Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. will pay $3 million in compensation and penalties in a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, officials announced. The agreement ends an investigation into suspected violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that began in 2016.
NMAC will create a $2.9 million fund from which 113 complainants will be compensated for fees and other costs arising from repossessions and lease terminations. The captive owes an additional $62,000 in fines to the federal government.
Since 2003, the SCRA has required creditors to obtain a court order for the repossession of a vehicle belonging to an active military member if a deposit or payment was made before they entered service. It also allows those who are activated or relocated to terminate leases early without penalty.
“The SCRA exists to offer protections to our military service members and to minimize undue financial burdens associated with deployments and other instances where our military servicemembers experience a profound and prolonged lifestyle change,” said U.S. Attorney Don Cochran, for the Middle District of Tennessee. “We will aggressively hold those institutions and businesses accountable who are required to comply with the Act. Our military deserves no less.”
In a statement to news outlets, NMAC executives wrote, “NMAC denies any wrongdoing but has agreed to settle with the Department of Justice in the best interest for all parties. NMAC worked closely with the DOJ to reach the settlement agreement and to provide appropriate relief for affected service members.”
Wells Fargo and CitiFinancial have agreed to similar settlements.
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