Pattern of Complaint
Golden Valley Lending (GVL) came to BBB’s attention in April 2013. A review of the company was done in May 2018. Complaints on file with BBB state that interest rates are extremely high, in the 200-800% range, and aren’t disclosed to consumers before the initial agreement for the loan. Consumers also state that when asking GVL for documentation (i.e. loan agreement contract, confirmation pages, etc.), it is not provided and that customer service is unhelpful.
A letter was sent to the company requesting they address and explain the above issues. Golden Valley Lending responded with the following:
GVL is a regulated entity. It is regulated by the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake Tribal Consumer Financial Services Regulatory Commission, led by Commissioner David Tomas and supported by attorneys Brenda Johnson, who served as a US Attorney for South Dakota, and Sarah Auchterlonie, who served as an enforcement attorney for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (formerly known as the CFPB). The Commission enforces the HPUL’s Tribal Financial Services Regulatory Ordinance, which incorporates the provisions of federal consumer protection laws; and the Commission audits GVL annually for compliance with this Ordinance. Many of the issues you identified are directly related to federal consumer protection law, and are therefore of paramount concern to GVL’s Legal and Compliance departments, as well as GVL’s regulator.
With regard to your specific concerns:
- The federal consumer protection laws that GVL complies with include the Truth in Lending Act. Which mandates that APRs and other loan information be accurate, and disclosed before the customer signs the document. Customers have access to their payment schedule and their loan documents- to read, save or print – before they sign. Contracts may also be reviewed at any time on GVL’s website, once signed.
- Customers are notified of their loan approval by phone or by email, depending on when the customer chooses to sign the loan agreement.
- Customer service agents undergo rigorous training and are regularly monitored by the GVL’s Quality Assurance department for compliance with scripts and etiquette. Scripts are approved by our Legal and Compliance departments. Agents who fail QA monitoring are subject to further monitoring or disciplinary actions, up to and including termination.
- GVL operates online and does not send hard copies of contracts to customers. Customers sign their contracts electronically, after giving consent to GVL to provide electronic signatures pursuant to the ESIGN Act. Contracts are transmitted electronically to customers when they request a copy, or they are directed to the customer service portal on GVL’s website.