Sacramento, Ca.,—Oct. 16, 2012 – Hundreds of consumers throughout the United States, including several from Northern California, allege they were the victims of unauthorized charges against their checking accounts by supposed payday loan companies, Better Business Bureau warns.
Most complainants told BBB that after the companies withdrew $30 from their accounts, they were told by the companies the charges were for loan application fees. Consumers tell BBB, however, that they never formally applied for a payday loan.
“I submitted inquiries online about payday loans, but never applied,” said a Sacramento woman. “After inquiring, I received 75 to 100 offers for loans, but I had already found a way to get the money I needed, so I ignored them. Then they took $30 from me.”
Most of the companies currently have an “F” rating with BBB for failing to respond to some complaints. In a few cases, the company did respond to the complaints by offering a $1,000 gas voucher or a refund.
“After they offered the voucher, I never got it,” said a Sacramento man. “I don’t even want a gas voucher. I just want my money back.”
Several other consumers also allege they never received the refund or gas voucher the company offered.
“In an age when everyone is so used to sharing information online, you can’t lose site of the dangers of providing your information through the internet,” said Gary Almond, president of BBB serving northeast California. “If a form asks for personal information like bank account numbers or social security numbers, you may want to do a little more research on who you are dealing with before completing the form. You can never be too cautious when doing business online.”
Better Business Bureau offers the following advice to avoid losing money to an online payday loan company:
Research a company before disclosing any personal information. Do they have a BBB Business Review
? Search for the company through a search engine.
• Be very wary of providing bank account numbers through online forms.
• Read and understand any agreements, policies or terms and conditions you can find on the website.
• Find contact information for the company and verify they have a physical location.
• Be wary of paying upfront fees for loans.
Media: Several consumers available for interview. Call 916-443-6843 to obtain contact information or to schedule an interview with a BBB representative.
As abusiness-supported nonprofit organization, Better Business Bureau's mission isto promote an ethical marketplace. BBB sets standards for ethical businessbehavior, helps consumer identify reliable businesses through BBB BusinessReviews, sets standards for truthful advertising, evaluates and providesreviews of charities, educates consumers, and offers dispute resolutionservices. More than 87 million consumers rely on BBB for Business Reviews,consumer tips and scam alerts. To learn more, please visit www.necal.bbb.org.