Payday lending class action settlement profiled in report on WFLA channel 8 in Tampa. Watch the video to see the story. James Hoyer Partner Jesse Hoyer is interviewed.
$4.3 million payday lending class action settlement
After a nearly two decade long battle, a $4.3 million class action settlement is returning thousands of dollars to Florida consumers who took out pay day loans in the late 90’s. More than 3-thousand Floridians are receiving checks in the mail this week to compensate them for exorbitant fees they paid for their loans. National Cash Advance and/or Advance America charged customers interest rates of nearly 400%, which left many trapped in a cycle of debt.
“This is long-awaited and well-deserved compensation for these class members,” said James Hoyer Partner Sean Estes, one of the attorneys representing the class.
Payday lending class member Stephanie Marshall
WFLA channel 8 in Tampa interviewed class member Stephanie Marshall about the settlement. She received a check in the mail for $1521.90 as compensation for $570 in fees she paid for loans she took out 20 years ago to make ends meet.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Marshall said. “Every other Saturday I went from one place to the next, writing a check, paying the fees, rolling it over.”
Marshall says she is grateful to receive the check today, but advised others thinking about taking out payday loans not to do it.
“Don’t do it! I was like a rat chasing my tail. I had to stop cold turkey to get control back,” she said.
More than 3000 class members receive checks
Payments to consumers range anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to more than $3,000 dollars, and include people in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, and dozens of other cities in Florida and around the country. The class claims are for violations of the: Florida Lending Practices Act; Florida Consumer Finance Act; Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act; and Civil Remedies for Criminal Practices Act.
James Hoyer Partner Jesse Hoyer interviewed by WFLA
The victory is somewhat bittersweet. While several thousand class members will receive long awaited and well deserved compensation, more than 100-thousand others who signed a mandatory, arbitration clause with the check cashing companies will not receive restitution, because the clause includes a class action waiver. It’s important for consumers to understand the dangers of mandatory arbitration, as well as predatory payday loans, which continue in Florida and across the country, under some new restrictions.
“Mandatory arbitration is dangerous for consumers, because it takes away a lot of your rights. ,” said James Hoyer Partner Jesse Hoyer. “You’ve got to be careful what you’re signing up for. Make sure you read and understand the terms.”
Click here to read the detailed class settlement notice.