Herring, CFPB reach settlement with Virginia pawnbroker
Attorney General Mark Herring and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray announced today that their agencies have reached a settlement with Woodbridge Coins and Jewelry Exchange, Inc. d/b/a Woodbridge Gold & Pawn to provide $56,763.60 in refunds to approximately 1,000 consumers as a result of the company’s alleged violations of the Virginia statutes applicable to pawnbrokers, the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, and the federal Truth-in-Lending Act.
“In recent years we have seen a rash of pawn brokers around Virginia skirting laws and overcharging consumers,” said Attorney General Herring. “If you’re considering using a pawn shop or other small dollar loan, you should always closely review the terms and know your rights before signing anything that might result in even more money coming out of your pocket.”
“Consumers are entitled to know the actual annual cost of a loan,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Woodbridge Gold & Pawn deceived consumers about those costs, and with today’s action we are securing relief for consumers who were wronged.”
For several years, Woodbridge Pawn has operated as a pawnbroker out of its store on Jefferson Davis Highway in Woodbridge, Virginia. In connection with its business, the company issues closed-end loans and takes possession of consumer’s personal property as security for its loans.
In the Complaint filed simultaneously with the proposed settlement, the Attorney General alleges that, during the period from at least March 27, 2015 through March 26, 2016, Woodbridge Pawn charged interest and fees beyond those permitted by the Virginia pawnbroker statutes, in the following manner:
- Charging interest at the monthly rate of seven-percent on loans of $100, where only interest at the rate of five-percent is allowed;
- Charging maintenance of electronic records fees of three-percent on all of its loans, including all loans greater than $100, when only a fee of $3 was permitted on such loans;
- Charging a monthly “clerical fee” on all of its loans that varied in amount with the size of the loan, including, by way of example, a clerical fee of $5 on loans of $100, a clerical fee of $11 on loans of $300, and a clerical fee of $20 on loans of $500.
The settlement includes the following key terms relating to the loans Woodbridge Pawn made during the Relevant Period:
- Woodbridge Pawn agrees to make refunds totaling $56,763.60 to approximately 1,000 borrowers representing the amounts those borrowers paid beyond what Virginia’s pawnbroker statutes allow.
- Woodbridge Pawn agrees to pay the Attorney General $6,225.75 for reimbursement of the Commonwealth’s reasonable expenses, costs and attorney’s fees.
- A permanent injunction preventing Woodbridge Pawn from violating the Virginia statutes applicable to pawnbrokers, and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
Individual consumers who received loans from Woodbridge Pawn during the Relevant Period and who have questions about the settlement may contact the company directly at (703) 491-3333.
The civil settlement is in the form of a Stipulated Final Judgment and Order that has been filed with the U.S. District Court, Alexandria Division, for approval.