I know I mentioned this briefly in the update to my previous post, but it still irks me, so I thought I’d bring it up again.
Back on July 3rd I put a comment up on the blog of the “Spend Your Way to Wealth” guys, Smith & Merritt—specifically on their post about Payday loan places. By July 5th my comment had been removed. Admittedly, of course, it’s their prerogative to decide what can and can’t be up on their blog, but consider what they say in this post:
Feel free to play rough and tumble, challenge us, ask us questions. All we ask is you keep it polite. No foul language or rudeness. We love a good dialogue and we love explaining why we believe the way we do. Still, we do reserve the right to edit posts if we determine them to be offensive.They apparently have an unreasonably broad definition for the term “offensive” (as well as “edit”). I certainly didn’t use any foul language. Nor was I rude—unless they define “rude” as any disagreement with them. Unfortunately I did not save a copy of exactly what I wrote, but here is the gist of it:
Payday loan places may be a “scourge,” but how will making them illegal be helpful to their typical customer? Reducing a person’s available options seems rather likely to hurt them, instead.It was something like that, anyway. Does that seem rude or offensive to you? If not, then why do you suppose they removed the comment?
If you truly believe that these businesses are overcharging their customers, then this suggests a profit opportunity. Why not set up a competitive shop in the neighborhoods where you find these places and then undercut them? I suspect, though, that their near-ubiquity means that they are already quite competitive with one-another, and are thus already charging the lowest price the market will bear. This means that making them illegal will almost certainly result in making credit even more expensive for the very people you are complaining are already being overcharged! How is what you suggest, then, going to be helpful?
Subsequent to the deletion of my first comment I wrote a second one expressing my disappointment at what I saw as cowardice on their part. Not surprisingly, that one was also quickly removed. Could it be that Smith & Merritt have no room for gray areas when it comes to debt? Unfortunately, if you are faced with a situation where you have to choose between spending an extra $50 or having your electricity shut off for 2 weeks, then sticking your head in the sand, as Smith & Merritt would apparently counsel you to do, isn’t going to help.