement with Safe Home Security, its CEO, and affiliated companies to resolve allegations that their practices violated state consumer protection laws by “trapping Massachusetts consumers in long-term auto renewal contracts” and engaging in illegal debt collection practices, among other activities.

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On February 23, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) announced that it has issued orders to nine of the largest auto lenders requesting information about their auto lending portfolios. According to the CFPB, the nine targeted lenders represent a cross-section of the auto finance market and the data collected in response to these