CFPB Advisory on Placement Practices May Have Broader Market Implications

1 March 2023
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Key takeaways:
  • On February 7, 2023, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”) issued an advisory opinion setting forth an aggressive interpretation that certain digital placement practices in the market for real estate lending and closing services may violate the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act’s (“RESPA”) prohibition on referral fees.
  • The advisory opinion is part of a series of regulatory actions by the CFPB, the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) and the Department of Justice Civil Division directed at business practices that purportedly influence or impede consumer choice, including dark patterns, targeted digital advertising, and practices resulting in false or inaccurate consumer reviews.
  • Companies subject to CFPB or FTC jurisdiction should consider examining their digital practices to assess how their design choices may play a role in presenting or influencing those decisions.