CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office has announced a $336,000 settlement with Avant, Inc. to resolve allegations the online lender’s business practices violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act.
The settlement involves allegations related to the marketing, promoting and enabling of 90 unsecured consumer loans from April to August 2014 in West Virginia.
“It is our duty to protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices,” Morrisey said in a press release. “We work hard to enforce the state’s consumer protection laws to ensure businesses operate legally and fairly.”
The settlement alleges Avant, which is based in Chicago, led consumers to believe that it was licensed to make loans in West Virginia and do so with higher interest rates than permitted by state law. It also alleges Avant caused unnecessary confusion and misunderstanding, misled consumers as to its affiliation with foreign banks and advertised loans and credit services with intent not to sell the services as advertised.
Morrisey also says Avant operated without registering with the Secretary of State’s Office or complying with the state’s Credit Services Organizations Act.
Avant denies any wrongdoing as a part of the settlement and assures it will comply with the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act.
The settlement requires Avant to pay a civil penalty of $225,000.
The company also must refund and cease to collect at least $111,843.89 in interest and fees associated with the 90 loans. Additionally, all negative credit reports linked to the loans must be deleted.