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Online payday loan company forced out of Missouri |

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – A South Dakota based online lender agrees to stop doing business with Missouri consumers. Attorney General Chris Koster is forcing the payday loan company out of Missouri.

As many as 6,300 Missouri consumers are victims. Each applied for online loans with one or more of the 8 operations run by a single individual.

Martin “Butch” Webb was doing business from a Native American reservation in South Dakota. The computer loans are short term with outragious fees and requires the consumer agree to wage garnishment if needed to ensure payback. Now, the lender must pay $270,000 in restitution and immediately stop collecting on outstanding loan payments.

Koster said Martin A. “Butch” Webb acted through numerous business entities operating from a Native American reservation in South Dakota, including Payday Financial, Western Sky Financial, Lakota Cash, Great Sky Finance, Red Stone Financial, Big Sky Cash, Lakota Cash, and Financial Solutions, none of which were licensed to do business in Missouri.

38.627003 -90.199404


Cash-strapped Ukraine expects IMF loan decision by late Jan

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine expects the International Monetary Fund to reach a decision on the disbursement of its next multi-billion dollar instalment of financial aid by late January, a senior presidential official said on Wednesday.

Ukraine has so far received two tranches of aid under the IMF programme worth a combined $4.6 billion, under a $17 billion (11 billion) bailout package agreed in April to shore up its foreign currency reserves and support the economy.

The third payment was delayed as the IMF waited for the formation of a new government, which has pledged to carry out the extensive reforms required under the bailout.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Valeriy Chaly said an IMF mission would visit Kiev in early January for the next round of talks on the loan programme, which the country has asked to have increased.

“We expect that all the decisions on macro-financial help will be reached by the last 10 days of January,” Chaly said in a televised briefing.

Ukraine’s foreign currency reserves have more than halved since the start of the year to a 10-year low due to gas debt repayments to Russia and efforts to support its struggling currency, the hryvnia.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said Kiev, facing the additional financial burden of the rebellion in its eastern territories, risks defaulting unless Western donors come up with more funds in addition to what has already been pledged.

First deputy finance minister Ihor Umansky said on Wednesday that it was too soon to talk of restructuring the country’s debt.

“The question of restructuring … is not currently a subject of discussions,” he said at a briefing. “Until the aid package is agreed for Ukraine, it’s too early to discuss this.”

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets and Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Politics & GovernmentBudget, Tax & EconomyInternational Monetary FundUkraineforeign currency reserves […]

What It's Like To Live Without A Bank Account For A Day

The challenge was simple, or so it seemed: Pay my bills and complete a handful of money-related errands before my work shift began at noon. It was harder than I ever could have imagined.

In reality, I wasn’t handling my own finances; I was participating in a simulation of what it’s like to be one of the underbanked—that is, to be one of the 7.7% of Americans with limited access to traditional banking services. The Financial Solutions Lab, a spin-off of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), put on the simulation for a group of entrepreneurs, nonprofit employees, and banking executives so that they could come up with new product ideas for addressing the challenges of cash flow management.

We ended up waiting for nearly half an hour while the store decided it couldn’t cash one of the checks.

During the two-hour simulation, the group was split up into teams and given a series of tasks to complete. These included buying a general purpose re-loadable card (GPR) and loading it up with cash, cashing a payroll check and a personal check, completing a money transfer and then picking up a money transfer card from another team, and paying the balance of a monthly rent bill.

My team—Paul Breloff, managing director of the Accion Venture Lab, Ethan Bloch, the CEO of digit, and myself—walked around San Francisco’s Mission District, popping into the payday loan and cash advance outfits, with names like Ace Cash Express and Money Mart, that I had passed so many times before without even a second glance.

Our first problem came at Ria’s, a storefront where we planned to cash our checks and load up our GPR card. We ended up waiting for nearly half an hour while the store decided it couldn’t cash one of the checks because we couldn’t immediately get verification from the sender that it was legitimate.

