MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: The Monmouth County Division of Consumer Affairs reviews a lot of interesting cases. Perhaps one of the most interesting and egregious cases of consumer abuse are the cases of “payday Loans”. Read this and let it sink in…

Interest rates in the US are near all-time lows. Right now, collateralized loans are usually under 5% interest rates. High-interest credit card rates might be between 15% - 20%. So, knowing that a high-interest rate is still under 20%, what would you guess one online lender charges its borrowers?

If you guessed 30% you’re wrong. If you guessed 50% you still aren’t close. Even if you guessed 100% you’re way off.  How about OVER 800% ?!*  Yes, you read that correctly. In any state in the USA, this would be considered illegal, and falls under usury laws. In the case of these companies, which are owned by Native American tribes, located on “sovereign nation lands”, enforcement of the law gets much more complicated.  Using this “grey area”, these companies can basically charge whatever they want. So why would anyone borrow money from them? 

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Whether it’s desperation, the inability to borrow elsewhere, or just being naive, borrowers fall victim to interest rates that will have an incredibly hard time ever paying back. To make matters worse, borrowers sign over access to their bank accounts when they borrow, which means the money comes out of their account each payday. The unfortunate victim was in a financial hole when they borrowed the money – and that hole just got a lot deeper.

Government agencies, including the Division of Consumer Affairs, have no power to mitigate the loans once the funds are borrowed. It is our hope, however, that by educating the public to these predatory practices, we can help you avoid being victimized.
As with any business transaction, read all of the fine print! If you have any doubts, consult with an attorney. The old adage still rings true: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

*(From an online website: Interest (Annual Percentage Rate) APRs. APR’s range from 471.7846% to 841.4532% depending on the duration of the loan and the loan origination fees.)

 

The mission of the Monmouth County Division of Consumer Affairs is to protect and serve the public through educational programs and outreach in an effort to prevent consumer fraud and illicit business practices.

Our team of certified investigators responds to consumer complaints and enforces the Consumer Fraud Act. Investigators will facilitate mediation between consumers and businesses when possible. If warranted, cases may be turned over to Special Council for subpoena, fines or prosecution.

Educational Programs & Seminars

The DCA can provide educational programs in an effort to combat fraud and prevent problems before they occur. If you would like to arrange for one of our speakers to provide a free program to your group, simply contact us at 732-431-7902 or via email to Investigator Anita Velardo at anita.velardo@visitmonmouth.com

The Department of Consumer Affairs exists under the authority of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Freeholder Lillian Burry is liaison to the department. Since its inception in 1977, the Division has handled tens of thousands of complaints, and mediated millions of dollars in restitution back to Monmouth County residents.

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