According to USA Today (11/20/13), Cash America International allegedly used a process called robo-signing to process documents used to collect debts. People who worked in the collections department reportedly stamped their manager’s signature on vital paperwork without the manager having actually reviewed the paperwork or documents that supported the paperwork. Officials noted that more than 14,000 consumers in Ohio were affected by the robo-signing. The company has begun repaying $6 million to those affected and will pay another $8 million in refunds.
According to the consent order, “[the defendant’s] debt collection acts or practices during the Relevant Period caused or were likely to cause substantial injury, including the filing of inaccurate affidavits and pleadings that could potentially cause consumers to pay incorrect debts or legal costs and court fees to defend against invalid or excessive claims.” The order also noted that reasonable consumers could have been misled by those actions into believing the information had been properly reviewed and executed.
Officials also found that active service military members were given loans with an interest rate above the 36 percent annual interest rate allowed by the Military Lending Act.
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Meanwhile, some consumers have taken matters into their own hands by filing lawsuits against companies they allege have harassed, threatened and intimidated them, violating federal and state laws while doing so.
According to The West Virginia Record (12/3/13), one woman in West Virginia has filed a lawsuit alleging a debt collector violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by using automated telephone dialing to call her at both her cell and residential phones. The lawsuit is in the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, Case No. 6:13-20957.