Friday, June 29, 2007
Texans will not tolerate predatory schemes to defraud military families, Attorney General Abbott said. With this judgment, these defendants are prohibited from continuing their unconscionable scheme. The Office of the Attorney General will continue to aggressively enforce the law.
In 2006, Attorney General Abbott charged the defendants with violating numerous provisions of Texas consumer finance laws, including provisions requiring lenders to obtain proper licenses before making loans. The laws also presume that usurious interest contracts like those written by Advance Internet are null and void.
The company tricked consumers into schemes with interest rates as high as 782 percent for short-term cash advance loans. The result was an unending cycle of debt for Advance Internet customers. Texas Advance Internet maintained offices in El Paso, Coryell, Bell and Bexar counties, all counties with military bases in close proximity.
Gill’s Internet rebate program was a subterfuge used to hook consumers into debt. Customers who signed up were given an immediate $100 rebate that was followed by Advance Internet making monthly withdrawals from consumers’ bank accounts. These withdrawals continued until the amount, further burdened by exorbitant interest, was repaid. Consumers who elected to pay off the rebate early were told they would be assessed a termination fee equal to the original amount of the rebate.
Consumers who believe they have been targeted by a deceptive lender may file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General, toll-free, at (800) 252-8011 or access the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov