In 2019 the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CFPB) filed suit against the popular company for credit repair, Lexington Law. Parties named in the suit are Progrexion Marketing, PGX Holdings, Progrexion Teleservices, Efolks, CreditRepair.com, John C. Heath Attorney at Law, and Lexington Law.
This has been a difficult story to follow since Lexington Law and others have asked to have a number of documents sealed from public view.
The CFPB just filed a proposed amended complaint that names some of the affiliate marketing partners involved in the credit repair allegations.
In the amended complaint the CFPB introduces the suit by saying the following.
“1. The Bureau brings this action against Defendants alleging deceptive acts and practices in violation of sections 1031 and 1036 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA), 12 U.S.C. §§ 5531 and 5536, and deceptive and abusive telemarketing acts or practices in violation of the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 6101 et seq., and its implementing rule, the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), 16 C.F.R. §§ 310.3 and 310.4.
2. Defendants operate two of the largest credit repair companies in the country, Lexington Law and CreditRepair.com. They market their services through various media, including online and over the telephone, offering to help consumers remove negative information from their credit reports and improve their credit scores. Consumers sign up for Defendants’ credit repair services and pay hundreds of dollars in fees seeking to improve their credit scores and get better access to credit products, on better terms.
3. To generate credit repair sales, Defendants rely on a network of marketing affiliates who advertise a variety of products and services, often related to consumer credit products. As alleged below, Progrexion’s marketing affiliates have used deceptive, bait advertising to generate referrals to Lexington Law’s credit repair service. For example, one of Progrexion’s most productive marketing affiliates falsely advertised that it “guarantee[d] ANYONE a 0-3.5% Down Home Loan no matter how bad their Credit is when we start!” In reality, the affiliate did not provide any loans at all. Interested consumers were told that, to participate in the (non-existent) loan program, they had to sign up with Lexington Law. The Progrexion Defendants paid this marketing affiliate for each credit repair sale that resulted from its efforts, despite knowing that it engaged in deceptive practices.
4. Defendants also violated the law in another way. Federal law forbids requesting or receiving payment upfront for certain telemarketed credit repair services; if a company offers services represented to remove derogatory information from, or improve, a person’s credit history, credit record, or credit rating, fees can only be collected after a certain time period has elapsed and it has been demonstrated that the promised results have been achieved. As alleged below, Defendants charged consumers when they signed up for the service and on a monthly basis thereafter, without waiting the prescribed period of time and demonstrating that the promised results were achieved, in violation of the federal ban on this type of upfront fee.
5. The Bureau brings this action to stop Defendants from engaging in ongoing, unlawful practices that harm consumers nationwide by charging consumers unlawful advance fees in connection with credit repair services and by marketing and telemarketing those services through deceptive representations, and to obtain relief for consumers who were harmed by these practices.
Additional Entities Disclosed
In the proposed document to be filed, the CFPB updated the suit with this section.
“The Relevant Hotswap Partners
109. Although Progrexion uses many Hotswap Partners, for purposes of seeking relief for deceptive practices in this lawsuit, the following five affiliates comprise the “Relevant Hotswap Partners”:
a. HOPE, which did business as The HOPE Program, Help Renters, Homes with HOPE, and Hope to Own;
b. OLP.com, Inc., which did business as One Loan Place and Rocket Daddy;
c. Ascent Mortgage Resource Group, which did business as Lead Virtue, First Access Rent-to-Own, First Access Mortgage, United Rent-to-Own, Ascent Rent-to-Own, Fileforgrants.net, American Rent-to-Own, Rent to Own Homes, and Hope Resources;
d. Easyhomeownership.net, which did business as Easy Home Ownership and Renttoownassistance.com; and
e. YHTBACorp.,which did business as Rent-2-own.house, RentThen Own Homes, and Renttoown.house.”