q.s. quickies

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A Latin abbreviation that this Editor should consider using more often is q.s. – which stands for quantum satis or quantum sufficit and means “as much as suffices.”  Doctors sometimes state the dosage of a medication to be taken by a patient as q.s.   Some items that are worth posting here at shlep don’t need a lot of space to be effective.  Others deserve a fuller treatment but aren’t likely to get it any time soon — for them, a small dose seems better than a stale one or none at all.   

Today’s blurbs come from both of those categories:

qKeyN sKeyN  Payday Loans: With holiday shopping bills hanging over their heads, a lot of people with poor credit ratings are tempted to turn to so-called payday loans – which appear to be structured to keep people in debt.  Jeff Sovern at Consumer Law & Policy Blog noted recently that they are a hot topic in the media these days; he links to several articles, including one from the New York Times, “Seductively Easy, Payday Loans Often Snowball” (Dec. 23, 2006).  According to the Center for Responsible Lending,

“Payday lending (sometimes called cash advance) is the practice of using a post-dated check or electronic checking account information as collateral for a short-term loan. To qualify, borrowers need only personal identification, a checking account, and an income from a job or government benefits.” 

The Center offers an excellent Overview of the topic, as well as a list of the Nine Signs of a Predatory Payday loan, Payday Policy Recommendations, and more.  Check out the Georgia’s Payday Loan Law, which is considered a model for prevending such predatory loans.

billCollectorS Similar complaints are being raised about Paystub and Holiday Refund Anticipation Loans [RALs], which are short-term loans secured by the taxpayer’s expected tax refund, but are especially risky, because they’re calculated prior to filling out the borrower’s income tax forms. See Pay Stub and Holiday RALs: Faster, Costlier, Riskier in the Race to the Bottom (pdf), by Chi Chi Wu, National Consumer Law Center, and Jean Ann Fox, Consumer Federation of America (Nov. 2006); and MSNBC/AP, “Tax-refund loan seen costly,” Jan. 11, 2007.

 blackCheckS Court Facilitator programs in Washington State:  Like California, Washington State uses “courthouse facilitators” in family court matters. [via SelfHelpSupport.org]  If you’ve ever wondered just what a facilitator does to help pro se litigants, take a look at How Courthouse Facilitators Can Help, which also has links to other related topics covered at the Washington courts website. 

tinyRedCheck  “Estate Planning for Persons with Less Than $5 Million” (March 2007), is a lengthy paper available at SSRN, that is aimed at the needs of “people of moderate wealth” (viz. net worth of one to five million dollars).  It’s written by two lawyers and a professor (Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Jonathan G.; Georgiana J. Slade; and Bridget Crawford). The article explains that lifetime transfers are among the most effective ways to reduce estate taxes, and “details and evaluates eleven strategies that may apply to clients in the modest wealth category.”

 

blackCheckS New  Year legislation: The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 32 states had new laws going into effect on January 1, 2007.  They are listed by topic in New Laws Ring in the New Year (Dec. 22, 2006). 

 

qKeyG  sKeyG  Just Cancel the @#%$* Account! is an article in the Dec. 22, 2006 edition of PC World. [via ConsumerWorld.org]  Author Tom Spring noticed that many free trial offers on the web are very difficult to cancel.  To evaluate how difficult canceling an online service can be, he signed up for and then canceled 32 accounts, each at a different site (they are listed and rated). His results?

About a third of the services in my sample made the seemingly simple goal of canceling very hard to achieve (see the “Big Hassle” entries in “Want to Cancel That Service?“).

Not all of my experiences were negative. Services such as a monthly New York Times TimesSelect online subscription and a monthly Consumer Reports Online account took only minutes to cancel and without lingering strings. But some others made me feel as though I’d joined the Sopranos’ family business: Once I signed up, there was no quitting!

 

1 Comment

  1. shlep: the Self-Help Law ExPress » Blog Archive » back again, like a payday loan

    January 14, 2007 @ 4:12 pm

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    […]   “Payday loans” must really be addictive (like consumer activists insist), ’cause I couldn’t keep myself from writing about them again today (see our post on Jan. 11).  Here’s a definition from Payday Loan Times (which is discussed below): A payday loan [or “payday advance“] is a short-term cash loan (usually between one and two weeks), issued to consumers. It is expected that the borrower will repay the loan after receiving his/her next paycheck. Unlike a traditional loan from a bank, there are no credit checks run on the applicant. Loans are usually issued in less than 24 hours, and are around $500. Payday loans can be obtained in person, via fax, or online. […]

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