Online Loan Middleman Just As Culpable As the Lenders, Federal Court Rules

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A CFPB lawsuit against a payday loan lead generator survived dismissal last week, despite the US Court in the Central District of California acknowledging the company’s role as a “middle man” in the lending process. T3Leads and several people connected to the company are alleged to have deceived consumers, in part such that “they allowed consumers to be exposed to lenders that could cause them substantial harm.”

The court ruled that T3Leads was a service provider as contemplated by the Consumer Financial Protection Act and is therefore bound to the laws therein. The case will now proceed to discovery.

The full decision can be viewed here

Notably, the court also agreed with the recent opinion of the D.C. Circuit in finding the CFPB’s structure unconstitutional. Nonetheless they did not believe the remedy was to toss this case or prevent the CFPB from carrying out its operations. Instead, they ruled that the CFPB’s director must report to the President of the United States to come into compliance with Article II of the US Constitution. The CFPB has refused to comply and is already appealing the D.C. Circuit’s decision.

The CFPB’s quest for power however, may come at a cost. That’s because President-elect Trump has pledged to repeal and replace the Dodd-Frank Act, the law through which the CFPB’s power is vested.

Despite the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s exemption on vendors that simply provide advertising space, a decision Google made earlier this year to ban all payday lenders could have something to do with their fear of being labeled a middle man and covered service provider.

Last modified: December 18, 2016

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