West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said his office's Consumer Protection Division received several complaints from consumers about CashPoints collection practices in recent years. He said hundreds of West Virginia consumers had gone to Virginia to obtain title loans from CashPoint.
While short-term, high-interest title loans are legal in Virginia, they are banned in West Virginia under that state's usury laws. CashPoint admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. Some CashPoint customers reported they had endured ongoing harassing phone calls, had personal, debt-related information wrongly given to third parties and had vehicles seized by companies not licensed to do business in West Virginia. While the company denied it engaged in these practices, it also agreed to stop them in the future. CashPoint also agreed to cancel all delinquent balances that were allegedly owed as of Sept. 30, 2014, totaling $2,360,190 owed by 435 West Virginians. The company will release its vehicle liens and return clear titles to all 435 of those consumers. CashPoint further promised to comply with all state and federal consumer protection laws; refrain from contacting consumers repeatedly or continuously by telephone with the intent to annoy or harass them; refrain from wrongfully disclosing a consumer's alleged indebtedness to their employers, neighbors, relatives or other third parties; refrain from contacting third parties, except for the limited purpose of obtaining location information; and refrain from employing people to seize vehicles from West Virginia residents unless those individuals or their companies are licensed to do business in West Virginia. The company will pay $85,000 to the State of West Virginia, which will be used by the Morrisey's office to promote consumer protection programs. "Even though title loans are not legal in West Virginia, some citizens opt to go over state lines to obtain them," Morrisey said. "Consumers should be cautious about getting these loans, no matter how cash-strapped they may be, because of the high interest rates and very real danger of losing their cars.
Our office is pleased with this settlement that will help hundreds of West Virginia consumers, Morrisey said. "It is important to know that companies you are dealing with are fair and honest, and we take very seriously our duty to protect consumers from businesses engaging in unscrupulous practices. This is a win for West Virginia.
Details of the settlement agreement are available here.