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Notice

First American Title Lending of Georgia, LLC; 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. 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.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before March 3, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Interested parties may file a comment at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/​ftc/​firstamericanlendingconsent/​ online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write “First American Title Lending of Georgia, LLC—Consent Agreement; File No. 1323264” on your comment and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/​ftc/​firstamericanlendingconsent/​ by following the instructions on the web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “First American Title Lending of Georgia, LLC—Consent Agreement; File No. 1323264” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Helen Wong, Bureau of Consumer Protection, (202) 326-3779, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 2.34, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing 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 January 30, 2015), on the World Wide Web, at http://www.ftc.gov/​os/​actions.shtm.

You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your comment, we must receive it on or before March 3, 2015. Write “First American Title Lending of Georgia, LLC—Consent Agreement; File No. 1323264” on your comment. Your comment—including your name and your state—will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including, to the extent practicable, on the public Commission Web site, at http://www.ftc.gov/​os/​publiccomments.shtm. As a matter of discretion, the Commission tries to remove individuals' home contact information from comments before placing them on the Commission Web site.

Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive personal information, like anyone's Social Security number, date of birth, driver's license number or other state identification number or foreign country equivalent, passport number, financial account number, or credit or debit card number. You are also solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive health information, like medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, do not include any “[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information which . . . is privileged or confidential,” as discussed in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). In particular, do not include competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing processes, or customer names.

If you want the Commission to give your comment confidential treatment, you must file it in paper form, with a request for confidential treatment, and you have to follow the procedure explained in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).[1] Your comment will be kept confidential only if the FTC General Counsel, in his or her sole discretion, grants your request in accordance with the law and the public interest.

Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/​ftc/​firstamericanlendingconsent/​ by following the instructions on the web-based form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/​#!home, you also may file a comment through that Web site.

If you file your comment on paper, write “First American Title Lending of Georgia, LLC—Consent Agreement; File No. 1323264” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.

Visit the Commission Web site at http://www.ftc.gov to read this Notice and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws that the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that it receives on or before March 3, 2015. You can find more information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, in the Commission's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/​ftc/​privacy.htm.

Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public Comment

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement containing a consent order from First American Title Lending of Georgia, LLC, or respondent. The proposed consent Start Printed Page 6718order 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 FTC will again review the agreement and the comments received, and will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement and take appropriate action or make final the agreement's proposed order.

The respondent is a car title loan company. According to the FTC complaint, respondent has advertised its loans with advertisements that broadly state that the title loans are available for “0% Interest!” Sometimes, but not always, these advertisements state in much smaller print, “Certain terms and conditions may apply” or “Some restrictions apply.” However, respondent's advertisements fail to disclose that unless the loan is completely repaid in 30 days, the 0% offer does not apply and there is a significant finance charge. If a consumer does not repay the loan in full in 30 days, he or she would then be required to pay the finance charge for the first 30 days in addition to any additional finance charges incurred on day 31 (to start the second 30-day period). The advertisements also fail to disclose the amount of the finance charge after expiration of the 30-day introductory period. The proposed complaint alleges that these material omissions constitute a deceptive act or practice under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

The Commission is also alleging a Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) violation against respondent. Some advertisements displayed “9.5%” next to the claim of “0% interest.” First American allegedly violated TILA by advertising a finance rate (9.5%), but failing to state the rate as an APR.

The proposed order is designed to prevent the respondent from engaging in similar deceptive practices, or violating TILA, in the future. Part I prohibits the respondent from stating an introductory or temporary finance charge without disclosing, clearly and conspicuously, the finance charge after the introductory or temporary period ends; or the full effect of failing to make a timely complete repayment of the loan within the introductory or temporary time period. Respondent must further disclose all qualifying terms associated with obtaining the loan at its advertised rate, including but not limited to, minimum loan requirements, new customer requirements, and any other material term; all costs associated with obtaining the loan, including but not limited to transaction costs, registration costs or fees, recording costs or fees, and title fees. The respondent also cannot misrepresent any other material fact about the terms of the loan.

Part II of the proposed order prohibits the respondent, in connection with any advertisement to promote, directly or indirectly, any extension of consumer credit in or affecting commerce, from expressly or by implication stating the amount or percentage of 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 Section 144 of TILA, 15 U.S.C. 1664, and Section 1026.24(c) of Regulation Z, including but not limited to the amount of percentage or the down payment; the terms of repayment; and the annual percentage rate, using that term or the abbreviation “APR.” If the annual percentage rate or APR may be increased after the consummation of the credit transaction, that fact must also be disclosed. Moreover, the respondent cannot state a rate of finance charge without stating the rate as an “annual percentage rate” using that term or the abbreviation “APR,” as required by Section 144 of the TILA, 15 U.S.C. 1664, and Section 1026.24(c) of Regulation Z; or fail to comply in any other respect with the TILA, 15 US.C. §§ 1601-1667, as amended, and its implementing Regulation Z, 12 CFR 1026 as amended.

Parts III through VII of the proposed order are reporting and compliance provisions. Part III is an order distribution provision that requires respondent to provide the order to current and future principals, officers, directors, and managers and to all current employees, agents, and representatives having responsibilities with respect to the advertisement of consumer credit. Part IV of the proposed order requires respondent to maintain and upon request make available to the Commission certain compliance-related records, including all advertisements and also consumer complaints and records that demonstrate compliance with the proposed order for a period of five years. Part V requires respondent to notify the Commission of corporate changes that may affect compliance obligations within 30 days of such a change. Part VI requires respondent to submit a compliance report to the Commission 60 days after entry of the order, and also additional compliance reports within 10 business days of a written request by the Commission. Part VII “sunsets” the order after 20 years, with certain exceptions.

The purpose of this analysis is to aid public comment on the proposed order. It is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the complaint or proposed order, or to modify in any way the proposed order's terms.

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By direction of the Commission.

Donald S. Clark,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  In particular, the written request for confidential treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

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[FR Doc. 2015-02373 Filed 2-5-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6750-01-P