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CFPB fines SMART Payment Plan over deceptive sales practices


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CFPB fines SMART Payment Plan over deceptive sales practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a consent order against SMART Payment Plan LLC, ordering it to pay $7.5 million in consumer redress for deceptive sales practices.

SMART Payment, a limited liability company with its principal place of business in Austin, Texas, provided individualized benefits summaries that purported to state a specific amount of interest savings or other money savings consumers would get by enrolling in the SMART Plan, a loan payment program for auto loans. But the company's fees would ordinarily exceed the savings. Its disclosures thus created the misleading impression that consumers would save money using its product, according to the CFPB.

The ordered redress amount will be suspended if SMART Payment pays $1.5 million by Dec. 31 and a $1 civil money penalty to the bureau. The suspension of the full payment for redress, as well as the $1 civil penalty, is based on the company's demonstrated inability to pay more based on sworn financial statements. The consent order prohibits SMART Payment from making any misrepresentations about its payment programs.