Sara Routhier, Managing Editor of Features and Outreach, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming worl...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Feb 13, 2012

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A North Carolina couple shared their horrible payday loan experience involving high interest, misrepresentation, and financial hurt with ABC News. But their experience wasn’t entirely negative, as from this mess a happy ending emerged.

 

Donna Seese and her husband found themselves in economic trouble as they were unable to afford even the most necessary of purchases.

 

“We were looking for basic necessities,” Donna told ABC. “You know gas money, food money.”

 

So the struggling couple sought help in the form of a cash advance, but found payday loans were illegal in their state. Instead of turning to a loan shark, they used their computer and sought an out-of-state lender online.

 

They found AdvanceMeToday.com, a website featuring a setting sun as their logo and a homepage with beautiful, lush green fields shown behind crystal clear window. The Seese’s said they told the representative they needed $300.

 

“What they charge is 30 percent per hundred dollars. So in reality, the total balance due would be $390,” explained Donna. “So, what’s going to happen is, you’re going to see a $90 debit come out of your account on every paycheck until the loan is paid off. And so I was like OK, that sounds fair.”

 

So every paycheck, Donna began seeing $90 removed from her bank account. After the fourth $90 payday loan installment was removed, Donna called a rep to make sure she would only see a $30 charge removed come her next check.

 

“He said, ‘Your $90 payments that you’ve been making have all gone to interest,’” said Donna.

 

Feeling misled, Donna didn’t realize that her $90 payments were never being made on the original $300 balance. Rather, the $90 every two weeks were the charge for what’s referred to as a payday loan rollover. AdvanceMeToday was charging her $90 simply to have that $300 balance unpaid.

 

When Donna complained about this mechanic, AdvanceMeToday withdrew the fill $300 from her bank account, amounting to a total of $660 for the original loan of $300.

 

After paying over 100 percent in interest for this payday loan, Donna approached North Carolina’s Attorney General, Roy Cooper. Since the payday lender was granting services to a state that had barred such forms of financing, Donna was able to dispute the $300 withdrawal, and had that money returned to her account by her bank.
 

Ultimately, the couple shelled out $360 for the payday loan, totaling only $60 in interest