Tucson consumers and hundreds of other consumers across the nation say they have been victimized by an online payday loan scheme. Better Business Bureau serving Southern Arizona warns the operation involves at least seven questionable businesses, all claiming the same Las Vegas address.
In every case, the complainants told BBB that the businesses used electronic checks to take $30 from their accounts. Some consumers said the companies told them the charges were payday loan application fees, even though the consumers maintain they never formally applied for loans. Other consumers said they have no idea where the businesses got their banking information or how they were able to access their accounts.
More than 300 people, including three Tucson consumers, have filed complaints against the businesses, most of them in the past several months.
The businesses identified by the BBB are Capital Advance (also known as Loan Assistance), Ideal Advance, LoanTree Advances, Pacific Advances, Palm Loan Advances, Vantage Funding, and Your Loan Funding. All list addresses at 2780 S. Jones Blvd., Suite 3675, in Las Vegas, NV, and most have virtually identical websites. All have “F” ratings with BBB for failing to respond to complaints.
Several of the complainants said they have been promised refunds repeatedly, but never received them. Several also said they were promised $1,000 gasoline vouchers in lieu of a refund, but never received those either.
BBB has found six nearly identical websites for the companies, with only the businesses’ names changed. “Get up to $1,000 in as fast as 1 hour!” claim the sites. “4 out of every five applicants is approved on the spot! Get approved for a loan regardless of your credit score or credit history!”
All of the sites have identical testimonials, only the company’s names change.
Payday loans are illegal in the state of Arizona. This includes not only payday loans from brick and mortar businesses, but from online lenders as well. Arizona classifies any loan with an annual interest rate above 36 percent to be a payday loan.
The BBB offers the following tips to avoid losing money in an online payday loan scheme:
- Promptly Report any online payday lenders you find operating in Arizona to the Attorney General by filing a complaint at www.azag.gov.
- Be extremely cautious about providing banking or other personal information to strangers or on unknown or unverified websites.
- Read and understand all “terms and conditions” printed on a website.
For more information on online payday loans, or to research a business, visit www.tucson.bbb.org or call (520)888-5353.