Check cashing company told to stop illegal loans - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Check cashing company told to stop illegal loans

October 30, 2002

Albany-- Cash in Advance is a payday loan and check cashing company. The chain operates across Georgia including a location here in Albany, on Dawson Road.

The Georgia Insurance Commissioner's office told the company to immediately stop selling phone cards that promised up to a $1,000 dollar rebate. The Commissioners office says this so-called rebate was really a loan and the company is not licensed to do that.

But when we stopped by the Cash in Advance store this afternoon, the company still had signs advertising phone cards and quick cash.

I asked the clerk at the Albany store, "Can I have one of those please."

She answered, " No."

"But you are giving them out to the regular public."

"Yes."

"But I can't have one?"

" I just don't want to get in trouble. I'm doing what I was told."

Behind the glass at the Cash in Advance store on Dawson Road, brochures saying "Get with the Program. Get Cash and Phone Cards Now!" are on display. The company has been instructed by the Insurance Commissioner's office to stop selling the phone cards--that are really a cover for illegal loans.

But at this branch, brochures and a poster advertising for the phone cards are prominently displayed and the clerk says only customers can have a brochure. The clerk says, "When someone comes in we give this to them when they join the club."

I called Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine's office to let them know that this Cash in Advance was still advertising for the phone cards. Oxendine's spokesman, Wayne Whitaker, says the company has been told to stop selling the cards, and that they are going to look into the matter. Oxendine's office says as many as 10,000 people have bought into the phone card scheme since June.

People that bought the phone cards would sign a contract, then get the money. Oxendine's office says the so-called rebate was just another term for a high-interest loan, and was the real reason people bought the phone cards.

People would pay off the "loan" with monthly payments between $40 and $45. Cash in Advance does not have an Industrial Loan License as required by state law in order to make loans of $3,000 or less.

Posted at 3:45 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com