Monday, August 30, 2010
Help Me Howard: Loan
A South Florida woman needed to borrow $800 quickly. If you have even been in that situation you know there are companies all over the place that will loan you the money, but what about the interest rate they can charge. Is there a cap or can they go up and up? It's why we keep Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser around.
WSVN -- I have no idea what Polly Cunningham weighs, but I do know most of it is heart.
Polly Cunningham: "I'm a nurse and I'm a social worker. What I like about my job is the opportunity to help others that's very important to me."
Polly Cunningham: "This is a picture of my sister, who I love very much, Twilla."
So, it's no surprise when Polly's sister was facing eviction, Polly would try to come to the rescue.
Polly Cunningham: "She needed the money and needed it quickly."
Polly then went on-line and found a company that would loan her the $800 quickly.
Polly Cunningham: "I went there to help her by getting this loan to help her, because I knew I could pay the loan off in two weeks when I get my paycheck."
The business gave Polly the money and let her use her car as collateral in case she could not repay it.
Polly Cunningham: "I said, I only need it for a couple of weeks until my next pay period, 'Oh that's no problem, you can come back and you can pay if off anytime you want to.'"
Polly then got paid and came in to take care of the $800 loan.
Polly Cunningham: "When I went to pay it off they said I owe $1488. I said, 'What?' I say, 'For 11 days?'"
Polly was stunned and asked to speak to the manager.
Polly Cunningham: "He didn't help me at all, he was rude to me and told me I should have read my contract before I signed it."
The price soared because of fees the loan company charged plus the interest, but Polly never thought that would happen because she was going to pay it off within days.
Polly Cunningham: "Here I am, a professional and I help people everyday and to have someone take advantage of me and hurt me."
Polly Cunningham: "It made me feel so tiny, like I was so powerless."
But, is she powerless, that's Polly's question.
Polly Cunningham "Is it legal for them to charge you almost 50 percent interest on your money for less than 30 days?"
Howard you read Polly's contract, do you have an answer?
Howard Finkelstein: "Yes. The law limits interest rates, but that's not what is causing Polly's loan amount to soar. It's the fees that are assessed when you take out these types of loans, and the fees are legal even if pay the loan off the next day."
When we talked to the loan company, they explained each fee and said they followed the law strictly, however, the owner added, we are a good company and we are going to make an exception in this case, waive most of our fees and allow Polly to pay just $867 instead of the $1400. Howard says that's a nice gesture, and if you are going to take out these type of loans, make sure you check out the fees and interest.
Howard Finkelstein: "Polly had what is called a consumer loan agreement, the interest rate on those loans is capped at 30 percent, which is the maximum that the law allows. But, remember, the fees that go with the loan can also hit you hard, so before you take out the loan make sure you know how much it will cost you."
Polly is going to pay back the loan this week and could not be any happier.
Polly Cunningham: "I just really thank you Help Me Howard, you really made a difference. I called you all, you stepped in, you investigated it, did what you had to do, you really made a difference, so thank you so much, I love you guys."
Polly didn't read the paperwork closely and says she went by what a business employee told her before you sign any paperwork, read every word.
If you don't understand something, get someone you trust to explain it, because once you sign it, to be polite, you are locked in. To be blunt, you are stuck.
Patrick Fraser: "Feeling alone and wanna borrow our time. Sign on with us. Give us credit. When it comes to your problem, we have high interest."