Seattle-based payday lender Moneytree hit with over $500,000 in fines, refunds

SEATTLE (AP) — Federal regulators have ordered a Seattle-based payday lender to pay more than $500,000 in fines and refunds in connection with allegations of deceptive advertising and collection practices.

The Seattle Times reports ( ) the penalties characterized by Moneytree as inadvertent mistakes were imposed as part of a consent order announced last week by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The agency found Moneytree had violated federal law with misleading online ads about how much its branches would charge customers to cash income tax-refund checks.

Moneytree also was found to have sent baseless debt-collection letters that threatened to repossess the cars and trucks of customers who were delinquent on loans.

Moneytree said it had self-reported two violations and corrected the third after a customer complaint.

In addition to Washington, Moneytree operates in California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and British Columbia.