Customers accuse loan company of unfair rates

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jan 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 01:48:54-05

Dozens of customers accuse a North County loan company of unfairly charging skyrocketing interest rates, and then ignoring their complaints when they tried to address the charges.

Michael and his girlfriend used Duvera Financial to finance their short-term loan to buy a small dog. Michael said he spoke to a representative to move their payment a few days later.

“They said 'yeah, that’s fine. There’s going to be no problems with it,'” Michael said.

However, there were problems. Michael said he received a call from another representative, saying he missed the payment. He tried to explain he already worked it out with the company, but they did not budge.

What happened next shocked him.

“The interest rate on it is 200 percent, so all of a sudden, now I’m paying triple the amount for the dog,” Michael said.

More than 100 consumers complained to the Better Business Bureau about Duvera Financial over the last three years.

One customer wrote the company charged “100 percent interest.”

Another wrote: “I had to call them 7 times in one day to try and get someone who was actually competent and knew what they were doing.”

In 2014, the New York Attorney General’s office sued Duvera Financial. It accused them of charging usurious rates of more than 50 percent for those financing medical procedures. Both sides ultimately settled.

“There are looser regulations around short-term loans than there are long-term loans,” said Sheryl Reichert, president and CEO of the BBB.

She added to be wary of companies who do their business online.

“If it’s not a legitimate organization that you can see a history and track record of positive behavior and experiences with consumers, you want to stay away from these guys online,” Reichert said.

It was only after Michael complained to the BBB that someone from the company called him to work it out, he claimed. He said the dog, which originally cost him $1,500, ended up costing around $3,000.

Currently, Duvera Financial has a B+ rating on the BBB website. A few months ago, it was a C-. A spokesperson said the rating went up because the company recently started answering customers’ complaints.

Team 10 called Duvera Financial, but the calls went unreturned.