Hyundai Faces Millions in Fines for Ruining Credit Scores

Hyundai Capital America is a financial institution that serves Hyundai, Kia and Genesis customers.

Hyundai Capital America is a financial institution that serves Hyundai, Kia and Genesis customers.
photo: Paul Hennessy (Getty Images)

the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has found Hyundai CapitalAmerica millions of dollars for giving credit-reporting agencies wrong information that lowered customer credit scoresand incorrectly reported some loans and leases as “delinquent.”

The CFPB imposed a civil fine of $6 million, and ordered the Hyundai affiliate to pay another $13.2 million in restoration to customers, according to Reuters. Hyundai Capital America agreed to pay the sum totaling $19.2 million, in what the CFPB says could be the largest case “against an auto servicer under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.”

Hyundai Capital America serves 1.7 million US drivers across the entire portfolio of Hyundai Motor Group: Hyundai, Kia and Genesis. All three carmakers have finance branches under Hyundai Capital America. But the total number of drivers is less than its accounts held, and much less than the number of incorrect reports Hyundai Capital gave consumer credit agencies.

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The CFPB said Hyundai Capital provided inaccurate reports “8.7 million times across 2.2 million accounts from January 2016 to March 2020.” And this inaccurate information ended up reflecting badly on the accounts, resulting in lower credit scores for some customers and derogatory marks of delinquency for others. (Why can’t it ever be the other way around, by the way? Why not give wrong information that makes crappy credit reports look stellar to lenders and agencies?)

In any case, the CFPB says that Hyundai Capital knew that its credit-reporting practices from “systemic” issues because the lender conducted its own internal audits. It can’t really claim ignorance, then. But CFPB adds that Hyundai Capital either didn’t address the problems in time, or at all. Presumably, that’s why the civil fine and the restorations summed up to a large amount of money. Again, $19.2 million, which Hyundai Capital agreed to share, though it’s unclear from reports if Hyundai appealed the fine.

The Hyundai lender is based in Irvine, California; its customer portfolio is worth $45 billion, according to Reuters. For its part, Hyundai Capital America said it will be launching an exhaustive review of its credit-reporting practices. The lender went on to say that it’s committed to “timely, accurate, high-quality service and care.” Well, I guess it must be a new commitment, applicable to loans and leases labeled as satisfactory since around March 2020 or so.

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