The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a consent order against Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. (Nissan), an auto financing subsidiary of Nissan North America, Inc., which services auto loans and leases originated by Nissan and Infiniti dealerships nationwide, according to a press release. The Bureau found that Nissan and its agents: wrongfully repossessed vehicles; kept personal property in consumers’ repossessed vehicles until consumers paid a storage fee; deprived consumers paying by phone of the ability to select payment options with significantly lower fees; and, in its loan extension agreements, made a deceptive statement that appeared to limit consumers’ bankruptcy protections. These actions violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s (CFPA) prohibition against unfair and deceptive acts and practices. The consent order yesterday requires Nissan to provide up to $1 million of cash redress to consumers subject to a wrongful repossession, credit any outstanding account charges associated with a wrongful repossession, and to pay a civil money penalty of $4 million. It also imposes certain requirements to prevent future violations and remediate consumers whose vehicles are wrongfully repossessed going forward. The CFPB specifically found that, from 2013 through September of 2019, Nissan repossessed hundreds of consumers’ vehicles despite the consumer having made payments or otherwise taken actions that should have prevented the repossession. The Bureau also found that, from at least early 2014 through late August 2017, Nissan’s repossession agents, with Nissan’s knowledge, demanded that consumers pay a separate, upfront storage fee for personal property contained in repossessed vehicles. These agents refused to return consumers’ personal property until the consumers paid the fee.
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