Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- An investigation of tribal-owned payday loan companies operating in Oklahoma finds that 30 percent of all the payday loan complaints filed at the Better Business Bureau are against seven companies, all located east of Tulsa in Miami.
Why are these companies exempt from state and federal guidelines?
These seven payday loan companies operate almost entirely on the Internet. The Better Business Bureau has received more than 2,000 complaints against them. Companies MTE Financial Services, 500 FastCash, Instant Cash USA and Cash Advance Network all have the same address, and the BBB traced that address to a Casino and Smoke Shop owned by the Modoc Indian Tribe.
Ameriloan, United Cash loans, and USFastCash all have the same address and the BBB found it is the offices for the Miami Nation Indian Tribe.
"The fact the tribe supposedly owns the company is not the problem. It's the business practices," said Rick Brinkley of the Better Business Bureau.
"A tribe can own a company and never generate a complaint, but what makes this unique is because the tribe does own it, state and federal laws do not apply."
All of the complaints filed against these seven companies have been very similar in nature and involve people from all over the U.S.
"What the complaints generally allege is interest rates from 600 to 1,800 percent; they can't get it paid off. They pay $1,500 for a $300 loan, but they're still taking money out of their account, and they can't get them to stop and continue to pay this."
What these people were shocked to learn is, not much can be done about their complaints because tribes set and follow their own laws.
The BBB has given these companies an F rating and urges people to read their reports before doing business with these companies.
"If you want to do business with any business, you have every right, but you need to go in with information so when making decisions, you can make a wise choice," said Rick Brinkley of the BBB.
I called the Modoc tribe in Miami and was given a no comment. I didn't hear back from the Miami Indian Nation tribe.