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Online Payday Lenders Could Be Worse Than Traditional Payday Lenders

The typical outsider’s view of payday lending involves seedy looking storefront shops in strip malls near pawn shops and bail bonds, so the idea of going to a short-term lender with a cleanly designed, professional website might seem more appealing (not to mention convenient). However, a new report finds that online payday loans may wreak more financial havoc than their bricks-and-mortar counterparts. [More]

Toyota Must Pay $22M For Charging Higher Interest To Non-White Borrowers

Toyota Must Pay $22M For Charging Higher Interest To Non-White Borrowers

Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, creditors are prohibited from discriminating against loan applicants based on race or national origin. But that was a rule Toyota’s financing unit allegedly violated, resulting in thousands of African-American, Asian and Pacific Islander borrowers paying higher interest rates than their white counterparts. Now, in an effort to resolve charges filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Toyota Motor Credit Corporation must pay $21.9 million to wronged consumers.  [More]

CarHop Must Pay $6.4 Million In Penalties For  Jeopardizing Consumers’ Credit With Inaccurate Reports

CarHop Must Pay $6.4 Million In Penalties For Jeopardizing Consumers’ Credit With Inaccurate Reports

CarHop, one of the country’s largest “buy-here, pay-here” auto dealers, promotes itself as a company that offers fast approval for “just about anyone, despite bad or no credit.” While the company prides itself on the ability to help consumers, federal regulators say the dealer and its financing arm often did more harm than good when it came to reporting on customers’ credit behavior. To that end, CarHop must pay $6.4 million in penalties for providing damaging, inaccurate consumer information to credit reporting agencies (CRAs).  [More]

Lender EZCORP Must Pay $10M In Refunds, Fines For Illegal In-Person Debt Collection Practices

Lender EZCORP Must Pay $10M In Refunds, Fines For Illegal In-Person Debt Collection Practices

A small-dollar lender has been slammed with a top-dollar penalty by federal regulators who say that the company’s debt collection practices violated the law.  [More]

Regulators Take Action Against Fifth Third Bank For Auto-Lending Discrimination, Illegal Credit Card Practices

Regulators Take Action Against Fifth Third Bank For Auto-Lending Discrimination, Illegal Credit Card Practices

Federal regulators dished out a double dose of enforcement today by taking action against Fifth Third Bank for allegedly charging higher interest rates to minority borrowers for car loans and deceptively marketing credit card add-on products to bank customers.  [More]

Fiat Chrysler Receives Record $105 Million Fine For Failure To Address 23 Recalls

Fiat Chrysler Receives Record $105 Million Fine For Failure To Address 23 Recalls

For the second time this year, federal regulators have handed down a record-setting fine to an automaker for failing to properly report and investigate possible defects. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration levied a $105 million fine against Fiat Chrysler, following months of investigations into the car maker’s leisurely pace in fixing more than 11 million vehicles connected to 23 safety recalls. [More]

Honda Finance Unit Must Pay $24 Million For Charging Higher Interest To Non-White Borrowers

Honda Finance Unit Must Pay $24 Million For Charging Higher Interest To Non-White Borrowers

Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, creditors are prohibited from discriminating against loan applicants based on race or national origin. But that was a rule Honda’s financing unit allegedly violated, resulting in thousands of African-American, Hispanic, and Asian and Pacific Islander borrowers paying higher interest rates than white borrowers for their auto loans. Now, as part of a settlement with federal regulators to resolve allegations that the company allowed discriminatory loan pricing, the company must provide $24 million in restitution to borrowers. [More]

(Steven Depolo)

Executives & Loan Officers Must Pay $600K For Being Part Of Illegal Mortgage Kickback Scheme

Nearly five months after Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay more than $35 million – including $11.1 million in redress to affected consumers – for their part in an illegal mortgage kickback scheme, the purported masterminds behind the “pay-to-play” arrangement are finally facing action from federal regulators for their shady dealings. [More]

CFPB, Navajo Nation Team Up To Put An End To Tax Scheme Targeting Low-Income Consumers

CFPB, Navajo Nation Team Up To Put An End To Tax Scheme Targeting Low-Income Consumers

For many low-income consumers, tax time provides an opportunity to catch up on bills and get back on track financially. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous companies out there that aim to make money of these same consumers by pointing them in the direction of high-cost tax-refund-anticipation loans. That appears to be the case for the owner of New Mexico-based H&R Block franchises and a tax-time loan company operating an alleged illegal tax-refund scheme.   [More]

(Bob Reck)

Judge Rules BP’s Maximum Fine For Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Could Reach $13.7B

A U.S. judge ruled Thursday that BP will face a maximum fine of $13.7 billion – nearly $5 billion less than what the government sought – for its part in dumping million of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. [More]

How Would You Penalize The Airlines For Safety Violations?

