A Lake Worth company that promised to lower car payments delivered something else — a scam that took money from consumers struggling to pay debts, federal officials said.
Now hundreds of refund checks are going out, the Federal Trade Commission said this week.
Regency Financial Services and principal Ivan Levy perpetrated a “vehicle loan assistance relief services scam,” the FTC charged. Websites promised beleaguered drivers could “lower your payments as much as 50% regardless of your credit score” and claimed consumers saved an average of $293 per month, according to an FTC complaint.
Instead customers paid up-front fees, often $499 in a lump sum or installments, relying on promises the company would prevent creditors from repossessing their vehicles and substantially reduce their interest rate, officials said. Regency typically provided “valueless referrals and advice,” according to the complaint alleging unfair or deceptive trade practices.
The FTC said it is mailing 288 checks totaling more than $109,000 to people who paid an up-front fee. Average amount: $380.
A settlement that produced the money also banned the defendants from telemarketing and selling debt relief products or services. Attempts to seek comment from defendants through an attorney were not successful.
Affected consumers should deposit or cash checks within 60 days, federal officials said, and if they have questions, they should contact the FTC’s refund administrator, Rust Consulting Inc., at 866-591-7249.