BOSTON (WHDH) - Two finance companies must transfer full ownership of dozens of dogs to Mass. consumers and waive balances totaling more than $126,000 to settle allegations that they illegally leased the pets, officials said.
Nevada-based companies Credova Financial, LLC and Nextep Holdings, LLC violated the Mass. Consumer Protection Act and other state laws by originating and holding leases for hundreds of dogs since as early as 2017 through its subsidiary MyPetFunding, LLC, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Thursday.
Dog leases are illegal in Mass. and Healey says are often an expensive way to purchase a pet.
“Getting a dog can be a significant emotional and financial investment for many families, so when the dog is used as collateral in a lease, the end result can be expensive and heartbreaking,” Healey said. “State law clearly prohibits dog leasing for good reason, and our office will not allow companies to exploit Massachusetts families in this manner. We are pleased to be securing monetary relief for these pet owners.”
In addition to transferring ownership of the dogs to consumers and canceling remaining balances on leases, the companies must also return any amount that they have collected from consumers since Jan. 1, 2021, according to the AG’s office.
The companies also agreed not to originate any new dog leases in Mass. and to pay $50,000 to the state as part of the settlement, the AG’s office added.
The office is continuing to review whether other companies have leased dogs to Massachusetts consumers.
Consumers who have been victims of dog leases are encouraged to contact the AG’s Insurance and Financial Services Division at 1-888-830-6277 or file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago.
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