On April 12, the CFPB filed a complaint against a credit reporting agency (CRA), two of its subsidiaries, and a former senior executive for violating a 2017 consent order issued to the company related to alleged deceptive marketing regarding its credit scores and other credit-related products. The CFPB alleges that the CRA continued its unlawful behavior and employed deceitful digital “dark patterns” to profit from customers and also alleges violations of the CFPA, EFTA/ Regulation E, and the FCRA/Regulation V. The order seeks a permanent injunction, damages, civil penalties, consumer refunds, restitution, disgorgement and the CFPB’s costs.
The complaint alleges that the corporate defendants failed to take actions specifically required by the 2017 consent order, including providing a checkbox requiring consumers to affirmatively consent to automatic renewal after a free trial and providing a simple mechanism by which consumers could cancel purchases and stop recurring payments. In addition, the corporate defendants continued misrepresenting the nature of a monthly credit monitoring product by making it seem as if it were simply a way to view one’s credit score and further misrepresenting that payment information was simply for identification purposes rather than making it clear that consumers were purchasing something.
CFPB Director Rohit Chopra indicated in comments announcing the lawsuit that the CFPB will continue to focus on repeat offenders through supervision and enforcement. According to Chopra, the CFPB will closely collaborate with state and federal authorities and has directed staff to focus more scrutiny on other business units under their corporate control to help identify and prosecute the totality of the wrongdoing.
Putting it Into Practice: This complaint marks the second lawsuit filed against companies for violating the terms of previously issued consent orders since Director Chopra assumed his position last year (we discussed this earlier complaint in a previous blog post here). This complaint demonstrates the CFPB’s intent to pursue several of Director Chopra’s previously-articulated priorities, including punishing repeat offenders, holding executives accountable, and addressing alleged credit reporting agency misconduct. This lawsuit is a significant development that should be considered by those subject to outstanding enforcement measures, as it demonstrates the CFPB’s intent to pursue several of Director Chopra’s priorities.