Greater Victoria customers may be among those receiving payday loan fee refunds

The Cash Store and Instaloans ordered to return $1 million on transactions as far back as 2009

Nearly $1 million in illegal payday loan fees will be returned to consumers in the coming months, thanks to a long-fought legal battle by the province’s consumer protection agency.

Edmonton-based Cash Store Financial Inc., which has The Cash Store and Instaloans branches in Victoria, Esquimalt, Saanich and Colwood, was the focus of a Consumer Protection B.C. investigation in 2010.

The inquiry revealed customers were being billed more than the allowed maximum of $23 per $100 borrowed on cash cards, a finding the company disputed.

Consumer Protection B.C. took the unprecedented step on Nov. 30 of issuing a supplemental compliance order to force Cash Store to pay back customers.

“In all other cases, we achieved voluntary compliance,” said Manjit Bains, Consumer Protection B.C.’s vice-president of corporate relations. “With Cash Store, they chose not to comply with the law.”

The refund process began Tuesday and will be overseen by an independent auditor and Consumer Protection B.C. officials.

Anyone who used The Cash Store or Instaloans between Nov. 1, 2009 and March 23, 2012 may be eligible for a refund. Nearly 68,000 transactions and $1 million should be refunded beginning in Feb. 2013, Bains estimated.

“We remain optimistic that (Cash Store) will reimburse consumers. We’ve also put in controls to ensure consumers are receiving accurate and timely refunds.”

The onus lies with Cash Store to contact its customers and make them aware of the refund process, she said.

Any funds that remain unclaimed, after all efforts to reach eligible consumers are exhausted, are held by Consumer Protection B.C. for a further six years, during which time claims for refunds can be submitted directly to the agency.

A website that outlines the rights of consumers who use payday loan services is available at paydayloansrights.bc.ca.

Bains said while the payday loan industry provides a wanted service, consumers need to educate themselves on any potential breaches of the law.

“Just being very cautious on any opportunities where something sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” she said. “You’re getting your money quickly, but it can be at great cost.”

– with files from Erin McCracken

dpalmer@vicnews.com

 

Just Posted

BREAKING: Kelly Ellard gets day parole extended for six more months

Ellard was convicted of killing 14-year-old Reena Virk in 1997

Tours showcase sculptures, art demos in final week of Oak Bay’s Arts and Culture Days

Arts and Culture Days ends with community picnic at Carnarvon Park on Aug. 29

Ten bikes reported stolen in 24 hours in Victoria

VicPD asking residents to check their bikes after spike in thefts

New construction, housing prices down British Columbia

New housing prices dropped 0.4 per cent in Victoria in June 2019

Truck purchase prompts staffing plea from Esquimalt Firefighters Association

Union president says staffing should come before new equipment

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. hockey player excited to join Humboldt Broncos

Defenceman Sebastien Archambault played last two seasons with Junior B Sicamous Eagles.

Police watchdog investigating two officers after Langley teen’s suspected overdose

According to IIO, two officers were deployed to help Carson Crimeni but did not locate him before he died

Huawei executive’s defence team alleges Canadians were ‘agents’ of the FBI

eng’s arrest at Vancouver’s airport has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Canada and China

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

On vaccines, abortion, Goop, doctor Jen Gunter says: ‘I have a duty to speak up’

She speaks out on menstruation, the wellness industry and vaccines

Most Read