How Would You Penalize The Airlines For Safety Violations?

Yesterday, when we posted about the record-setting $24 million penalty the FAA gave to American Airlines over allegations the carrier flew thousands of flights in planes with potentially dangerous wiring, some Consumerist readers expressed the sentiment that the massive fine was either ineffective in properly punishing AA or that it did little to make air travel better for passengers. [More]

Debt Collection Company Sued Over Racist Voicemails, Must Pay $1.5 Million

Debt Collection Company Sued Over Racist Voicemails, Must Pay $1.5 Million

Advanced Call Center Technologies tried to collect $200 on a disputed debt from Allen Jones a few years ago. Part of the company’s advanced technology is its innovative voicemail strategy, where its employees leave wildly offensive, racist messages for people. Jones sued the company, and last week the jury awarded him $50k for mental anguish and $1.5 million in punitive damages. [More]

Friday Is The Cutoff To Pay Estimated '09 Taxes Without Penalty

Friday Is The Cutoff To Pay Estimated '09 Taxes Without Penalty

January 15th is the last day you can pay estimated taxes for 2009 without worrying about the IRS’s 4% interest penalty. For most people, you need to have paid 90% of what you owe for 2009 or have a good reason why you didn’t (e.g. casualty, retirement). Kiplinger notes that even if you can’t pay the full amount, pay whatever you can by January 15th to reduce the amount that’s penalized. [More]

Apartment Complex Says "Use This Cable Company Or Pay Us $40 Per Month"

Apartment Complex Says "Use This Cable Company Or Pay Us $40 Per Month"

The FCC has made it clear that apartment complexes can’t force residents to use a specific cable company, but Amy Davis at KPRC in Houston reports that there’s a sneaky way to get around this restriction. The residents of one Houston apartment complex don’t have to go with the building’s chosen provider, but if they opt out they’ll have to pay an extra $40 per month for trash and water. [More]

Citicorp Deferred Interest Trap Springs Shut On Man Who Underpaid By $11

Citicorp Deferred Interest Trap Springs Shut On Man Who Underpaid By $11

I suspect some readers will say that Assefa Senbet is to blame for screwing up one of his final payments to Citibank on a deferred interest loan agreement. They’ll be right–it was his responsibility. But he didn’t skip a payment, and he wasn’t late. In fact, he frequently overpaid in order to pay it off early. Near the end of the loan, however, he sent in a check for $70 instead of $81. As a consequence, he’s now paying off $887 in deferred interest fees at a 30% interest rate. [More]

Wachovia's "Way2Save" Account Triggers Over $5,000 In Penalty Fees

Wachovia's "Way2Save" Account Triggers Over $5,000 In Penalty Fees

Wachovia has a new financial product called Way2Save that automatically moves $1 from your checking account into a high interest personal savings account every time you make an electronic bill payment. Susan tried to maximize her contributions by making a lot of little bill payments, but Wachovia cut off access to her funds without notice and triggered an avalanche of penalty fees. Now she owes over $5,000 to her credit card companies, far more than she would likely have ever earned through Wachovia’s complicated savings program, and of course Wachovia is denying any responsibility.

Target Must Pay $600,000 To Settle Lead Paint Charges

Target Must Pay $600,000 To Settle Lead Paint Charges

Looks like the CPSC can afford donuts tomorrow for their office: Target has agreed to pay $600,000 for selling toys with too much lead on them from May 2006 to August 2007, reports Reuters. The fine “resolves allegations” over the issue, so now Target can focus on what it does best, which is act crazy.

Bank Piles On Overdraft Fees Due To Merchant Error, Doesn't Seem Too Keen On Refunding Them

Bank Piles On Overdraft Fees Due To Merchant Error, Doesn't Seem Too Keen On Refunding Them

Here’s a story from a reader about a bad bank practice that we hear about too frequently—a bank cascades hundreds of dollars worth of overdraft fees on an error that’s beyond the customer’s control, but then is unresponsive or uncooperative on refunding those fees.