Cash Converters Queensland class actions

Two class actions by Maurice Blackburn commenced in the Federal Court of Australia seeking compensation for Queensland borrowers who took out payday loans from Cash Converters stores or online.

SETTLEMENT UPDATE

The deadline to update bank account details was 6 March 2020.

If you are a Group Member and you need to update your bank details please contact Maurice Blackburn as soon as possible on 1800 550 587 or you may not receive a refund.

Settlement APPROVAL AND NEXT STEPS

The Settlement Approval Hearing was held on Tuesday 24 March 2020. The Settlement was approved by the Federal Court.

Due to various requirements under the Federal Court Rules and Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth), refunds cannot be distributed to group members until an appeal period of 49 days has passed. In other words, Maurice Blackburn cannot, under law, distribute the settlement sum within the 49 day period due to the risk that the decision could be appealed in that time.

The first tranche of refund payments will be made to Group Members as soon as possible after the appeal period has passed. This will be around late May 2020.

Refund payments will be made by EFT transfer. Once refund payments have been made by Maurice Blackburn, Group Members will receive written correspondence, informing them of the date and amount of their refund payment.

The second and final refund payment to Group Members will be made in December 2020, once the second payment of the settlement sum has been received from the respondents.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

We are aware that many Group Members may be experiencing financial difficulties in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maurice Blackburn is working hard in this time to ensure that all Group Members receive their refund payments as soon as possible. At this time we do not anticipate any disruption to payments being made in late May 2020.

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Notice of proposed settlement

CASH CONVERTERS QUEENSLAND "PERSONAL LOANS" CLASS ACTION

Sean Lynch v Cash Converters Personal Finance Pty Ltd (ACN 110 275 762) and Anor (NSD900/2015)

On 21 October 2019 an in-principle agreement to settle the Cash Converters Personal Loans Class Action was reached.

This means that Cash Converters has agreed to refund money to eligible Personal Loans customers.

The Federal Court approved the settlement at a hearing on 24 March 2020.

Summary of the Approved Settlement

The key terms of the settlement are:

  • Cash Converters agreed to pay a total of $42,500,000, including costs.
  • The settlement sum will be paid in two tranches: The first tranche of $32,500,000 in late 2019 the second tranche of $10,000,000 before 30 September 2020.
  • Refunds to group members will also be paid in two tranches. The first tranche of refunds will be paid in around May 2020.
  • The costs of running the class action and administering the settlement must be approved by the Court as reasonable before they are paid.
  • In agreeing to settle the Class Action, Cash Converters have not admitted any liability.
  • Group members will be deemed to have released Cash Converters from the time that the settlement becomes final and will not be able to bring any further claim in relation to these matters.

If you need more information, please contact our team: 

Email: ccqld@mauriceblackburn.com.au 

Phone: 1800 550 587 

Further Information

A Group Member is someone who took out a “Personal Loan” (typically between $600 and $2,000 paid off in about 6 months) from a Cash Converters store in Queensland (or online if they were a Queensland resident) between 30 July 2009 to 30 June 2013 and paid a fee styled as a ‘broker’s’ fee or ‘brokerage’ fee.

Pawn broking loans and other Cash Converters products, including Cash Advances, are not included in this class action settlement. Information about the Cash Advances Class Action, which has now concluded, can be found here.

Group Members were sent a Notice of Proposed Settlement (Notice) during the period from 20 January 2020 to 31 January 2020. 

The Notice was sent to the last known contact details Cash Converters held for each Group Member. The Notice will also contain the bank account details which the refund will be paid into.

If you did not receive a Notice but believe you are a Group Member please contact Maurice Blackburn at the contact details listed below.

Maurice Blackburn will rely on the Group Member contact and bank details provided by Cash Converters to process refunds.

If you received a Notice and the bank details listed are incorrect, they must be updated as soon as possible. You can update your details via https://classaction.mauriceblackburn.com.au/CCQLD using the unique ID Code that was provided to you in the Notice.

If you received a Notice and the bank details listed are correct, you do not need to do anything.

If you are having difficulty updating your details, please call Maurice Blackburn on 1800 550 587 as soon as possible.

The first tranche refunds will be paid in late May 2020. The second tranche payment will be paid in around December 2020.

The exact amount of the refund cannot be determined now.

Refunds will be calculated on the basis of the ‘brokerage’ fee paid by each Group Member. The Court must approve the proposed method of calculation as fair.

Group Members’ legal rights will be affected by the proposed settlement. Group Members will be deemed to have provided a release to Cash Converters if the Federal Court approves the settlement and either:

(a) No appeal is commenced within 49 days; or
(b) An appeal is commenced but the result of that appeal is that the settlement is approved.

At 10.15am on 24 March 2020, the Federal Court of Australia held a hearing to decide if the settlement is fair and reasonable and in the interests of the Group Members. The Court approved the settlement.

The time to object to the settlement has now passed. The Federal Court approved the settlement on 24 March 2020.

This Class Action was started in 2015 in the Federal Court of Australia by Mr Sean Lynch, represented by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

Mr Lynch said customers paid too much for their Personal Loan products with Cash Converters in Queensland. He said this was because Cash Converters charged a ‘brokerage’ fee on Personal Loans which meant that customers were paying more than 175% per annum in interest. Mr Lynch alleged that this was in breach of consumer protection laws which provides that interest rates are not allowed to be more than 48% per annum. Mr Lynch also argued that Cash Converters acted unconscionably by charging the ‘brokerage’ fees and interest upon those fees.

Mr Lynch claimed refund money for himself and everyone who obtained a Cash Converters Personal Loan in a Queensland store (or online, and the borrower lived in Queensland) between 30 July 2009 and 30 June 2013, and paid a brokerage fee.

The allegations are denied by Cash Converters.

From 22 October 2018 to 9 November 2018 the Class Action went to a hearing at the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney. Before the judge handed down her decision, the parties agreed to settle the matter out of Court. In agreeing to settle the claims, Cash Converters did not admit liability. The effect of the settlement will ultimately be that the proceedings will be dismissed following payments to group members.

Documents relevant to the case and settlement can be found here. 

If there is anything you do not understand or if you have any questions, do not contact the Federal Court or Cash Converters. You may seek independent legal advice or contact Maurice Blackburn.

Our contact details are:

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
Level 21, 380 La Trobe Street Melbourne VIC 3000
Email: ccqld@mauriceblackburn.com.au
Phone: 1800 550 587


Supporting information