Public Notices and Press Releases

Court Blocks Mariner Finance Dismissal, Bolsters NJ’s Fight Against Hidden Loan Charges

Federal Court Denies Dismissal of Mariner Finance Suit, Upholding States’ Right to Challenge Deceptive Lending Practices

Trenton, NJ – New Jersey's Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin confirmed a major advancement in a collaborative legal action involving several states against Mariner Finance, a Wall Street-backed lending company. The lawsuit, which includes Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, and Washington, D.C., alleges that Mariner Finance engaged in deceptive practices, costing consumers millions through hidden add-on charges and interest.

In a recent development, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied Mariner Finance's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. This decision not only maintains the case but also reinforces the power of state attorneys general to collectively pursue claims under the federal Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA). This collective approach aims to conserve resources and expedite the legal process.

The court's 35-page memorandum opinion has moved the lawsuit closer to trial, representing a critical juncture in the states' fight against alleged corporate malfeasance.

Attorney General Platkin stated, “This ruling marks a substantial step forward in the states’ case against a company that sought to evade accountability for allegedly deceiving consumers out of millions of dollars.” 

On behalf of the vulnerable consumers who were victimized in the scams detailed in our complaint, we are grateful that the court rejected Mariner’s efforts to get this case dismissed,” said Cari Fais, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.

The 2022 lawsuit accuses Mariner Finance of routinely charging for unapproved add-on loan products, resulting in significant additional debt for consumers. 

The complaint highlights Mariner Finance's predatory focus on vulnerable consumers with limited credit access, exacerbating their financial challenges. 

Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Mariner incentivized its employees to push these add-ons, tying bonuses to their sales and penalizing management for non-compliance with sales targets.

Key aspects of the court's decision included:

  1. Rejection of Mariner’s argument on improper venue due to the collective lawsuit approach.
  2. Dismissal of the claim that states did not comply with CFPA’s notification requirements to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  3. Refutation of Mariner’s stance that states cannot enforce CFPA’s prohibition on violating federal consumer financial laws.
  4. Denial of the argument that the CFPA’s enforcement authority to states violates the U.S. Constitution.

With nine branches in New Jersey, Mariner Finance faces scrutiny from consumers who believe they have been deceived. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs encourages such individuals to file complaints for further investigation.

The Mariner Finance matter is being handled by Deputy Attorneys General Yale Leber, Zeyad Assaf, Andrew Esoldi and Cathleen O’Donnell in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, under the supervision of Assistant Section Chief Chanel VanDyke and Assistant Attorney General Jennifer S. Schiefelbein, Division of Consumer Affairs Supervising Investigator Jennifer Micco and Investigator Renee Salikram also worked on the case.

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