More Consumers Are Sueing Miami Auto Lender Over Debt Cancellation Product
Doubling her loan amount is not what Christina Resuello expected when she signed up for a $ 5,000 line of credit with Marlin Financial. But that’s what happened, she said, because of a deceitful debt cancellation proceeds that the company included in its agreement.
“I was like, ‘I’m not paying for this. I want to do this again, “” she said. “I don’t want to pay that kind of money back.”
The Boca Raton resident is one of a handful of consumers across the state who claim to have been duped by Miami-based Marlin.
Resuello, like others, went to Marlin for a loan against her car. Marlin’s website says it offers title loans for cars and boats – even if Florida Office of Financial Regulation records show it is not authorized to issue securities lending. Instead, his product is actually a longer term loan that uses the borrower’s car as collateral.
According to Allison Friedman, a lawyer representing Marlin, the debt cancellation product at the heart of most litigation is an optional add-on. which clears any unpaid debt left on the loan if the car is totaled. And it’s prorated.
Borrowers claim that the confusing product, which they couldn’t escape, ended up doubling the principal balance to pay off.
The Better Business Bureau received 17 complaints about the company for the past three years. Often times, the BBB said on Marlin’s page, complaints follow a particular pattern:
“Consumers claim to have taken out a loan from Marlin Financial, and when they went to repay their loan a few months later, their loan had increased dramatically,” the site said, sometimes doubling the loan balance.
Problems with Marlin in Tampa Bay emerged in June when two Tampa residents alleged that Marlin had marketed debt cancellation as insurance. The $ 24,500 total of two loans they took out through Marlin, according to the complaint, comes with unexpected additional debt forgiveness proceeds of $ 36,000.
They aren’t the only ones chasing Marlin.
Friedman, Marlin’s lawyer, did not say how many court cases she was involved with her client. But research in the state’s 10 most populous counties, as well as Pasco County, shows eight lawsuits involving Marlin. Three are local and involve disputes over the debt forgiveness proceeds. These are the only cases where Marlin is the defendant.
In one case, Isaiah Burgman, a resident of Temple Terrace, borrowed $ 10,000 from Marlin against his 2015 Jaguar. Although he repeatedly said he did not want the debt forgiveness proceeds, according to the complaint, he accepted the allegedly optional product after “urging” Marlin.
“Marlin requires in practice that every loan client accepts the cancellation of their debt as a condition of obtaining a loan,” says the complaint filed on July 31.
Friedman insists that customers are not required to pay for chargebacks. The only time Marlin requires it, she says, is if a borrower can’t prove they’re insured for the year.
“If you can’t provide proof of insurance for the year, they would like you to write off the debt,” she said. If the client doesn’t like it, “You don’t have to take a loan from them.”
Times principal researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo on Twitter.