The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Consumer Services Division announced this week that it has fined illegal payday lenders more than $280,000 in fines since 2013.
While some internet payday lenders are licensed with DFI, most are not. The department received a combined 416 complaints related to online payday lenders in 2013 and 2014. Only two of the entities that were the subject of these complaints were licensed with DFI and were thus operating illegally.
DFI successfully resolved three administrative complaints in the past three months - including actions against Action PDL, Integrity PDL and Mycashnow.com. The companies and people involved operated under several additional business names.
The companies were ordered to make restitution to certain Washington borrowers in the form of refunds and in the cancellation of all outstanding loan balances. Along with the fines, the companies agreed to stop engaging in any consumer lending to residents of Washington without a license.
"This agency will continue to pursue enforcement actions against companies that don't comply with Washington laws that are in place to protect borrowers from illegal lending, excessive fees and abusive collection tactics," said Scott Jarvis, director of DFI.
The DFI issued a warning for consumers that people who receive loans from illegal lenders also are vulnerable to abusive collection practices.
Some of the most common complaints are repeated and harassing calls at work, threatening criminal prosecution and harassing and lying to co-workers or family members, according to DFI.