CBC: Ontario wants to revoke licence of payday cash stores

CBC News has learned that the Ontario government is going to try to revoke the licence of Cash Store Financial Services, one of the biggest cash advance stores in the country.

The Ontario Ministry of Consumer Affairs alleges that the company broke Ontario's Payday Loans Act, which limits the fees payday loan companies can charge.

Cash Store Financial Services has 200 outlets in Ontario alone: branded as InstaLoans and The Cash Store.

They operate in 19 different communities in the province.

The Ministry of Consumer Services alleges the company is guilty of "several violations" the Act. It says Cash Store has charged customers interest rates higher than the maximum allowed, or charged prohibited fees.

The ministry is asking a provincial tribunal to revoke the company's licence.

Company issues statement

Cash Store Financial Services issued a statement requesting a hearing into the matter. The company also says it’s changed the way it does business in Ontario, and says it no longer offers payday loans in the province, so any move to revoke those services won’t disrupt its operations.

Government officials are calling this a "major consumer protection enforcement action" and say they will release more information on Wednesday.

Executives at Cash Store's head office in Edmonton did not return calls from CBC News seeking comment.

The province brought in the Payday Loans Act in 2008 — designed to stop companies from charging exorbitant interest rates or hidden fees when lending money to the working poor.