States crack down on predatory 200% pet store loans

Some pet stores sell puppies on an installment plan with annual interest rates of 199%, making an already-expensive puppy ($5,000 or more) cost $20,000 in the long run. Some states are going after these pet stores that are taking advantage of people in a highly emotional state.

From The Washington Post:

"They are preying on people who are making an emotional decision," said California state Rep. Brian Maienschein (D), who sponsored the bill [to regulate the loans]. "These are not reasonable loans, the terms are predatory, in some cases doubling the cost of the pet. That's absurd."

The founder of Puppyland, which has six stores infour states, defended the company's practice of using finance companies that offer the high-interest loans, arguing that it gives pet owners more flexibility.

"These interest rates are not unique to Puppyland and Puppyland has no control over the interest rates our customers receive when working with 3rd parties for financing," Kayla Kerr said in a statement, adding that the company has no plans to change its loan policies. "If we were to suspend this option, it essentially narrows the choice for the customer and we would not want to do that."

The Post contacted one of the finance companies, EasyPay, which provided the following statement:

"Many Americans are left behind by the traditional banking and credit system. EasyPay facilitates financing options to ensure that these consumers have a trusted and secure choice to access otherwise unavailable credit for pressing needs and discretionary purposes," a statement from the company said, adding that it offers "a range of credit tiers based on a borrower's credit profile."