JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office obtained an assurance of voluntary compliance from Credit Acceptance Corp. The settlement includes a $125,000 voluntary payment to the state.
The agreement, made last week, resolves allegations that the Michigan-based automotive finance company had collected payments and obtained judgments on automobile loans that were deemed void, due to procedural violations in delivering customers certificates of title.
Missouri law requires that consumers be given a certificate of ownership when they take delivery of a purchased vehicle. Otherwise, the sale is fraudulent and void because, without a proper certificate of title, the consumer cannot register the vehicle with the Missouri Department of Revenue and cannot lawfully operate the vehicle.
The agreement with Credit Acceptance relates to allegations that the company was seeking to collect payments and obtain judgments on void sales where the consumer had never been given a certificate of title by the automobile dealership from which the consumer purchased the vehicle.
“It is fundamentally unfair to force consumers to make monthly payments on a car that they may not legally own and cannot lawfully drive,” Koster said in a press release. “My office’s position is clear: until a consumer receives a proper certificate of title, it is unlawful for a finance company to collect on the automotive loan.”
In addition to those consumer complaints already identified and resolved during the investigation, the company will make full monetary restitution to any affected consumer who registers with the Koster’s office within six months of the settlement date.
Additionally, under the agreement, Credit Acceptance will continue to implement internal procedures designed to prevent the issue from reoccurring, and, in the event that any similar issues are discovered in the future, Credit Acceptance has agreed to make full restitution to any affected consumer. Credit Acceptance will also make a one-time payment of $125,000 to the state of Missouri for the cost of the investigation and for consumer education, advocacy and enforcement.
“I appreciate Credit Acceptance’s willingness to address this issue and to pay affected Missourians back as part of this agreement,” Koster said, noting that Credit Acceptance did not admit to any violations by settling the complaint.