The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it has filed a complaint against multiple parties, accusing them of making loans against future pension payments. The defendants include Future Income Payments, FIP, BuySellAnnuity, Cash Flow Investment Partners and approximately two dozen others.
The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in the Central District of California, alleged that the defendants violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 by misleading consumers into believing that their pension-advance products were not loans subject to interest rates, and were comparable in cost to, or cheaper than, credit card debt.
“In fact, FIP’s product is a loan, and what FIP claims is a ‘discount’ is a form of interest associated with its product,” the lawsuit stated. “In addition, FIP charges consumers the equivalent of rates up to 183 percent, and potentially more, which is far in excess of a high-interest credit card.”
In addition, the Bureau alleged that the defendants violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) by failing to disclose a measure of the cost of credit, expressed as a yearly rate. The agency added that the company “lures in vulnerable consumers, including senior citizens, disabled military veterans and their spouses, who are in need of immediate cash.” The CFPB is seeking injunctive relief, monetary relief and civil penalties.
FIP is headquartered in Irvine, California, and does business throughout the country. The company has already come under scrutiny from 14 different states, with several filing their own lawsuits against FIP. It is also being sued by investors who claim to have lost more than $100 million.
According to Reuters, the company’s customer service number listed its website, which was disconnected when called on Thursday (Sept. 13).