Dissatisfied Customers

Julia Harte, Michael Keller, Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein & Nick Nehamas

Like all payday loan companies, lending enterprises affiliated with Native American tribes receive thousands of complaints each year. Traditional brick-and-mortar payday loan storefronts had mostly local customers who could always come back to complain about an unfair fee or deceptive contract. But when remote tribes turned to online payday lending, they garnered a far more dispersed clientele.

A wide reach

Tribes in remote areas reach customers all over the country, as shown in FTC complaints filed against them. The largest, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, has over a thousand from last year.

Select a tribeHover over or tap a tribe's bar to see where its payday lending businesses attracted angry reviews from loan customers. Darker lines mean more complaints from that city.

Complaints per tribe (Feb '13 — Feb '14)


Consumer complaints against tribe-affiliated companies range from misunderstandings to potential lawsuits. Through a Freedom of Information request to the FTC we obtained 56 complaints from payday lending companies? Wakpamni Lake Community of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Fast Money Store, Boulevard Cash, Cash Cloud Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake Golden Valley Lending, Mountain Summit Financial, Silver Cloud Financial La Posta Band of Mission Indians Harvest Moon Loans, Gentle Breeze Loans Guidiville Indian Rancheria National Payday Loans, Gallery Cash Now affiliated with the Wakpamni Lake Community of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Guidiville Indian Rancheria, the La Posta Band of Mission Indians, and the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake.

Read a selection below and scroll down to read them all by category.

Note: These complaints have not been investigated by the FTC nor have they been independently verified.

Excessive fees

Payday lending companies make money by charging high interest but also through hidden fees in the application process. Many consumers report being charged hundreds of dollars just to get a loan approved.

Excessive calls or threats

Payday lending companies often threaten arrest or garnishing wages when people have difficulty repaying.

Operating in states where illegal

Tribal lenders are exempt from state bans on payday lending, which can cause confusion among consumers who discover that they took out an "illegal" note and want the state to cancel their debt.

Consumers who did not apply for loans

In some cases, consumers report money being deposited into their account without their approval and knowledge. They report how difficult it is to speak to the company to rectify the situation.

All complaints

Show complaints about...
Show complaints about...
Show complaints against the...
No complaints found. Please use fewer filters.