“Live” checks: Bad deal that preys on elderly
AUGUSTA – A measure that prohibits financial institutions and creditors from mailing unsolicited loan offers known as “live” checks made its first round through the Maine Senate today.
“After receiving multiple ‘live’ checks in the mail, I was inspired to submit this legislation,” said Democratic Senator Linda Valentino of Saco, the sponsor of the measure. “While I was lucky enough to determine the false nature of these checks, it can be incredibly difficult to know what to do. It’s no wonder why so many others are misled into applying for loans and getting locked into a never-ending cycle of debt.”
The bill enacts a new provision in the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act prohibiting the use of a solicitation designed to resemble a “negotiable instrument,” including a check, unless the document clearly states on its face that it is not negotiable. Uncharted loan companies would be prohibited from mailing the solicitations, which have the appearance of an actual check but when cashed by the recipient constitute acceptance of a loan.
The measure protects both consumers and business to business solicitation.
“Now when someone receives one of these ‘live’ checks they can call the Attorney General and they will have an avenue to protect themselves,” added Senator Valentino. “These companies should not be allowed to prey on the elderly or other folks who may be down on hard times.”
The measure was supported by the Superintendent of the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection Will Lund and Assistant Attorney General Linda Conti.
The bill, LD 455, “An Act To Prohibit Deceptive Practices Regarding Negotiable Investments” will now go to the House for consideration.