I’m all in favor of consumer reporters. They usually find lots of good ideas on how to save people money or expose shady practices being used by proprietors of businesses defrauding the public.

But she also writes one negative payday loan article after another. Over and over again, they come at us. But Ms. Harris thinks she is above being questioned. She is never challenged to answer basic questions.

Until now.

Calling out Sheryl Harris, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Ms. Harris, please answer the following:

1) Payday loans are used by 12 million people annually. If they are so bad, then why do people return to them over and over again, over all other short term credit choices (borrowing from a friend, credit union loans, credit card cash advances, installment loans, auto title loans, paying utility reconnect fees, using Billfloat, or paying overdraft fees?

2) Why do you refer to it as a “Triple digit interest rate” when loans are for two weeks, not for one year? When you get dinged for a $2 ATM fee, do you call it 36,500% APR?

2A) Do you believe consumers choose their credit based upon APR or the flat fee charged?

3) Have you ever needed a payday loan, ever been to a store, or ever spoken to customers IN a store at the time they took out a loan? If so, how many?

3A) Why have you never once written about customers who like payday loans and are satisfied with them?

4) Are you aware that a 28% APR rate cap kills payday lending, because it represents a 90% revenue cut? What do you think people will do if payday lending is banned?

(Don’t bother pointing to the Pew Study. I already debunked it here: http://www.bloggernews.net/128954)

5) Payday lending has been in existence since 1990. The market roots out and ruthlessly kills products that do not work. Payday loans are going strong. If they were so terrible, then by now the word would have gotten out, especially considering the media’s literally daily bashing of them. So why do people keep using them?

5A) The Better Business Bureau only recorded 3,300 complaints across one hundred million transactions in 2012. If payday loans are so bad, and Americans are so great at complaining, then where are all the complaints?

6) Do you believe people should be able to choose what’s best for themselves, or are you a Nanny Statist that believes people who use products responsibly should be punished for the few who don’t?

7) Have you considered that one reason the Plain Dealer is in serious financial trouble is its readership is sick of biased reporting?

You won’t respond. You’re “too busy”, I’m sure, writing your next anti-payday lending screed. That’s what all payday opponents say when they get called out. Or will you cite the oh-so-noble Center for Responsible Lending — the “consumer advocate” that issues biased studies, and uses its $8 million in annual grants to hire lobbyists instead of coming up with a better product?

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