The final checks in a $7.7 million settlement for more than 10,000 borrowers statewide are being mailed this week as part of a bad-loan lawsuit filed by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera — who also created a parody video posted to YouTube to reach out to victims.
On Monday, Herrera's office announced the official conclusion of the April 2007 lawsuit against Check 'n Go and Money Mart that accused the storefront money lenders of illegal interest rates and exorbitant fees targeting low- and middle-income borrowers.
Checks totaling $2.2 million will be issued to more than 2,000 claimants in the case against Check 'n Go. The checks range in size from about $35 to $6,139. Herrera previously announced a payout of more than $5.5 million in similar refunds from payday lender Money Mart for some 8,100 people.
Herrera said the effort sends the message to "payday lenders that they'll be held accountable for flouting consumer protection laws."
The lawsuit alleged that both Check 'n Go and Money Mart marketed loans using the First Bank of Delaware that far exceeded California's allowable 36 percent maximum annual interest rate for such loans, and that Money Mart also charged unlawfully high fees.
To help reach victims, Herrera turned to YouTube with two parody videos, including one titled "Pay Me Maybe" with lyrics set to the tune of Carly Rae Jepsen's hit song "Call Me Maybe." The opening scene shows Herrera at his desk working, then loosening up and putting on ear buds. Herrera's office said the footage was a hit in attracting attention.
As of Monday, the video had nearly 20,000 views.