Mega-carrier agrees to $37 million settlement in lease-to-own suit

The lawsuit argues that C.R. England pressured drivers into entering into a lease-to-own program that allegedly left drivers footing the bill for operating costs while allowing C.R. England to "retain all the money their customers pay for transporting goods."

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C.R. England Inc. recently announced that they have agreed to pay out nearly $38 million to a group of truck drivers who say that they were misled into entering into a lease-to-own program with financial terms that made it tough for them to succeed.

The settlement agreement impacts a class of 17,519 truck drivers who entered into lease agreements with C.R. England or its subsidiary Opportunity Leasing Inc., also known as Horizon Truck Sales, between May 27, 2007 and January 31, 2017.

The lawsuit was initially filed by truck drivers Kenneth McKay and Charles Roberts in 2011. Among various claims about the trucking company, the lawsuit argues that C.R. England pressured drivers into entering into a “driving opportunity” — a lease-to-own program that allegedly left drivers footing the bill for operating costs while allowing C.R. England to “retain all the money their customers pay for transporting goods.” The suit argues that C.R. England provided drivers with misleading information in order to convince them to sign on with the lease program, then made it difficult for drivers who tried to leave.

The suit argued that C.R. England’s actions were in violation of the Utah Truth in Advertising Act, the Utah Business Opportunity Disclosure Act and the Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act.

Under the terms of the agreement, each class action member would receive an average payout of $1000 from the $37.8 million settlement.

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C.J. Krawczyk, co-lead attorney for the class, stated “If this settlement is approved, all Class Members will be eligible to receive four-figure cash payments, relief from collection of disputed outstanding debts for truck operations and driving school tuition, and an opportunity for credit and DAC reporting repair.”

A C.R. England spokesperson said,  “We are proud of the opportunity we offered to enterprising people to start and grow their own businesses, much like our founder, C.R. England, did with just one truck. However, we understand that some were not happy with their experience and we hope that this settlement resolves any lingering concerns.”

The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by either parties involved in the lawsuit.

C.R. England announced the settlement via a press release on April 26. A final court hearing to approve the settlement is scheduled to take place in a federal district court on July 9, 2019.

You can click here to learn more about the class action settlement.

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