Georgia Whacks Payday Lenders in Court

July 29, 2013
Courthouse News Service 
payday lending news

The Georgia attorney general's office is suing payday lenders Western Sky Financial and CashCall in Fulton County Superior Court. The entities are accused of illegally taking money from customer's bank accounts and using obscene language, threats, and phone calls "at all hours" to pursue collection on debts. They are not licensed in Georgia but collaborate in a "common enterprise" to market costly loans on TV and online, according to the state. The businesses are not licensed "to make, offer, arrange, or act as an agent in the making of loans of $3,000 or less to consumers in the State of Georgia," the AG says. Western Sky and CashCall allegedly charge interest rates above the state limit of 10 percent; in fact, their annual percentage rates may reach as high as 184 percent. Consumers also report that CashCall representatives have harassed them with telephone calls, obscene and abusive language, and threats of wage garnishment as a form of intimidation. In November 2010, the AG's office delivered a cease-and-desist letter to Western Sky; but the lender responded that it would not stop lending in Georgia, claiming to be owned by a member of the Cheyenne tribe, which kept it immune from state law. The AG is seeking a permanent injunction that prohibits the defendants from selling, advertising, or soliciting loans of $3,000 or less by mail, email, the Internet, or phone in Georgia and that makes all of their illegal loan transactions null and void.

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