Court Denies Mariner Finance’s Motion to Dismiss; Multistate Lawsuit against Predatory Installment Lender Headed to … – Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General

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National Lending Company Charged Pa. Consumers Millions of Dollars for Hidden Add-On Products
HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry announced significant progress in her multistate lawsuit against Mariner Finance, LLC (Mariner Finance) — a Wall Street private equity-owned lender that charged Pennsylvanians millions of dollars in hidden add-on products and interest.
Mariner Finance had filed a motion to dismiss, asking a federal court to dismiss all 15 federal and state law claims in the multistate lawsuit, in which Pennsylvania is joined by New Jersey, Washington, Oregon, and Washington D.C. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently denied Mariner’s motion in its entirety.
The decision reaffirms the ability of state attorneys general to jointly bring Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) claims in one court, conserving states’ resources and potentially expediting the litigation.
“This predatory lending company’s deceptive practices harmed borrowers. The company put its own profits ahead of the interests of customers who trusted Mariner to give them a loan without hidden junk fees,” Attorney General Henry said. “The federal court’s decision is major progress for consumers who were duped of millions of dollars by a company that then attempted to avoid facing the allegations at trial. We still have important work to do, but we are one step closer to getting justice.”
The lawsuit alleges that Mariner Finance charged consumers for hidden add-on products that consumers either didn’t know about or didn’t agree to buy. Consumers believed they entered into agreements to borrow and repay, over time, a certain amount of money. In reality, because of these hidden add-on products, Mariner added hundreds to thousands of dollars to the total amount a consumer owed.
Among other charges, the lawsuit also alleges that Mariner pushed borrowers who missed a payment to refinance their loan, adding hundreds or thousands of dollars to the total cost of repayment.
According to the lawsuit, Mariner charged Pennsylvanians $19.5 million for add-ons from 2015 to 2018 and an additional $8 million in interest.
Read the 35-page opinion. Here are a few key conclusions:
This decision is one of the only cases to date where a court has weighed in on these issues, and it is hoped this well-reasoned opinion will positively impact future efforts by state attorneys general and bank regulators to protect consumers with enforcement actions.
Borrowers who believe they have been subject to these, or other unfair or deceptive practices, are encouraged to file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General. They can also call 800-441-2555 or email scams@attorneygeneral.gov.
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Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA 17120
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