At Home: Money Mart fees called ?conspiracy?
As a class-action lawsuit against National Money Mart and its US parent company began, the company’s interest rates were described by the lead lawyer in the case as a ?conspiracy.?
More than 240,000 plaintiffs are represented in the lawsuit, which alleges that, between 1997 and 2007, National Money Mart charged fees on payday loans that ?added up to an effective annual interest rate of more than the 60% allowed under the Criminal Code.?
As the National Post reports, the plaintiffs allege that the loan terms ?could result in fees that generated an effective annual interest rate of more than 300%.? Customers were generally required to repay loans before their next payday.
Although the company and its US parent aren’t facing criminal charges, the suIt’s lead lawyer, Harvey Strosberg, didn’t mince words.
?If you are selling a product that is illegal, you have a conspiracy,? he told reporters. The lawsuit is seeking more than $300 million in damages.
The suit was launched six years ago, and the defendants have made several attempts to have it dismissed, including three motions to the Ontario Court of Appeal and two requests to the Supreme Court of Canada. The trial is expected to run six weeks.
In Foreign News: Ireland not prepared to battle swine flu
Ireland is not prepared to cope with an outbreak of swine flu, according to an internal document from the country’s Department of Health.
The Irish Examiner reports that a warning was issued in 2008 that the country has ?no out-of-hours cover arrangements in the event of an infectious disease outbreak.? The Department of Health has confirmed that the situation has not been addressed, meaning that a lack of emergency on-call specialists would limit the ability of the country’s contingency plan to respond to an outbreak.
The problem stems from a dispute with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), with the result that there is a lack of evening and weekend coverage by specialist public health doctors, who play an essential role in identifying, assessing, and monitoring possible cases of the flu.
There have been no reported cases of swine flu in Ireland, but the government has cautioned citizens to avoid all unnecessary travel to affected areas. A poster campaign has been launched at Irish airports and ports, ?warning people of the risks of swine flu if they are departing to or returning from affected countries.?