California Real Estate Fraud Report

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20
Mar

Judge denies injunction by Nationwide Biweekly Administration against district attorneys

This is a very good article about consumer protection with respect to financial services solicitation, which you can read in its entirety in Courthouse News Service.

Loan Payment Administration and its corporate parent Nationwide Biweekly Administration sued district attorneys in Monterey and Marin counties in October 2014 after a Monterey deputy district attorney said their solicitation letters violated state law. The latter company has a program called the  “Interest Minimizer,” which in their mailed solicitations claims to save customers tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of a loan.

Monterey County Deputy District Attorney John Hubanks, one of the defendants,  said that some customers don’t realize those letters are coming from a third party. He also said that the letters from Nationwide Biweekly Administration do not disclose that it charges a fee for its Interest Minimizer program and that Nationwide employees are trained to “obscure the existence or amount of fees during phone calls.” (per Courthouse News Service).

The plaintiffs asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh for a preliminary injunction against the DAs, saying their free speech rights were violated and that “use of lenders’ name in truthful, non-misleading offers to potential customers does not violate any valid state law.”

Judge Koh, in her ruling, disagreed and denied the motion and wrote  “Nationwide has not shown that the public interest weighs in favor of granting an injunction.”  She found, among other things, that Nationwide did not show a likelihood of success on the merits of its First Amendment claim, and that “an injunction would prohibit local officials from enforcing statutes designed to protect consumers from the risk of fraud.”

 

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