Nissan “Slapped on the Wrist” with $4M Fine for Illegally Repossessing Vehicles

October 18, 2020

From 2013 and 2019, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., the financial arm of Nissan, illegally repossessed hundreds of vehicles from consumers. In a document filed by The Consumer Protection Bureau on October 13th, 2020, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. is said to have performed four illegal activities:

  • Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. wrongfully repossessed some vehicles despite having agreements in place with consumers to prevent repossession;

  • Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., through repossession agents, kept personal property that was located in consumers’ vehicles at the time of repossession and would not return that personal property until consumers paid a fee for its storage

  • Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., through its service provider, deprived consumers making auto-loan payments by phone of the ability to select a payment option with a significantly lower fee than the one they were charged; and

  • Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. made a deceptive statement in its agreements to extend consumers’ auto loans that appeared to limit consumers’ bankruptcy protections.

Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. admitted no wrongdoing in their settlement agreement with the CFPB, and committed to paying up to $4M in fines to settle the allegations. It is alleged that Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. illegally repossessed vehicles from customers who had made payments to decrease their delinquency status to less than 60 days past due. Nissan’s contract with customers stated they would not repossess vehicles if payments were less than 60 days past due.

Once in possession of the consumer’s vehicle, Nissan then would not release personal property that was within the vehicle to their customer. Nissan also limited the payment options their customers had to retrieve their illegally repossessed vehicles, forcing them to only select a payment option with high fees.

The $4M settlement with The CFPB is a “slap on the wrist” and a “cost of doing business” for Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp.

Similarly to the recent fines levied against BMW for fraudulently reporting sales figures to investors, the automotive industry never ceases to amaze us in how deceptive and unfair it can be. Tack on recent tax fraud allegations against the CEO of Reynold & Reynold, a leading auto dealer software company, and you have three cases of gross negligence and greed in the automotive industry all within the span of a few weeks.

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