The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday ordered Toyota’s credit arm to pay $60 million for tricking customers into buying unnecessary products that it then made unreasonably difficult to cancel.
The agency said thousands of borrowers complained that Toyota Motor Credit employees added additional products to their loans, racking up fees for the company at the expense of consumers. It then made it unreasonably difficult for consumers to cancel those services, in some cases urging customers to call a hotline where employees would have them repeat their requests multiple times, only to finally tell them that the policy could only be canceled with one request. written.
Toyota Motor Credit is based in Plano, Texas, and provides financing to people who buy cars through Toyota dealers.
The company did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the agreement.
The CFPB said the company will pay $32 million to consumers who did not receive refunds they were owed; $9.9 million for consumers who attempted to cancel their policies but were unable to do so, $6 million for consumers who were harmed by false information submitted to a consumer reporting company, and $52,000 for those who were given inaccurate refunds. Toyota’s financial arm will also pay a $12 million fine to the agency’s victim relief fund.
In one example, the CFPB said Toyota Motor Credit told customers that if they wanted to cancel additional products included in their auto loans, they should call a hotline that had been created to frustrate them. Employees who answered the phone were told to continue promoting the products until the customer asked them to cancel three times. At that time, the employee was supposed to say that the only way to cancel was to submit a written request.
More than 118,000 customers called that hotline between 2016 and 2021 alone.
In addition to paying fines and restitution, the agency said Toyota Motor Credit will also be required to make it easier for consumers to cancel unwanted coverage, inform consumers that they can cancel products online or in writing, monitor dealers to make sure Please do not add products to customer loans without the borrower’s consent. The company will also be prohibited from tying employee compensation or performance metrics to consumer retention of packaged products like those at issue in this case.
The agency said the unnecessary products included Guaranteed Asset Protection, a type of insurance that covers the difference between the amount a consumer owes on their auto loan and what their insurance pays if the vehicle is stolen, damaged or vandalized; Credit Life and Accidental Health Coverage, which covers the remaining balance of the loan if the borrower dies or becomes disabled; and vehicle service agreements, which reimburse borrowers for parts and services beyond what is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
The CFPB said those products averaged between $700 and $2,500 per loan.
The agency also said the company knowingly gave false information to rating agencies, harming its customers’ credit ratings by telling companies that they reported that consumers were not making payments when in fact they had returned the vehicles they purchased. they had rented.