In 1999, Whirlpool Financial National Bank was ordered to pay over $580 million after a jury determined it defrauded thousands of Alabama consumers.
Whirlpool was sued by 59 victims across the state for its satellite dish financing program scheme. The program sold satellite dishes to victims for $1,100 plus 22 percent interest. The same product could be bought for $199.
Whirlpool used credit card financing instead of traditional financial in this scheme. Under Federal Law, when a lender uses credit card financing, they are not required to disclose the number of payments in writing.
Whirlpool told victims they would make three-year payments when in reality, it would take up to eight years for the balance to be paid.
Whirlpool also violated federal consumer protection law by using credit cards for its financing program. Because there were no repeat transactions, they were not allowed to use that type of financing.
Methvin said he hopes that Whirlpool and other finance companies received the message through this litigation.
“We hope they got the message and will quit preying on the elderly, illiterate and the working poor in Alabama to take their money,” Methvin said.