WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Attorney General of Virginia took action today against Woodbridge Coins and Jewelry Exchange, Inc., doing business as Woodbridge Gold & Pawn, for deceiving consumers about the actual annual costs of its loans. The CFPB and the Virginia Attorney General alleged that the company broke the law by misstating the charges associated with pawn loans. The CFPB and the Virginia Attorney General are filing a complaint and a proposed consent order in federal court. If approved by the court, the proposed order would require Woodbridge Gold & Pawn to pay $79,000 in consumer relief and penalties and end deceptive disclosures.
“Consumers are entitled to know the actual annual cost of a loan,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Woodbridge Gold & Pawn deceived consumers about those costs, and with today’s action we are securing relief for consumers who were wronged.”
“In recent years we have seen a rash of pawn brokers around Virginia skirting laws and overcharging consumers,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. “If you’re considering using a pawn shop or other small dollar loan, you should always closely review the terms and know your rights before signing anything that might result in even more money coming out of your pocket.”
Woodbridge Gold & Pawn is a pawnbroker based in Woodbridge, Va., that issues closed-end loans secured by personal property. The company charges consumers a finance charge on their loans. The charge is made up of four fees: “maintenance,” “interest,” “storage,” and “clerical.” The CFPB found that since at least May 2014, Woodbridge misled its customers about the costs of their loans by disclosing deceptively low annual percentage rates (APRs) that did not reflect all of the fees and charges tacked onto the loans. These inaccurate disclosures in many cases understated the true annual percentage rate by as much as half of the actual cost.
The CFPB and the Virginia Attorney General’s complaint alleges that the company’s actions violated the Truth in Lending Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Virginia’s pawnbroker statutes, and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Under the proposed consent order, the company would be required to pay over $56,000 in restitution to approximately 1,000 consumers, forfeit over $17,000 in ill-gotten gains, and pay $5,000 to the Bureau’s Civil Penalty Fund.
The proposed consent order will have the full force of law only when signed by the presiding judge.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit consumerfinance.gov.