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By Henrietta J. Burroughs            Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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Wednesday, August 21, 2012            
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Graphic illustrating Money Mart Loan Mart settlement  
         Photo courtesy the San Francisco City Attorney's website
Call before the October 1, 2012 deadline



Did you or anyone you know take out a payday loan between 2005 and 2007?
If so, you and/or they might be entitled to receive a reimbursement of the fees that were paid for the loan.

According to the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, borrowers who took out a payday loan from Loan Mart/ Money Mart between January 2005 and July 2005 or an installment loan between July 2005 and March 2007, will most likely qualify for restitution of most of the interest, the fees and the finance charges that they paid.

The reimbursement of fees is part of a 7.5 million dollar settlement San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office negotiated to settle a 2007 consumer protection lawsuit the office filed against payday lenders Money Mart and Loan Mart and an affiliated out-of-state bank for unfair and fraudulent business practices.

The lawsuit charged that the above lenders wrongfully marketed short-term installment loans and oversized payday loans at exorbitant and illegal interest rates. The loans were specifically aimed at low-and moderate-income borrowers.

Those borrowers who fell victim to the illegal marketing are now eligible to receive reimbursements amounts ranging from $20 to $1,800.

Since the deadline for filing a claim for reimbursement is October 1, 2012, the lawsuit settlement requires the lenders to make “reasonable efforts” to contact all eligible claimants.

In order to locate all of the eligible claimants, the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and other city officials and community groups launched a three month push which began last month. Herrera’s office said that he will hold news conferences across the state in an extensive outreach effort to contact all eligible California consumers before the October 1, 2012 deadline.

The outreach effort is especially aimed at those who might have moved since taking out the loans and at those who might have misunderstood or dismissed letters from the settlement’s restitution administrator.

In addition to repaying eligible consumers, Money Mart and Loan Mart are also required to forgive $8 million in other debt owed by California consumers and pay the City and County of San Francisco $875,000.

Those who think they or someone they know might be eligible for reimbursement are encouraged to:

      Visit http://www.sfcityattorney.org, to complete a claim form.
      Call the City Attorney's Money Mart Settlement Hotline at (866) 497-5497
      Or, email inquiries to: MoneyMartSettlement@sfgov.org


Contact Henrietta J. Burroughs, the author of this article, at epatoday@epatoday.org.


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