Whistler's Money Mart has been issued an administrative fine from Consumer Protection BC for failing to comply with provincial payday lending regulations.
"Following a routine inspection conducted by Consumer Protection BC at Money Mart Whistler, we found they were not complying with consumer law when it came to disclosing information to consumers and getting consumers to acknowledge that they had been provided the information," said Consumer Protection BC's vice president of corporate relations Manjit Baines.
The Whistler location, operated by Justenna Enterprises Inc., was issued a $1,000 fine for not requiring borrowers to initial the cost of credit, annual percentage rate and cancellation rights of payday loan agreements.
Baines said Consumer Protection BC follows a "progressive enforcement" strategy that provides businesses with ample time to come into voluntary compliance with the law.
"We have received some inquiries in the past regarding this company, and the company has chosen in other locations as well, to come into compliance. In this particular situation, we were not able to achieve volunteer compliance so we have issued an administrative penalty," said Baines.
Consumer Protection BC confirmed that it received six consumer inquiries between 2011 and 2012 regarding Money Mart Whistler.
The $1,000 fine was one of three penalties recently handed down by Consumer Protection BC to payday lenders across the province. Loan Express Corp. was ordered to cease offering, arranging or providing payday loans at any location that is not licensed. A $7,750 fine was also issued to Cash Store Financial Inc. for contravening a previously-issued compliance order requiring Cash Store and Instaloans locations to provide borrowers with signed copies of their loan agreements.
Mains stressed the importance of knowing your rights as a payday loan recipient under B.C. consumer law.
"Consumers do have rights under the law and businesses have obligations, and in this particular situation, payday lending companies are required to disclose information to consumers and one way to ensure that's occurring is to get consumers to initial that they received that information," she said. "If you're just not sure you're receiving that information or you do not understand your rights under consumer law in B.C., please contact Consumer Protection BC."
A spokesperson from Money Mart's head office did not respond to The Question's request for comment by press time.
For more information, visit www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.