JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced a settlement has been reached with Santander, an auto loan company who allegedly violated the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act. Fitch said the company exposed Mississippi consumers to a high probability of default.
“I remain steadfast in my commitment to protect Mississippi consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices that seek to scam them out of their hard-earned money,” said Fitch. “This settlement will deliver meaningful relief to harmed consumers and will provide future protection from predatory lending practices.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Santander will pay $3.7 million to Mississippi, including $1.8 million in direct consumer restitution. Santander has also agreed to cease collection efforts for any loans extinguished under Mississippi law, providing relief to thousands of Mississippi consumers.
Additionally, going forward, Santander must:
- Account for a consumer’s ability to pay a loan
- Set a reasonable debt-to-income threshold to reasonably evaluate consumer’s ability to pay
- Not require dealers to sell any ancillary product (e.g., vehicle service contracts)
- Monitor dealers for possible income inflation, power booking, or expense deflation
- Not misrepresent a consumer’s prospect of redeeming a vehicle that has been repossessed
- Not require consumers to make payments through methods that require the consumer to pay additional third-party fees, such as a money order
- Not make any attempt to collect on loans that have been extinguished under Mississippi law and must notify all relevant credit reporting agencies that the debts have been extinguished
- Over the next few months, eligible consumers will be contacted by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office notifying them they are eligible for restitution.
If you have question about restitutions, you are urged visit their online website or call 1-877-465-4894 to speak with a representative.