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Anderson Payday Loans; Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment

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AGENCY:

Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION:

Proposed Consent Agreement.

SUMMARY:

The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.

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DATES:

Comments must be received on or before March 31, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Interested parties are invited to submit written comments. Comments should refer to “Anderson Payday Loans, File No. 072 3212,” to facilitate the organization of comments. A comment filed in paper form should include this reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission/Office of the Secretary, Room 135-H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Comments containing confidential material must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled “Confidential,” and must comply with Commission Rule 4.9(c). 16 CFR 4.9(c) (2005).1 The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions. Comments that do not contain any nonpublic information may instead be filed in electronic form by following the instructions on the web-based form at http://secure.commentworks.com/​ftc-AndersonPaydayLoans. To ensure that the Commission considers an electronic comment, you must file it on that web-based form.

The FTC Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. All timely and responsive public comments, whether filed in paper or electronic form, will be considered by the Commission, and will be available to the public on the FTC website, to the extent practicable, at www.ftc.gov. As a matter of discretion, the FTC makes every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments it receives before placing those comments on the FTC website. More information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/​ftc/​privacy.htm.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Cara Peterson or Quisaira Whitney, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20580, (202) 326-3224.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 38 Stat. 721, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and § 2.34 of the Commission Rules of Practice, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for February 27, 2008), on the World Wide Web, at http://www.ftc.gov/​os/​2008/​02/​index.htm. A paper copy can be obtained from the FTC Public Reference Room, Room 130-H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20580, either in person or by calling (202) 326-2222.

Public comments are invited, and may be filed with the Commission in either paper or electronic form. All comments should be filed as prescribed in the ADDRESSES section above, and must be received on or before the date specified in the DATES section.

Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order to Aid Public Comment

The Federal Trade Commission has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement containing a consent order from Anderson Payday Loans (“respondent”).

The proposed consent order has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days for receipt of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After thirty (30) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received, and will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement or make final the agreement’s proposed order.

Respondent engaged in practices that violate Section 144 of the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1664, and Section 226.24(c) of its implementing Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. § 226.24(c). Respondent disseminated payday loan advertisements on the Internet stating the number of payments or period of repayment, or the amount of a finance charge, as terms for obtaining a payday loan. These advertisements failed, however, to disclose the “annual percentage rate” or “APR” for these loans as required by TILA and its implementing Regulation Z.

TILA and Regulation Z require that advertisers, including payday loan advertisers, disclose APRs on their loans to assist consumers in comparison shopping. The respondent’s failure to disclose the APR for its advertised payday loans undermined consumers’ ability to compare these loans to those offered by other payday lenders. The respondent’s failure to disclose the APR for its advertised payday loans also frustrated consumers’ ability to compare these loans to alternative forms of credit. Through its law enforcement actions the Commission intends to promote compliance with the APR disclosure requirements of TILA and Regulation Z, thereby promoting comparison shopping relating to payday loans.

The proposed consent order contains provisions designed to prevent respondent from failing to make disclosures required by TILA and Regulation Z in the future.

Part I.A. of the proposed order prohibits respondent, in connection with any advertisement of consumer credit, from stating the amount or percentage of any down payment, the number of payments or period of repayment, the amount of any payment, or the amount of any finance charge, without disclosing clearly and conspicuously all of the terms required by TILA and Regulation Z, including the amount or percentage of the down payment, the terms of repayment, and the annual percentage rate, using that term or the abbreviation “APR.”

Part I.B. of the proposed order prohibits respondent from stating a rate of finance charge without stating the rate as an “annual percentage rate” or the abbreviation “APR.”

Part I.C. of the proposed order prohibits respondent from failing to comply in any other respect with TILA or Regulation Z.

Part II of the proposed order contains a document retention requirement, the purpose of which is to ensure compliance with the proposed order. It requires that respondent maintain all records that will demonstrate compliance with the proposed order.

Part III of the proposed order requires respondent to distribute copies of the order to various principals, officers, directors, and managers, and all current and future employees, agents and representatives having responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of the order.

Part IV of the proposed order requires respondent to notify the Commission of any changes in its corporate structure Start Printed Page 11923that might affect compliance with the order.

Part V of the proposed order requires respondent to file with the Commission one or more reports detailing compliance with the order.

Part VI of the proposed order is a “sunset” provision, dictating the conditions under which the order will terminate twenty years from the date it is issued or twenty years after a complaint is filed in federal court, by either the United States or the FTC, alleging any violation of the order.

The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed order, and it is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the agreement and proposed order or to modify in any way their terms.

By direction of the Commission.

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Donald S. Clark,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1. The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the Commission’s General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the public interest. See Commission Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

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[FR Doc. E8-4303 Filed 3-4-08: 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6750-01-S