CFPB Proposes $2 Million Final Judgment for Illegal Credit Repair Fees
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a final judgment against four California-based credit repair companies and three affiliated individuals for “misleading consumers and charging illegal fees.”
The bureau is asking Blake Johnson, Eric Schlegel, Prime Credit, LLC, Commercial Credit Consultants, and IMC Capital, LLC to pay a total of $1.5 million in civil penalties. In a separate case, they issued a judgment of $500,000 against Park View Law (formerly known formerly as Prime Law Experts, Inc.) and the owner, Arthur Barens.
These companies provided credit repair services at various times between 2009 and 2014. Barens, Schlegel and Johnson were business partners, but they ran their companies independently. According to the CFPB, the credit repair agencies made false claims about removing negative information on customers’ credit reports and boosting credit scores.
Moreover, the bureau alleges the credit repair companies charged illegal advance fees for their services. Federal law states that certain conditions have to be met before telemarketers can collect fees from consumers. This prevents companies from taking money before they have actually completed a service. These companies charged an assortment of fees to their customers before meeting the terms, and some consumers paid $89.99 a month to potentially clean up their credit history.
On top of paying the financial reimbursements, the companies will be prohibited from selling credit repair services for at least five years. A complete overview of the complaints against the companies is available on the CFPB’s website.