Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) penalized Hyundai Capital America (Hyundai) for repeatedly providing inaccurate information to nationwide credit reporting companies and failing to take proper measures to address inaccurate information once it was identified between 2016 and 2020. The CFPB found that Hyundai used manual and outdated systems, processes, and procedures to furnish credit reporting information—which led to widespread inaccuracies—and resulted in negative inaccurate information being placed on consumers’ credit reports through no fault of their own.
In total, the CFPB found that Hyundai furnished inaccurate information in more than 8.7 million instances on more than 2.2 million consumer accounts during that period. The order requires Hyundai to take steps to prevent future violations and to pay more than $19 million, including $13.2 million in redress to affected consumers who were inaccurately reported as delinquent and a $6 million civil money penalty, making this the CFPB’s largest Fair Credit Reporting Act case against an auto servicer.
“Hyundai illegally tarnished credit reports for millions of borrowers, including by falsely reporting them to credit reporting companies as being delinquent on their loans and leases,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “Loan servicers must be complete and accurate when furnishing information that affects a borrower’s credit report.”
Hyundai Motor Group is a major global automaker based in Seoul, South Korea. Its U.S. automotive finance subsidiary, Hyundai Capital America, purchases and services retail installment contracts and vehicle leases originated by 1,600 Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis dealerships. As one of the largest furnishers of automotive finance account information in the U.S., Hyundai’s credit reporting practices have a major impact on the credit scores of millions of Americans. The company currently services approximately 1.7 million customers through its retail loans and leases and has over $45 billion of reported assets as of 2021.
The CFPB received many consumer complaints that Hyundai inaccurately reported account information to credit reporting companies. In its investigation, the CFPB found that Hyundai repeatedly provided inaccurate credit report information about consumer payments on loans and leases that Hyundai purchased and serviced. In many cases, Hyundai knew it was providing inaccurate information and failed to take reasonable measures to address the inaccuracies. Hyundai identified many of the issues causing these inaccuracies in its internal audits, but still took years to address the problems.
When Hyundai furnished inaccurate negative consumer information, it sometimes led to lower credit scores and may have negatively affected consumers’ access to credit. The CFPB concluded that Hyundai’s use of ineffective manual processes and systems to furnish consumer information was unfair in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA).
Between January 2016 and March 2020, the CFPB also found Hyundai violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and its implementing regulation, Regulation V, by:
- Failing to report complete and accurate loan and lease account information: Hyundai repeatedly did not take steps to promptly update and correct information it furnished to credit reporting companies that it determined was not complete or accurate, and continued to furnish this inaccurate and incomplete information.
- Failing to provide date of first delinquency information when required: FCRA requires data furnishers to provide credit reporting companies the date of delinquency for when a delinquent account is being charged off or placed for collections. Hyundai failed to report a date of delinquency for many consumers that were more than 90 days delinquent.
- Failing to modify or delete information when required: Hyundai’s furnishing system often overrode manual corrections made by employees in responding to consumer disputes. The furnishing system would provide monthly updates to credit reporting companies that reintroduced the data error after it had been disputed and corrected.
- Failing to have reasonable identity theft procedures: FCRA requires furnishers to respond to any notifications from credit reporting companies about furnished information that is the result of identity theft. Hyundai failed to establish reasonable identity theft and related blocking procedures to respond to identity theft notifications, and continued to report such information that should have been blocked on a consumer’s report.
- Failing to have reasonable accuracy and integrity policies and procedures: Regulation V requires furnishers to maintain written policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of the information furnished. Hyundai failed to review and update its credit reporting furnishing policies and procedures from 2010 to 2017. It was not until 2021 that the company finally updated some of its credit reporting policies and procedures.
The CFPB was created by the Consumer Financial Protection Act, and has the authority to take action against institutions violating consumer financial laws, including engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices and violating FCRA, which protects consumers from the transmission of inaccurate information about them. Today’s order requires Hyundai to:
- Pay $13.2 million in compensation to current and former customers: As identified by the CFPB, consumers about whom Hyundai, after determining the information was inaccurate, furnished to credit reporting companies inaccurate information that the consumers were 30 or more days past due on an automobile retail installment contract or lease will receive compensation for the harm incurred.
- Pay a $6 million fine: Hyundai will pay a civil money penalty to the CFPB, which will be paid towards the victims relief fund. This fund provides compensation to consumers harmed by violations of federal consumer financial protection law.
- Take steps to correct all inaccurate account information: Hyundai will review all account files that it currently furnishes to credit reporting companies and correct all inaccuracies and errors described in the order and send updated information to the credit reporting companies. Hyundai will also examine its monthly furnishing data processes for the errors described in the order, take reasonable steps to identify such errors, and resolve identified errors before providing the data to any credit reporting company.
- Address procedures identifying and correcting inaccurate information: Hyundai will establish and implement written policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of the information relating to consumers that it furnishes to a credit reporting company. Hyundai must specifically include processes for identifying and promptly correcting systemic errors in Hyundai’s credit report furnishing system. Hyundai will also examine current policies and procedures and implement changes to the practices of its employees to ensure that its employees properly route, categorize, investigate, and respond to all direct and indirect credit reporting disputes.