PENNSYLVANIA — Attorney General Michelle Henry this week announced a settlement with Ohio-based Tempoe, LLC, resolving a multi-state investigation into the leasing company’s deceptive tactics to sign up consumers for leases to finance furniture, appliances, and other items.
The multistate investigation revealed that Tempoe’s business practices often misled low-income consumers to believe they were signing installment plans or credit sales — when in reality, consumers were entering lease agreements. The structure of the agreements confused consumers and involved pay-offs of double or triple the purchase price.
Attorney General Henry joins 40 other states and the District of Columbia in the settlement, which will permanently ban Tempoe from engaging in leasing activities; cancel existing leases; and provide approximately $33 million in debt cancellation for impacted consumers nationwide.
“This predatory company used deceptive practices to dupe low-income Pennsylvanians into agreements that resulted in their paying for items two and three times over,” Attorney General Henry said. “Consumers deserve to have all the information about a lease agreement, so they can make informed choices that make the most sense for their families. Consumers should only consider leasing merchandise if they do not qualify for cheaper financing. I’m grateful for the hard work of our Bureau of Consumer Protection which put a stop to Tempoe’s practices and delivered relief to consumers.”
Consumers with existing leases do not need to take any action, as Tempoe has automatically canceled their account(s) as a result of this settlement. Consumers may keep the leased merchandise in their possession without any further financial obligation to Tempoe. Tempoe is also banned from providing negative credit reporting information regarding those who leased items from Tempoe to any consumer reporting agency.
As part of the settlement, Tempoe will pay an additional $2 million — $1 million to the states and jurisdictions participating in this settlement, and $1 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has agreed to a parallel settlement resolving the same alleged misconduct. Pennsylvania will receive $50,000.
The Tempoe settlement agreement was filed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.
Forty-one states and the District of Columbia are participating in the Tempoe settlement. This multistate settlement was led by Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Texas. Additional participating states include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s work on the Tempoe investigation and settlement was led by Assistant Director for Litigation, Jill Ambrose.