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How to Lose a Truck Quickly, in Nevada

LAS VEGAS (CN) - A usurious lender seized and sold a retiree's truck illegally because allowing him to cure the default as required by state law would have reduced the interest rate it was charging by more than 150 percent, the man claims in court.

Sixty-four-year-old Wayne Fischer claims EZ Money Loans piled fees onto a 182.5 percent interest loan to seize his truck and sell it for less than $2,000, though its Blue Book value was $8,775.

Fischer lived on his $489 monthly Social Security check and $400 a month from his roommate when took out two title loans from TitleMax in December 2013 and used his 2006 Ford Ranger pickup as collateral, he says in the Oct. 19 complaint in Clark County Court.

By the next month he realized he could not repay them, so on Jan. 30, 2014 he borrowed $2,490 from EZ Pawn Nevada dba EZ Money Loans, at 182.5 percent interest, he says. He had until March 1, 2014 to pay off the $2,863.50 due to TitleMax.

TitleMax is not a defendant. The defendants are EZ Pawn, EZ Money, Doe individuals and Roe corporations.

Fischer says he owed only TitleMax $2,004.32, but EZ Money offered to loan him an additional $485.68, without a clear explanation of its terms, knowing he could not repay the total loan within a month.

When that happened, Fischer says, he paid EZ Money a $373.50 finance charge in March to extend the loan for 30 days, then paid the same finance charge again in April. He defaulted on April 30, and EZ Money repossessed his pickup on July 30.

EZ Money sold it to a used car dealer for $1,935, thought its Kelley Blue Book was $8,775, and the car dealer resold it for $8,063.32, according to the complaint.

Fischer's attorney Christine Miller said in an interview that Nevada law requires EZ Money to offer a defaulted borrower the chance to keep his property by repaying the loan at the prime interest rate plus 10 percent - but that high-interest lenders don't like to let borrowers do that.

"They talk them into rolling over the loan and renewing the terms," Miller said. "They don't want a default, because they get lower terms than the original contract."

Miller said Fischer told her he could have repaid the loan under its legally revised terms after default, but, "Strangely enough, when they sent the letter, they forgot the unit number."

According to the complaint, EZ Money left Fischer's apartment number off its notice, though it had two copies of it, on his loan documents and the truck title. And its notice of disposition stating that his truck would be sold did not provide the correct date or time, the complaint states.

Within 60 days of repossessing a vehicle, Nevada law requires creditors to give a defaulted debtor a right to redemption notice, giving them 10 days to redeem the vehicle, and the creditor must provide a notice of intent to sell, including the date and location of the sale.

Because the disposition he received had the wrong date and time and EZ Money did not send other notices to his correct address, though it had two copies of it, Fischer says, the sale of his truck was not "commercially reasonable," as required by Nevada law.

He seeks rescission of the loan and punitive damages for bad faith, failure to execute a commercially viable sale, and a refund of $747 in loan payments.

Miller is with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

EZ Pawn did not respond to requests for comment.

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