Class-action lawsuit involving money lenders reaches settlement

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Settlement of a class-action lawsuit involving money lenders who give payday advances has been approved.
The hearing took place today and involved a televised link between courts in this province, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The courts approved the certification, settlement and legal fees.
Ches Crosbie Barristers is one of three firms representing the customers. The other firms are Wagners of Halifax, N.S., and Crocco Hunter of Woodstock, N.B.
Crosbie said the value of the settlement for consumers was reduced by the risk that the courts would enforce arbitration clauses and the class action would be stayed.
"The government needs to look at legislation to protect consumers against arbitration clauses, which can be used to bar access to justice," Crosbie said in a news release.
"Governments in other provinces have already acted."
He also noted this province doesn't regulate payday loan practices, but the defendants agreed to the Nova Scotia regulations.
The settlement covers customers in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick from January 1997 to March 31, 2010 who entered into a "fast cash advance" loan with the defendants and repaid using a personal cheque. The settlement value is a mix of debt forgiveness, credits to customers for future business and cash.
Class members who have credits or cash coming to them will be able to access this after 120 days, by calling a toll-free number, accessing a secure internet website, or by attending at a Money Mart store. Further details about the toll-free number and the website will be provided shortly.
The class action lawsuits alleged that interest charges by payday lenders violated the Criminal Code. The allegations have not been proven in court.

Organizations: Money Mart

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Halifax Woodstock Newfoundland and Labrador

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