Auto Loan Relief Scammer Banned from Telemarketing, Debt Relief Services Under FTC Settlement
Commission Also Approves Final Consent Orders in Two Deceptive Auto Dealership Cases
Regency Financial Services, Inc., and its CEO Ivan Levy have agreed to a permanent ban on telemarketing and the advertising, marketing, or sale of any debt relief products or services to settle FTC charges that they falsely promised consumers auto loan modifications and refunds if they failed to obtain the loan reductions.
In its complaint, the FTC alleged that Regency and Levy violated the FTC Act and Telemarketing Sales Rule by promising consumers services to stop the repossession of their vehicles, and to obtain lower interest rates and monthly auto loan payments for an upfront fee of $499. The FTC’s complaint also alleged the company failed to honor its “money-back guarantee.”
In addition to the bans on telemarketing and debt relief services, the defendants also agreed to a judgment of $330,000 to redress the victims of their scheme. The settlement order also prohibits defendants from misrepresenting the terms or rates that are available for any loan or extension of credit, and the ability to improve a consumers’ credit rating.
The FTC thanks the Florida Office of Financial Regulation for its continued support in this case.
Following a public comment period, the agency also approved final consent orders with two auto dealers for their alleged deceptive advertising practices. TT of Longwood, Inc., doing business as Cory Fairbanks Mazda, is prohibited from misrepresenting the cost of purchasing, financing, or leasing a vehicle, and from advertising a price or discount for a vehicle unless the price or discount is available to all consumers. The order also prohibits the dealership from failing to clearly and conspicuously disclose required leasing information and complying with the Consumer Leasing Act and Regulation M.
Matt Blatt Inc. and Glassboro Imports, LLC (“Matt Blatt dealerships”) are prohibited from representing that any payment program or add-on product or service will save a consumer money, including interest, unless the savings is greater than the amount of fees and costs charged in connection with the program, or any qualifying information related to savings is clearly and conspicuously disclosed. The Matt Blatt dealerships will pay $184,000 to the FTC as part of the settlement.
The FTC previously announced a final consent order with National Payment Network, the third-party company that offered the deceptive bi-weekly auto payment sold to consumers by Matt Blatt dealerships. Under that order, NPN will provide over $2.4 million in consumer refunds and waived fees.
These cases are part of Operation Ruse Control, a nationwide and cross-border law enforcement sweep, which targeted deceptive auto marketing practices to protect consumers when buying or leasing a car.
The Commission vote authorizing staff to file the settlement order against Regency and Levy was 5-0. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on July 10, 2015. The order has the force of law when entered by the Court.
The Commission votes approving the Cory Fairbanks Mazda and Matt Blatt dealerships final consent orders were 5-0.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.