On Wednesday, August 29, 2012, Santander Consumer USA received a request for an on-camera interview with Dallas CBS-11 television reporter Jack Fink to discuss “a number of complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.” Because of the detailed nature of our responses to Mr. Fink’s inquiries, we believe this written statement provides more information than what might be recorded during an on-camera interview, and subsequently edited or omitted from a finished on-air segment.
As a highly regulated company in a highly regulated industry, Santander Consumer USA Inc. is committed to meeting the highest standards of legal compliance for our loan origination and servicing business. We follow all applicable consumer lending and collection laws, including, but not limited to, the Truth in Lending Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Bank Secrecy Act, anti-money laundering laws and its associated regulations.
Each year, Santander Consumer USA makes it possible for consumers throughout the United States to purchase the cars and trucks they need to take them to work, school and home. We have programs that provide assistance such as loan forbearance, due date changes and loan modifications, all in an effort to assist customers who are temporarily unable to pay their bills, and need help making their monthly car payments.
We would like to bring to your attention certain relevant facts and circumstances, of which you may be unaware, or about which you may have received incomplete, incorrect or erroneous information.
Regarding the Better Business Bureau (BBB), you state that “nearly 4,000” complaints were submitted against Santander Consumer USA over a three-year period:
- As of September 10, 2012, Santander Consumer USA has an A- rating with the Dallas BBB.
- Customer satisfaction is our highest priority. We have sophisticated systems that monitor and track customer concerns. Of the 4.7 million monthly interactions that we have with our customers, complaints occur in less than 0.01% of these interactions. We make every effort to address and correct mistakes when they do occur and to treat all customers with courtesy and respect.
- Santander Consumer USA serves approximately 1.8 million customers, an estimated 440,000 residing in Texas. The “nearly 4,000” BBB complaints you cite were not all filed by Texas residents. This figure represents a much broader customer base, dispersed across the entire United States. Our records indicate that from Texas residents we received 177 complaints in 2010, 175 in 2011, and 79 thus far in 2012.
- While it is unclear what timeframe you are including in your analysis, our records show that we have responded to all complaints received from the BBB.
- In the matter involving Ms. Paddock, our records indicate that Ms. Paddock is not currently, nor has she ever been, a customer of Santander Consumer USA. Over the course of five months we sent multiple correspondence explaining this to Ms. Paddock, as well as offering our assistance by providing contact information for the lender who in fact owned her account.
- To the extent that you may be interviewing Ms. Paddock, or otherwise utilizing any information that she may provide, please be aware that such conduct would constitute a misrepresentation of the facts. Having now been apprised of these facts, we request that you govern yourselves accordingly.
- In the matter involving Mr. Collum, the customer sent his final payment on February 10, 2011. Santander Consumer USA promptly sent the title to Mr. Collum at his home address via UPS on February 17, 2011. Nearly six months later, on July 29, 2011, Mr. Collum called our service center inquiring about the whereabouts of his title. Between July and December, Mr. Collum had two exchanges with our representatives about his title, and we informed Mr. Collum that while the original title had been sent, he could obtain a duplicate copy using an online service that we offer our customers. We mailed a release of lien letter on March 19, 2012.
Regarding the Texas Attorney General’s office, you state that “500” complaints have been received in its Dallas office.
Santander Consumer USA cannot confirm the number of complaints received because no timeframe was provided and because the Texas Attorney General does not forward every complaint filed to us for a response.
- Our records reflect four complaints received from the Texas Attorney General in 2010, five in 2011 and four in 2012.
Regarding the AG’s civil investigative demand letter:
- Santander Consumer USA received a Civil Investigative Demand from the Texas Attorney General in January of this year and has cooperated fully in responding to the CID. In early May, Santander Consumer USA completed its production of requested information, and there have been no further inquiries to date.
We appreciate the opportunity to respond to your inquiry and to give context to the complaints you mention. We trust that CBS-11 and its reporters will take this response into account in providing a fair, balanced and truthful account of the facts.
Laurie W. Kight
Vice-President of Communications