GOOD2GO WHISTLEBLOWER (actor): Well, the loan contract will say that the loan’s for 104 weeks

Now, they are purporting that this loan is over 104 weeks, but we’ve been told by insiders that in virtually all cases the loan is written as being 104 weeks and immediately the repayments are changed, so it’s a short-term loan

SMS MESSAGE (caption): Dear Andrew Acceptance [sic] received. Funds will be settled within the next 24hrs. Your payments are $72 fortnightly with first payment .

Ah, but then 99 per cent of the time that doesn’t happen. So once they email back saying, “I accept,” we change it on them. So we send them an SMS saying their new loan repayment amount. And, you know, they’re hoodwinked.

So they might’ve signed a contract saying that they were going to repay $7 or $10 a fortnight: we change it to $72 a fortnight. They weren’t expecting that kind of repayment, so they might miss payments, payments might bounce and then come a whole range of dishonour fees.

STEPHEN LONG: The multiple fees include a $7 charge for sending a client a text message; a $7 charge per phone call, whether you answer or not; $ to send a letter to the client; and a $3.50 direct debit fee just for taking money from your account.

(to Peter Kell) I’d like to show you a contract from a company called Good2Go Loans. You can see there: it’s a $500 loan. They’ve charged $250 as an establishment fee – that’s 50 per cent of the cost of the loan.

Any questions please call G2G Loans

PETER KELL: Look, we’d be very happy to look at this because we certainly don’t want to see people attempting to game the rules, either by manipulating the length of the loan or by manipulating the sorts of fees and charges that, um, ah, that people have to pay, including the establishment fee.

STEPHEN LONG: The CEO of Good2Go Loans, Jason Bousfield, is on the board of the National Credit Providers’ Association, the peak body for payday lenders. We tried to speak to Mr Bousfield, but he said he was “not prepared to comment at this stage.”

At ASIC’s headquarters in Sydney, there’s a whole team cracking down on payday lenders – but it’s like a game of regulatory whack-a-mole. As soon as it knocks down one scam, another pops up.

PETER KELL: The history of the payday lending industry is, unfortunately, a history of lenders who have tried by whatever means possible to get around the consumer protections that have been in place; to get around the caps on fees where they have existed, ah, so that they can charge a higher price to some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

She’s a pensioner who payday loans in Portland TN lives near Penrith in far western Sydney. Julie’s got three kids and a tribe of doting grandchildren.

STEPHEN LONG: If it succeeds, the payday lending giant could be forced to compensate more than 50,000 people like her.

JULIE GRAY: Well, I’m doing it not only for myself but there is a lot of people out there, I suppose, that are in the same situation as I am; that got caught up in the whole spiral thing, having to go and get loan after loan.

STEPHEN LONG: Julie battles ill health. She spends up a big chunk of a small income on medicine and medical bills.

JULIE GRAY: I’ve got a hip specialist that I go to. Um, I went last week, actually, to a spine specialist which cost $230 to see the specialist and I think I got $72 back, which, I think, um, after my rent and, um, electricity and bills and that are paid, I think I’m left with $320.

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