New Mexico ex rel. King v. B&B Investment Group, Inc.Annotate this Case
In January 2006, two former payday lenders, defendants B&B Investment Group, Inc., and American Cash Loans, LLC, began to market and originate high-cost signature of $50 to $300, primarily to less-educated and financially unsophisticated individuals. The loans were for twelve months, payable biweekly, and carried annual percentage rates ranging from 1,147.14 to 1,500%. The Attorney General’s Office sued Defendants, alleging that the loan products were procedurally and substantively unconscionable under the common law and that they violated the Unfair Practices Act (UPA). The district court found that Defendants’ marketing and loan origination procedures were unconscionable and enjoined certain of its practices in the future, but declined to find the high-cost loans substantively unconscionable, concluding that it is the Legislature’s responsibility to determine limits on interest rates. Both parties appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s finding of procedural unconscionability. However, the Court reversed the district court’s refusal to find that the loans were substantively unconscionable because under the UPA, courts have the responsibility to determine whether a contract results in a gross disparity between the value received by a person and the price paid. The Supreme Court concluded that the interest rates in this case were substantively unconscionable and violated the UPA.