The Federal Trade Commission is sending 26,698 checks totaling more than $970,000 to consumers who were harmed by a deceptive payday lending scheme that operated under the names Harvest Moon Financial, Gentle Breeze Online, and Green Stream Lending.
Consumers who receive checks should cash them within 90 days, as indicated on the check. Recipients who have questions about their refund should call the refund administrator, Epiq, at 855-662-0075. The Commission never requires people to pay money or provide account information to get a refund.
The FTC sued the payday loan enterprise and its owners in 2020, alleging that the defendants deceptively marketed their payday loans when they told borrowers that the loans would be repaid after a fixed number of payments. Yet, according to the FTC, long after the promised number of payments had been made, borrowers learned that the payments had been applied to finance charges only and that the defendants were continuing to make regular withdrawals from their checking accounts.
In 2021, the defendants in the case agreed to a court order that permanently banned them from the debt collection industry and required them to deem nearly all outstanding debts owed by consumers as being paid in full.
The Commission’s interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of Commission refunds. In 2020, Commission actions led to more than $483 million in refunds to consumers across the country, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that the Commission lacks authority under Section 13(b) to seek monetary relief in federal court going forward. The Commission has urged Congress to restore the Commission’s ability to get money back for consumers.