When Betty Morrison moved to London, she was trying to escape a payday loan that she couldn’t afford to repay.

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When Betty Morrison moved to London, she was trying to escape a payday loan that she couldn’t afford to repay.

Now she’s battling the same cycle after turning to a high-interest loan to pay a $ 300 surgery bill for her dog. She feels stuck, taking more and more payday loans from different lenders in an attempt to catch up.

“Not everyone has a family, not everyone has someone to rely on for that kind of money,” Morrison said.

“I had to pay for my dog ​​or she would be dead.”

She’s reached a breaking point. Morrison, 46, said she plans to seek credit counseling in hopes of tackling her debt.

“I can not do it. I can no longer afford payday loans, ”she said. “There is no way to get you through.”

It’s a growing problem for people across the country, and a London advocacy group is calling for regulatory changes and alternative options for those who don’t have enough money to cover bills or emergency expenses. .

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The London branch of Acorn Canada, a newly formed activist group, is calling on federal and provincial governments to crack down on controversial payday lenders by lowering the maximum interest rate, ensuring borrowers understand the terms different from traditional loans and creating – interest credit, among other recommendations.

The province regulates payday lenders, capping the fees they can charge at $ 15 for every $ 100 borrowed for two weeks. This represents an annual interest rate of 391 percent.

London North Center NDP MP Terence Kernaghan said his party was also pushing for a borrower’s bill of rights.

“A lot of people feel they haven’t been told about the additional products, a lot are unaware of their reimbursement terms, and the majority of people are very uncomfortable with negotiating prices,” Kernaghan said. .

He would also like to set the maximum interest rates at an annual rate of 20%, plus the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate.

“This leaves room for maneuver for these small businesses to turn a profit, but not profit off the backs of people in difficulty.”

  1. Payday lenders in Canada are increasingly stifled by regulation as more municipalities seek to impose restrictions on their business activities and limit the number of physical locations.

    Constitution blitz suggests payday lenders follow new rules

  2. A payday loan facility is featured on Grand Avenue West in Chatham Friday.  Chatham-Kent council will receive a report regarding possible industry regulations at Monday's meeting.  (Trevor Terfloth / The Daily News)

    Municipalities target payday lenders

In London, Ward 3 Coun. Mo Salih lobbied for stricter rules for payday loan stores, and the city council tightened its business licensing regulations in 2017. Payday lenders are now required to post interest rates in a highly visible place and hand out brochures on debt counseling and money management to anyone who expresses an interest in a loan.

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A blitz stopped the following year said all targeted businesses had complied with the rules.

Acorn’s problem is also the growing number of options online for getting money fast. That’s what Morrison used, turning to loans she could easily get online through mobile phone apps amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People need to be educated about their reimbursement rights and responsibilities even more,” said Kernaghan.

“You wouldn’t want someone to just click a few screens without reading the fine print and then find they are paying outrageous rates.”

Morrison said she felt like there was nowhere to turn for help.

“There is no help for anyone on a poor or even moderate income,” she said.

“There is no more common ground. There are poor and rich.

CURIOUS LONDON

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