Cash advance store ordered to pay refunds for overcharging clients

Instaloan and Cash Advance both have branches in Terrace, BC

A CASH advance company with outlets in Terrace has been ordered to refund money to customers who were overcharged and to stop charging illegal fees.

The order comes from Consumer Protection BC against Cash Store Financial Inc., the parent company of pay day lenders Instaloan and Cash Store.

The order first came through in March 2012 but the company did not follow through so a supplemental compliance order was put out November 30, saying the refund period would start December 11 and repayments were expected to start at least by February 2013, according to Manjit Bains, vice-president of Consumer Protection BC.

Cash Store Financial chose to ignore a 2009 law regarding fees and other charges, said Bains.

They were charging for cash cards and more than the maximum legal amount of $23 for every $100 they were lending,” she said.

Charging for a cash card, which is like a credit card where the loaned money goes onto instead of having cash to carry around, is against the new law, she explained.

The company had 90 days to repay but chose not to, so a supplemental order was made to provide information on how to go about repaying the money, she said.

We’re remaining optimistic they will comply with the law and our order,” said Bains about Cash Store Financial.

The provincial government gave Consumer Protection BC enforcement powers that include working with businesses to ensure compliance, issuing compliance orders, charging fees for violations, taking a business to court for non-compliance and pulling business licences.

Cash Store Financial did pay the violation fees of $27,500 for administrative penalty and after new issues were discovered, paid another $6,200, also in administrative penalties, she said.

Cash Store Financial estimated that of its 96 stores in BC that it owes customers about $1 million as it has issued 68,000 loans since November 2009, said Bains.

Keep in mind some people have multiple loans so we think the average amount somebody is owed ranges from $7 to $18 but if it’s multiple loans, it starts to add up,” said Bains.

Cash Store Financial is supposed to send out a package to its customers with a claim form and advertise the refunds with the goal to get as many people reimbursed as possible, said Bains.

That’s why the refund period has begun but the expectation for payouts isn’t until February, she explained.

We’re optimistic the first cheque will be cut in February,” she said.

And it could take time to contact customers who might have moved so another mailout package might be needed.

A fail safe is that if Cash Store Financial doesn’t contact a customer successfully, it cannot keep the money.

The money will be transferred to Consumer Protection BC, which will hold the money for six years in case the rightful person comes forward for it.

Any money left over after the six years will go into its consumer advancement fund which is used for consumer education, said Bains.

If consumers receive any inconsistent information, they should contact Consumer Protection BC.

It’s important for consumers to understand what their rights are under the law and what businesses can or cannot charge to protect themselves, said Bains.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

What is the future of transportation in Terrace?

Active transportation, transit, road networks to play a big part in the coming years

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Terrace firefighters heading south to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read