Feds Order Auto Loan Collection Agency to Pay $44.1M to Debt Collectors

Nov 02, 2015

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has ordered Westlake Services, LLC and Wilshire Consumer Credit, LLC, an auto finance company and its subsidiary, to pay $44 million in refunds and balance. The CFPB claims that the company tricked consumers by contacting them under false pretenses and using fake caller ID information. Representativea then threatened to refer borrower’s criminal investigation, and disclosed personal information about debts to borrowers’ friends, families, and employers.

Westlake is an indirect auto finance company that purchases auto loans. Wilshire Consumer Credit offers auto title loans straight to consumers, mostly through the Internet. The CFPB found that Westlake and Wilshire deceived borrowers into thinking they were being called by valid repossession companies, third party collection services, or even the borrowers’ own friends and family.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray stated Westlake and its subsidiaries have no excuse for lying to consumers. The company secured millions of dollars through illegal and unethical tactics over the past 5 years. These tactics have not made them any friends, and has made the debt collector one of the worst reviewed online.  Consumer complaints call representatives “rude” and “disgusting.” Some even site harassing phone calls from blocked numbers that threatened them with repossession.

Debtors who have tried to pay off loans say even that process is a hassle. A customer from Maryland recounts that he paid off a requested balance of $2,104.00. A month later, he received another bill for the same debt stating the balance was only $1,129.70. It took months to get in touch with a manager to issue his refund of $974.30.

The CFPB’s investigation discovered even more misdeeds by Westlake and Wilshire. The debt collectors used an online service called Skip Tracy, to place outgoing calls and generate caller ID text for call recipients to see. The service made or received calls for over 137,000 loan accounts. The collection agencies also failed to relay the annual percentage rate on some loans as required by law. In many cases, the debt collector even changed due dates and loan terms without permission, causing more interest to accrue on the loans. This lawsuit is a victory for consumers.

The unscrupulous actions of debt collectors like Westlake Services and their subsidiaries give the collection industry a bad name. eMerchantBroker.com recognizes that many debt collection agencies have reputable and ethical practices. EMB is the preferred processor for Collections Max, and Industry Leading Collections Software. We have assisted thousands of collection agencies and will acquire the collection agency merchant account that will help your profits grow.

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Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending on the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.

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