The Cash Store, which also operates as Instaloans, has been ordered to repay more than $1 million to B.C. customers who were charged exorbitant interest rates on payday loans.
Under law, payday lenders cannot charge any higher than 23 per cent interest per month.
But, between November 2009 and March 2012, Cash Store Financial Group, which operates as the Cash Store and Instaloans in B.C., was doing just that, by charging customers extra to load the loans onto debit cards, before cashing them.
A CBC News investigation at the time found one customer paying approximately 35 per cent a month.
Consumer Protection B.C. took the Cash Store to court to force the company to pay back the money.
Now, Manjit Bains of Consumer Protection BC, says Cash Store has lost.
"Consumers have waited long enough, and it's time for Cash Store to refund their money," said Bains.
Before the legal battle, the Cash Store was ordered to place $1 million into a trust account. It's that money that will be used to repay the customers, who in total took out 68,000 loans over the course of 27 months.
If the Cash Store is unable to find all of the overcharged customers, Consumer Protection B.C. will take over the search.
The Cash Store has 30 days to appeal the ruling.
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Despite at first denying its involvement, the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/benetton-factory-collapse-new-take_n_3187924.html?utm_hp_ref=business" target="_blank">UK apparel brand Benetton admitted it had connections with the Bangladeshi factory</a> that collapsed in April, killing more than 400 people. In an emailed statement to The Huffington Post, Biagio Chiarolanza, CEO of Benetton Group, wrote: <blockquote>As a company, we are constantly working to strengthen the measures and initiatives already in place - our own as well as those to which we participate - in the markets in which we are present. Our objective is to contribute to a significant and lasting improvement in workers' conditions and the environment in which they operate. Regarding this, we are in contact with global non-profit organizations as well as with organizations such as the International Labour Organization, to evaluate how to support further initiatives specifically designed for Bangladesh. At the same time, this is such a tragedy that no one in the industry should feel above it. As such, Benetton will make funds available to the victims of the families as every member of our industry has a moral obligation to intervene in their support.</blockquote>
Last December, a Los Angeles garment factory associated with dozens of retailers, including Urban Outfitters, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/14/sweatshop-la-fashion-urban-outfitters-aldo-forever-21_n_2302493.html" target="_blank">was accused by the Department of Labor of "sweatshop-like" labor practices</a>.
Converse ceased manufacturing in the U.S. after being bought by Nike in 2003. Since then, workers at a supplier making the sneakers have claimed that supervisors abused them and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/13/nike-faces-new-worker-abuse-indonesia_n_896816.html" target="_blank">even threw shoes at them as they worked.</a>
Workers at a Levi suppliers' <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/content/levis-gap-garment-workers-strike-cambodia" target="_blank">plant in Cambodia went on strike over substandard working conditions</a> in 2012.
Forever 21 was also one of the brands that was accused of using the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/14/sweatshop-la-fashion-urban-outfitters-aldo-forever-21_n_2302493.html" target="_blank">Los Angeles supplier</a> accused of "sweatshop-like" practices.
A Chinese supplier for the sneaker brand Keds reportedly <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=9Pascy_5HUMC&pg=PA171&lpg=PA171&dq=keds+sweatshops&source=bl&ots=o49jdh6z22&sig=gHOVGuFBM5jbTKXqM_Lwj0-EfTs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=e0aAUfDKArHo0AHRpoGYCQ&ved=0CHEQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=keds%20sweatshops&f=false" target="_blank">locked workers behind 15-foot walls</a>, according to a 2000 study by the National Labor Committee entitled "Made in China."
Famous for its outdoor clothing and apparel, L.L. Bean was roundly <a href="http://www.laborrights.org/sites/default/files/publications-and-resources/sweatshop_hall_shame_2010.pdf" target="_blank">criticized in 2010 for not boycotting cotton from Uzbekistan,</a> a nation notorious for its use of <a href="http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/21/cotton-exporters-using-child-labor/" target="_blank">child labor</a>, according to the International Labor Rights Forum.
Swedish fashion brand H&M was associated with supplier Garib & Garib Newaj, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/02/hm-factory-fire-in-bangla_n_482170.html" target="_blank">the owner of a Bangladesh factory that burned down in 2010, killing 21 people</a>.
Despite their mission to donate shoes to children in need, TOMS has been criticized for <a href="http://www.thefineprintuf.org/2011/05/01/a-closer-look-at-toms/" target="_blank">being vague about measures it's taken to uphold fair labor standards</a> in China, Ethiopia and Argentina, where it makes the majority of its products.
Pier 1 Imports
The home goods chain reportedly did business with a <a href="http://www.laborrights.org/sites/default/files/publications-and-resources/sweatshop_hall_shame_2010.pdf" target="_blank">Chinese supplier that refused to allow some 200 employers</a> to organize a workers' association, according to International Labor Rights Forum.