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Hand in Cookie Jar: FTC Stops Payday Lenders Allegedly Reaching Into Customers’ Bank Accounts Without Authorization

  • The FTC sued payday lending companies Lead Express, Inc., Camel Coins, Inc., Sea Mirror, Inc,, Naito Corp., Kotobuki Marketing, Inc., Ebisu Marketing, Inc., Hotei Marketing, Inc., Daikoku Marketing, Inc., La Posta Tribal Lending Enterprise, and related individuals (collectively, “Lead Express”) over allegations that they overcharged consumers and made unauthorized withdrawals from their bank accounts in violation of the FTC Act, Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Truth in Lending Act, and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act.   The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada has issued a temporary restraining order halting Lead Express’ operations and freezing their assets during the pendency of the lawsuit.
  • According to the complaint, Lead Express allegedly used deceptive marketing tactics on websites and through telemarketing to convince consumer that they were signing up for loans with a fixed number of payments. In fact, consumers often found that Lead Express applied their payments to finance charges only without reducing the principal of the loan and continued to withdraw regular finance charge payments after the promised term of the loan had ended. Lead Express also allegedly failed to provide appropriate lending disclosures to consumers and illegally used remotely created checks.
  • In addition to the temporary restraining order, the complaint seeks permanent injunctive relief, reformation of contracts, rescission, restitution, disgorgement, and costs.