Massachusetts Attorney General's Office issued the following announcement on Dec. 27.
A Connecticut automobile lender will provide $733,925 in debt relief and refunds to resolve allegations that it facilitated the sale of defective vehicles by certain Massachusetts used car dealerships, Attorney General Maura Healey announced.
In the assurance of discontinuance, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, Sensible Auto Lending LLC has agreed to provide relief for consumers who purchased vehicles at F&R Auto, which entered into a consent judgment with the AG’s Office over its deceptive sales practices, and three other Massachusetts dealerships.
“This settlement will give consumers victimized by these dealerships a clean slate by refunding them for faulty cars and repairing their credit,” said AG Healey. “Sensible Auto has also changed its business practices so that consumers are protected from fraud in the future.”
The AG’s investigation found that Sensible facilitated the dealerships’ sale of defective and inoperable vehicles by supplying the dealerships with financing, despite knowing of consumer complaints against the dealerships and of their high default and repossession rates.
The investigation also found that Sensible violated the Massachusetts Cost of Consumer Credit Disclosure Act by failing to account for the cost of certain insurance policies that consumers were required to purchase. These Vendor Single Interest (VSI) insurance policies are intended to protect lenders when a vehicle is damaged or unrecoverable, but Sensible used its VSI claims to recover for credit losses. This practice effectively caused the annual percentage rates on consumers’ loans to exceed the state statutory cap of 21 percent.
Under the terms of the settlement, Sensible will provide refunds to certain consumers, including those who purchased a vehicle from F&R Auto, complained of mechanical defects, and lost their vehicle to repossession. Sensible will also waive all outstanding deficiency obligations for the hundreds of consumers who purchased vehicles from F&R Auto and the three other dealerships and will repair these consumers’ credit with credit reporting agencies. Sensible will refund interest payments to consumers where the company misused VSI claims.
Original source can be found here.