Discriminatory Auto Lending Policies Against People of Color

It’s no secret the United States tails many of the world’s most developed countries in terms of mass
transit and public accessibility. Because of this lack of public transit infrastructure, owning a car is a
necessity for most Americans to maintain their jobs, receive health care, and even go grocery shopping.
Despite this, people of color are significantly less likely to own a vehicle. Black and Latino households are
especially impacted by this disparity with 19% of black households and 13.7% of Latino households living
without a vehicle. Meanwhile, a measly 4.6% of white households have no vehicle. Even when a person
of color can afford to purchase a car, recent evidence shows that auto lending policies across the
country are racially discriminatory, possibly preventing qualified individuals from purchasing a much￾needed vehicle.

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) completed a small-scale study in 2018 throughout the
Commonwealth of Virginia. In the study, eight pairs of testers (one white, one non-white) were sent to
various car dealers in Virginia to show interest in purchasing the same vehicle. These tester pairs were
matched up to be extremely similar – the only notable difference being the non-white tester was always
more financially qualified to purchase a vehicle than the white tester. The study found that 63% of the
time the non-white testers were given worse treatment and a higher financing quote than their white
counterparts. These unfavorable terms would have resulted in an extra $2,351 over the life of the auto
loan for non-white buyers. Such definitive results demonstrate that racial bias and discrimination in the
economy is still alive and well.

If you’re classified as a high credit risk and are being charged a high interest rate on your auto loan despite paying all your bills on time, you could be eligible for financial recovery! Schedule your free
consultation by completing the form or calling (866) 557-1156.

You Deserve Equal Opportunity

Despite these longstanding studies and statistics showing the unscrupulous nature of the auto lending
industry, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has only recently begun to take steps toward holding racist systems accountable for the struggles thousands of people of color experience every day. In 2020, the FTC charged Bronx Honda – a New York-based car dealership managed by Carlo Fittanto – with illegal racial discrimination. According to the complaint, Fittanto directly ordered his employees to charge black and Hispanic buyers higher interest rates than white buyers, charge inflated credit transaction fees, and to markup pricing and fees for people of color. Employees were also allegedly allowed to use derogatory slurs in reference to their non-white clientele. These policies stand in direct opposition to the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

This may be a victory for those buyers impacted by Bronx Honda’s racist auto lending policies, but there
is still plenty of work to be done across the country to root out all discriminatory policy in the entire auto lending industry. In a statement in May 2020, the FTC’s Commissioner Rohit Chopra even called for further action against the auto lending industry to protect minorities from discrimination using the FTC’s decade-old Congressional powers to write rules for the auto industry.

If you’re classified as a high credit risk and are being charged a high interest rate on your auto loan despite paying all your bills on time, you could be eligible for financial recovery! Schedule your free consultation by filling out the form or calling (866) 557-1156 today.

We Fight for Equal Justice for All

The Racial & Economic Justice attorneys of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, refuse to stand by while thousands of Americans are taken advantage of through opaque, unscrupulous practices. With more than 30 years of experience and over $1 billion recovered for our clients, our firm has become nationally recognized for protecting consumer rights across the country. Partners Joe L. Richardson and Elaine S. Kusel are dedicated to shining a spotlight on injustice and righting those wrongs through fact-finding, bridge-building, and persistent litigation.

If you or a loved one are being classified as a high credit risk on an auto loan, despite your on-time bill payments, we want to help you get justice. Contact us by filling out the form or calling to schedule your free consultation today!

Attorneys Handling this Case

Portrait of Joseph L. Richard, Partner of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP
Partner
Joseph L. Richardson

Partner Joseph L. Richardson leads the firm’s Racial & Economic Justice practice. This practice group is designed to be a voice for the community; it is intentionally and uniquely positioned to bring actions against entities and institutions whose policies disproportionately harm people of color in the workplace and the consumer/small business marketplace. The group encompasses areas including employment, civil rights, and consumer and small business class actions.

In addition to litigation, Mr. Richardson also leads the department in advocacy – partnering with leaders (business, community, political, religious and others), and community institutions including schools and nonprofits to shed light on and combat racial and economic inequality. Mr. Richardson also leads the effort to identify meaningful pro bono opportunities for the attorneys of the firm, whose professional pro bono work will be directed in helping individuals and small businesses that are harmed by racist policies.

Mr. Richardson uses his bridgebuilding skills in his legal representation and jury trials, where he has been able to present in a way that allows very different people to find commonality with his clients. He has been involved in employment, class action, and other litigation involving treatment of disadvantaged individuals, and has secured successful verdicts and million-dollar settlements for clients. He has also advocated for churches and non-profit entities.


Portrait of Elaine S. Kusel, Partner of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP
Partner
Elaine S. Kusel

Elaine S. Kusel, who joined the firm in 2008, is a partner of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, and leads the firm’s New Jersey office. As a nationally-renowned class action attorney, she performs a significant role in the firm’s Consumer Fraud Class Action division.

After college, Ms. Kusel spent eight years working in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she eventually served as Legislative Director and Counsel to a Member of Congress serving on the House Commerce Committee.

After graduating from law school, her practice had included fraud litigation, mass torts, and international human rights law. In one notable case, Abdullahi v. Pfizer, Ms. Kusel represented Nigerian children enrolled in a clinical trial by Pfizer without their families’ informed consent. In another, Gutierrez v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., her work helped secure a $203 million-dollar class action verdict for unfair bank overdraft fees. Ms. Kusel helped to lead the effort to uncover the financial fraud of Volkswagen, leading to a $40 million-dollar settlement on behalf of the citizens of the State of Arizona in the emissions fraud scandal.

e a voice for the community; it is intentionally and uniquely positioned to bring actions against entities and institutions whose policies disproportionately harm people of color in the workplace and the consumer/small business marketplace. The group encompasses areas including employment, civil rights, and consumer and small business class actions.

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Have you been the victim of a discriminatory auto lending system?