West Virginia reaps $6.4M in auto loan company settlement

The settlement with attorneys general in 33 states and the District of Columbia totaled $550 million, according to a news release from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia is getting more than $6.4 million under a multi-state settlement with Santander Consumer USA over claims that it violated consumer protection laws with predatory auto loans, officials said Tuesday.

The settlement with attorneys general in 33 states and the District of Columbia totaled $550 million, according to a news release from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. The auto loan financing company was accused of knowingly targeting consumers who were likely to default on its loans.

“Those that violate our consumer protection laws will be held accountable. This settlement should serve as a warning to anyone who seeks to take advantage of vulnerable consumers,” Morrisey said in a statement.

People who defaulted on their loans from the company as of last year will be allowed to keep their car if it has not been dispossessed, and they are eligible for waivers for unpaid balances, according to the settlement.

West Virginia’s chunk of the settlement includes around $6 million in canceled debt, $500,000 in restitution and $30,000 to the state.

Santander Consumer USA issued a statement saying it is happy to put the matter behind it.