Consumers in New Jersey Are Being Taken Advantage of by Predatory Puppy Loans, According to Advocacy Groups

Advocates around the country believe that something needs to be done when high-cost financing is granted for buying living creatures. According to Ipass $500 cash the groups, a lender is utilizing a bank situated in Utah to arrange “predatory” loans to consumers wishing to buy pups in-store, circumventing state law in New Jersey and elsewhere.

According to a campaign initiated by consumer and animal welfare organizations in February, the state of New Jersey has a typical consumer interest rate cap of 30 percent, but through the method chosen by lender EasyPay Finance, pet loans can be given with APR rates ranging from 130 percent to 189 percent.

EasyPay can evade state interest rate rules by partnering with a bank, in this case, Transportation Alliance Bank, according to the groups.

A 2019 financial receipt from a pet shop in Union was given to New Jersey 101.5, instructing the client to repay more than $7,500 over two years for a $2,500 loan.

“We’re profoundly worried about the practice of rent-a-bank here in New Jersey,” said Beverly Brown Ruggia, financial justice program director for New Jersey Citizen Action.

TAB is being urged to cease assisting EasyPay in “exploiting our most vulnerable state citizens and the pets being used to lead those citizens into debt traps,” according to the campaign. The groups also want the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which regulates financial institutions, to ban TAB from “facilitating this circumvention of New Jersey law.”

Other loans offered by EasyPay

EasyPay and other lenders provide financing in places like auto repair shops, pet stores, and furniture stores. According to advocacy groups, EasyPay processes loans through TAB in 32 jurisdictions where its interest rates are unconstitutional and directly to customers in states where high rates are legal.

In a press release, the National Consumer Law Center noted, “Only a few rogue institutions are ready to front for predatory lenders.”

When contacted for comment, a representative for TAB directed New Jersey 101.5 to a blog post describing the company’s services. Conventional borrowing may not be an option for most Americans, according to the bank.

“An unsecured, short-term loan could be a lifeline for a family or individual in need,” the article says. “As a result, TAB Bank provides these folks with a much better option to a payday loan as a feasible bridge to a better financial future than a payday loan.”

EasyPay did not respond to a request for comment.

Brown Ruggia went on to say that prospective buyers can help limit some lenders’ activities.

“I believe the most important message here is that consumers should take a moment to walk away from the register and clearly communicate the terms of any financial agreement,” she said.

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