Experian’s decision to settle Reyes’ lawsuit – filed in U.S. District Court in California, where the credit monitoring company is based – is the latest development in a decade-long fallout on Western Sky’s lending practices in Georgia.
Three Georgia attorneys general meddled with the company, which officials accused of predatory and illegal lending. In 2013, officials from various states and the federal government cracked down on the company, leading to tens of thousands of loans being canceled.
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Because Western Sky was owned by a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation, the company maintained that it was not subject to state or federal laws. In fact, according to the lawsuit, the company was an LLC organized under South Dakota law, not tribal law, which makes it subject to the same laws as any lender. Between early 2010 and late 2013, Western Sky sold loans in states where it was not authorized to lend, including Georgia.
Payday loans of $ 3,000 or less in Georgia are void if the lender is unlicensed.
Western Sky agreed in 2017 to pay the Georgians $ 23 million in restitution and to waive the state’s $ 17 million in outstanding loans. Western Sky loans ranged from $ 850 to $ 10,000, but most were $ 2,600. Reyes’ class action lawsuit said a client who borrowed $ 2,600 would pay $ 13,840 on a 47-month payment plan.
Reyes’ attorneys said on Friday she was unavailable for comment.