Michigan Woman Charged 350% Interest on a Loan- and It’s Legal
In a rate comparable with the mafia or medieval times, a Michigan millennial is suing to get out of a loophole that charges her 350% interest on a loan.
A single mom, working as a waitress in a Detroit suburb wanted to make sure her 4-year-old son had a nice Christmas, despite her now negative bank account balance and pending car payment. Nicole Swiger got a $1,200 loan online that came with an ought-to-be-illegal 350% interest rate. No, that decimal is not in the wrong place, the interest rate was actually triple digits, nearing three and a half times the loan amount.
Yahoo News and USA Today picked up the Detroit Free Press story story of this Michigan mother who got taken in by a complicated internet offer that exceeds the state's the allowable interest rate of 25% by 14 times. Lenders like Plain Green, the story explains, partner with Native America tribes "to severely limit any legal recourse." A lawyer has now taken up the case and advised Swiger to stop making payments. Furhermore, her attorney has filed a motion to create a class-action lawsuit similar to the one that met with success in vanquishing a similar scheme in Virginia.
Nicole had already paid $1,170.75 for her $1,200 loan. The balance due has hardly changed at $1,922." Do the math and it gets really ugly:
If you go online, you can calculate your loan cost at the Plain Green site. Take out a $500 loan and you'll pay 438% in interest. You'd make 20 payments at $88.15 in biweekly payments. Pull out your own calculator to add up the payments and you'd discover that you're paying $1,763 for a $500 loan – or $1,263 in interest.
If you paid that loan off each month, instead of bi-weekly, you'd pay $1,910.10 – or $191.01 each month for 10 months. That ends up being $1,410.10 in interest.
If it's too good to be true, it probably is.