The prolonged tussle, which lasted for about 20 years now has been resolved as Advance America, an American – base payday lender finally agreed to settle the dispute.
The dispute was as a result of high interest rates of about 400 percent that was imposed on customers and the resolution to initiate settlement brought an end to this fight.
Thousands of people, by virtue of the class action suit, have received some cash as refunds from this payday loan company. Go ahead and check your mailbox, you might just be one of the beneficiaries of this class action settlement.
According to reports, the payday lender, Advance America agreed to cough out the sum of $4.3 million as a payout to affected customers.
Stephanie Marshall, one of the class action suit beneficiaries explained her ordeals. She said that about 20 years ago, while she was almost due, expecting a baby, her bills kept piling up and she desperately needed support financially. So she approached the payday loan lender – Advance America for financial assistance to keep up with her growing needs.
In her words, Stephanie said “Every other Saturday, I went from one place to the next, writing a new check, paying the fees, rolling it over.”Stephanie eventually realized that she had been trapped in a debt cycle, already committed to three payday loans with no possible means of paying off her debts. She said she felt like a rat running around in cycles and chasing her own tail.
Stephanie who spoke further on the matter gave some advice to individuals who may be thinking about opting for a payday loan. Directly looking at the Channel 8 News camera, she said; “don’t do it.” “Don’t. I look at your camera and I say don’t.”
Jesse Hoyer, an Attorney whose law firm was part of the team in charge of the litigation process said, as an advice that people need to be cautious of what exactly they’re signing up for. Attorney Jessey Hoyer warns that the “mandatory arbitration agreements” clause in the payday loan contract actually prevents borrowers from suing the lender in a court of law. According to Jesse, “It’s something that’s actually very dangerous for consumers because it takes away a lot of your rights.”
The settlement was in the range of a few hundred dollars up to about $3000, and Stephanie received a payout of $1,521.90. She was full of excitement and when asked by a reporter what her reaction to the settlement was, she simply responded: “Thank you, Jesus.”
However, not all victims will receive this settlement. In fact, over 100,000 customers will get nothing from the settlement because of a “mandatory arbitration” clause in their signed agreement.
In a statement issued to the Channel 8 News, Senior Vice President of Advance America, Cash Advance Centers, Inc., Jamie Fulmer, who is also the spokesperson of the payday loan company said that the decision for settlement does not mean the company admits to having done anything wrong or to any liability. Fulmer further said that their customers, especially the Florida customers received the best payday loan services which give them access to state-authorized small dollar amount short-term loan services.
The statement further stated that the payday loan company has also agreed to resolve two lawsuits in Florida involving loan claims from 1997-2001, with a settlement fund set aside to reimburse eligible claimants. According to Fulmer’s statement, it was a deliberate business decision agreed upon by Advance America to put an end to the 20 years old matter and also to avoid more legal expenses.