The CFPB has ordered an enforcement action against Westlake Services, LLC and Wilshire Consumer Credit, LLC for using illegal debt collection tactics, including phony caller ID, false threats, and illegal disclosure of personal information.
Westlake Services, LLC is an indirect auto finance company. It purchases and services auto loans, including loans to borrowers with generally lower credit scores. Wilshire Consumer Credit, LLC is a subsidiary of Westlake and offers auto title loans directly to consumers. The CFPB found that Westlake and Wilshire used a web-based service, Skip Tracy, to call over 137,000 consumers posing as repossession companies or other third parties.
The Illegal Debt Collection Tactics that were found by the CFPB are as follows:
- Westlake and Wilshire called consumers posing as repossession companies to threaten consumers and trick them into believing that their automobiles were at risk of being repossessed.
- Westlake and Wilshire called consumers pretending to be pizza delivery services, flower shops, or family and friends to obtain the location of their vehicles.
- From January 2010 until April 2014, Westlake and Wilshire used threatened to refer borrowers for investigation or criminal prosecution by falsely identifying themselves as investigation or enforcement divisions.
- From January 2010 until April 2014, Westlake and Wilshire contacted relatives, employers, and friends of consumers and disclosed information about the consumers’ loans without their permission including implying that the consumers were facing repossession or criminal charges.
Due to these violations the CFPB has ordered Westlake and Wilshire to provide approximately $44.1 million in redress to victims. The first $25.8 million is to be paid in cash and the remained is to be paid in balance reductions. Additionally, these companies have been ordered to end deceptive debt collection practices, protect consumers’ private information, provide truthful information to consumers about their loans, and pay a $4.25 million civil penalty.