About 5,000 payday lending customers have just received refunds for fees illegally charged by The Cash Store and Instaloans, but Consumer Protection BC says an estimated 45,000 consumers still havenâ€™t come forward to make a claim.
In 2010, Consumer Protection BC issued a Compliance Order for Cash Store Financial Inc. (the parent company of The Cash Store and Instaloans) to repay unlawful cash card fees. In January 2014, the Supreme Court of BC upheld Consumer Protection BCâ€™s Compliance Orders.
Soon after, Cash Store Financial Inc. filed for protection under Ontarioâ€™s Company Creditors Arrangement Act, making the company financially unable to carry out the refund process itself. To ensure eligible consumers receive refunds as quickly as possible, Consumer Protection BC has now assumed role of refund trustee.
Consumer Protection BC estimates that 50,000 total consumers are eligible to receive refunds: 5,000 consumers who have just been paid; 15,000 who were not reachable, as they may have moved; and 30,000 who received a refund package, but didnâ€™t submit a claim.
â€œWe are trying to facilitate almost $1 million in consumer refunds. For us, there really was no other answer than to step in and take responsibility,â€ says Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, spokesperson for Consumer Protection BC. â€œWe have just issued cheques totaling about $128,000 and we want to hear from those consumers who havenâ€™t yet come forward. The claim form is simple and they are owed the money.â€
Consumers eligible for a refund would have taken out a payday loan from The Cash Store or Instaloans between Nov. 1, 2009 and March 23, 2012 and were charged fees for a cash card. If they havenâ€™t already done so, to apply for a refund, consumers must submit a claim form (available at www.paydayloanrightsbc.ca) along with proof of identity. Claims will be reviewed and processed by Consumer Protection BC for six years, until 2020; after that date, any remaining funds will be transferred to a Consumer Advancement Fund for consumer education purposes.
A backgrounder on payday lending BC, as well as additional information for consumers and businesses about payday lending can be found on Consumer Protection BCâ€™s website at www.paydayloanrightsbc.ca. All recent Consumer Protection BC enforcement actions are also published on Consumer Protection BCâ€™s corporate website, www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
Consumer Protection BC is a not-for-profit corporation whose vision is confident consumers and trusted businesses in a thriving marketplace. We enforce consumer protection laws and strengthen consumer protection in BC by licensing and inspecting specific industries, responding to consumer questions, investigating alleged violations of consumer protection laws and educating consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities. For more information about our organization, please visit our corporate website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca. You can also follow Consumer Protection BC on Twitter @ConsumerProBC, like us on Facebook and read our blog for valuable consumer tips and resources.