-by Bay City News-
California residents who paid exorbitant interest rates for online installation loans may be eligible for repayment over the next three months in a refund drive announced Thursday by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
Consumers who dealt with Cincinnati-based Check 'n Go are eligible
for restitution under a June settlement with Herrera's office in which the
payday loan company agreed to pay $4.3 million in refunds.
Herrera said Check 'n Go partnered with an out-of-state bank in an
illicit scheme to skirt California's maximum interest rate of 36 percent for
the payday loans and made loans with interest rates as high as 400 percent.
Herrera said there are thousands of victims statewide, many who
are "the working poor, who are living paycheck to paycheck."
Because of the exorbitant rates, "people could never get their
principal paid down ... and the number continued to grow," he said.
The Millbrae store is located at 620 El Camino Real. There are two stores in San Francisco and another located in San Mateo.
The city attorney's office is coordinating a statewide outreach
effort to notify customers who are eligible for refunds, which must be
claimed during a three-month period between today and March 28.
Herrera said San Francisco has one of California's highest density
of payday loan companies and that he will be traveling to other hot spots
around the state, including Los Angeles and the Central Valley.
A refund drive earlier this year for a similar settlement with the
payday lender Money Mart/Loan Mart netted more than 8,100 claimants who
received an average of nearly $700.
As part of that outreach, Herrera's office created a video with
the popular song "Call Me Maybe" to encourage claimants to come forward, and
he did not rule out similar efforts in this case.
"However we need to get the word out, we're going to do it,"
"That was very successful in what it was intended to do," he said,
noting his office received a spike in claimants after the video's release.
Check 'n Go claimants may qualify for restitution if they received
an online four-month installation loan between November 2006 and June 2008
through the websites www.checkngo.com, www.ilp.fbdel.com or
The refunds will range from $20 to $4,675, depending on the size
of the payment by the claimant.
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