Hide Your Kicks, Hide Your Wife: Nissan's Credit Branch in Hot Water Over Illegal Repossessions

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Nissan’s credit arm landed in some big trouble this week. It turned out that there are literally some rules around repossessing a car from a consumer. Apparently Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. didn’t read those rules, and now they’ll have to pony up.

NMAC is a subsidiary Nissan North America Inc., and is the primary conduit for the company’s auto loans. According to Automotive News, in 2018 the company carried 382,000 new auto loans, 299,000 new leases, and serviced an overall block of $49.3 billion.

While that’s a pretty impressive book of business, it’d be even more impressive if NMAC followed the rules in its administration. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found this week that between 2013 and 2019, NMAC wrongfully repossessed hundreds of vehicles from consumers. The vehicles in question did not qualify for a legal repossession, because consumers had made payments or taken other actions to keep their loan or lease in sufficient standing to prevent repossession. Namely among these actions were lowering the loan’s delinquency to less than 60 days. That figure was the established timeline in NMAC’s paperwork.

But wait, there’s more! Nissan held the personal property of the consumers in the repossessed vehicles until they paid a storage fee. The company also required customers to pay by phone, and “deprived consumers paying by phone of the ability to select payment options with significantly lower fees.”

Think that’s enough evidence of wrongdoing? Well, there’s more. Among a broader group of loans (thousands), when NMAC agreed to modify loan payments, it used agreements and written confirmations which included shady language. The language in question “created the net misimpression that consumers could not file for bankruptcy.”

Nissan absolutely denies any wrongdoing in the matter after seeing the information brought by the CFPB. However, they’re willing to settle and said they take assertions from the CFPB seriously. NMAC shares a “commitment to fair practices for all our consumers.” The cost of their newfound commitment? A small fine of $4 million.

[Image: Nissan]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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3 of 13 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Oct 16, 2020

    True fact: People who utilize beverage coasters at home have higher credit ratings.

  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on Oct 16, 2020

    Bad press is bad press. Nissan is on a roll. For punitive damages require Nissan to manufacture the IDx.

  • Jeff Self driving cars are not ready for prime time.
  • Lichtronamo Watch as the non-us based automakers shift more production to Mexico in the future.
  • 28-Cars-Later " Electrek recently dug around in Tesla’s online parts catalog and found that the windshield costs a whopping $1,900 to replace.To be fair, that’s around what a Mercedes S-Class or Rivian windshield costs, but the Tesla’s glass is unique because of its shape. It’s also worth noting that most insurance plans have glass replacement options that can make the repair a low- or zero-cost issue. "Now I understand why my insurance is so high despite no claims for years and about 7,500 annual miles between three cars.
  • AMcA My theory is that that when the Big 3 gave away the store to the UAW in the last contract, there was a side deal in which the UAW promised to go after the non-organized transplant plants. Even the UAW understands that if the wage differential gets too high it's gonna kill the golden goose.
  • MKizzy Why else does range matter? Because in the EV advocate's dream scenario of a post-ICE future, the average multi-car household will find itself with more EVs in their garages and driveways than places to plug them in or the capacity to charge then all at once without significant electrical upgrades. Unless each vehicle has enough range to allow for multiple days without plugging in, fighting over charging access in multi-EV households will be right up there with finances for causes of domestic strife.