7On your side: not so easy money - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Not so easy money

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Wouldn't it be great if we could all just live within our means? But many people find themselves in need of money fast.

Still, when borrowing from companies that promise quick money regardless of your credit rating, you better slow down and read the fine print. The ads beckon, "Need money? No problem. Bad credit? No credit? No problem."

There are plenty of ways to get money -- or so it would seem. And unfortunately, many of the people who use such lenders are already in over their heads. 

And making decisions in a rush without reading the fine print only leads to worse problems, according to Carmen Million with the SWLA Better Business Bureau.

Million said one woman went online and borrowed money from a company called Western Sky Financial -- only to find she is having to pay back several times what she borrowed.

"They were in a desperate situation so they needed money and they needed it quickly. It was a small amount. If I remember correctly, it was $400. And they have indicated to us the interest rate they are paying is 345 percent which is unreal. In fact, I'm not even sure if that's legal," said Million.

Western Sky of South Dakota gets an F rating from the BBB and the company is being sued by the attorney general in Colorado for making unlicensed, high interest loans to Colorado consumers. If you have to borrow money, Million suggests first try to go with a local lender.

"The Better Business Bureau tells consumers to shop around. Get more than one bid. There's nothing wrong with calling more than one company and asking them what their interest rates are on a loan and they should give you an idea," Million said.

And no matter who you borrow from, read the fine print and make sure you understand the details of any contract you sign.

"Read your contract very carefully before you sign it. If you don't' understand it, you need somebody to go over it with you before you sign it and of course, always keep a copy of your contract. Understand the interest rate, understand the details, understand if there's a cancellation clause, if there's a penalty for paying it early. If there's a penalty for paying it late.  All of those things should be in the contract," advised Million.

For alternatives to fast but expensive loans and what to do if you think you are the victim of a predatory lender, check out some of the following links:

http://www.bbb.org/us/

http://www.consumersunion.org/finance/paydayfact.htm

http://www.responsiblelending.org/payday-lending/tools-resources/alternatives-to-payday-loans.html

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