Ace Cash was willing to take care of the checks and GPR quickly, but for a significantly higher fee. Still, Ace Cash refused to let us pay the $10 balance from our monthly rent bill. The transaction was “declined for unspecified reasons.”

Western Union presented yet another challenge. Upon arriving at the storefront, we were told that their system was down. Eventually, we were told that the other team instructed to pick up our money transfer could do so at any Western Union—but we were charged a $5 fee for our $30 transaction.

Though we failed to complete our tasks, my team still won the competition. The other teams, apparently, finished even fewer tasks.

Normally, I take care of the vast majority of my financial transactions online. But as the FinX simulation made clear, the options for the underbanked are often limited to opaque in-person transactions that suck up large amounts of time. These transactions are unreliable; one team couldn’t pay their rent check because of a systems failure at a storefront, and Western Union failed us all. Customers have to wait on long lines, and there are few options for self-service.

All of these pain points are fixable, and there are plenty of startups that are working in the underbanked financial services space. None have really taken off yet, but CFSI is hoping that its new Financial Solutions Lab—a $30 million, five year initiative that will offer funding and resources to financial security entrepreneurs—will provide new solutions.

For now, banking without a traditional bank account remains a time-consuming, exhausting experience.


CFPB Targets Payday Lender's 'Cash-Grab Scam'

A new, brazen fraud begins with a twist: Instead of losing money, consumers get money, which is unexpectedly deposited into their checking account. But the surprise windfall turns into a big headache, and even bigger bills, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says in a lawsuit disclosed Wednesday.

The cash comes from a payday lender owned by a firm named The Hydra Group, which turns around and immediately begins charging huge fees and interest against the unexpected deposit, the CFPB says. Some consumers received $200 or $300, then saw $60-$90 in fees withdrawn from their accounts every two weeks “indefinitely.”

“The Hydra Group has been running a brazen and illegal cash-grab scam, taking money from consumers’ bank accounts without their consent,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “The utter disregard for the law shown by the Hydra Group and the men controlling it is shocking, and we are taking decisive action to prevent any more consumers from being harmed.”

When consumers or banks challenged the unexpected deposits and withdrawals, Hydra officials produced fake paperwork that they claimed authorized the transactions, the CFPB alleges.

The Hydra Group did not immediately respond to request for comment.

How Consumers Got Drawn In

The CFPB says trouble began for consumers when they entered their personal information into websites that promised to match borrowers with payday lenders. The Hydra Group uses information bought from those firms to access consumers’ checking accounts to illegally deposit payday loans and withdraw fees without consent.

Its collection of roughly 20 businesses includes SSM Group, Hydra Financial Limited Funds, PCMO Services and Piggycash Online Holdings. The entities are based in Kansas City, Mo., but many of them are incorporated offshore, in New Zealand or the Commonwealth of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Including some payday loans that were authorized by consumers, over a 15-month period the Hydra Group made $97.3 million in payday loans and collected $115.4 million from consumers in return, according to the CFPB.

The CFPB lodged its complaint against the Hydra Group and requested a temporary restraining order in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on Sept. 9, 2014.

The Hydra Group was also sued by the FTC. Over one 11-month period between 2012 and 2013, the defendants issued $28 million in payday “loans” to consumers, and, in return, extracted more than $46.5 million from their bank accounts, the FTC alleged.

Other Allegations From the CFPB:

Some consumers have had to get stop-payment orders or close their bank accounts to put an end to these bi-weekly debits. In some cases, consumers have been bilked out of thousands of dollars in finance charges.Consumers typically get the loans without having seen the finance charge, annual percentage rate, total number of payments or payment schedule. Even where consumers do receive loan terms upfront, the Bureau believes they contain misleading or inaccurate statements. For instance, the Hydra Group tells consumers that it will charge a one-time fee for the loan. In reality, it collects that fee every two weeks indefinitely, and it does not apply any of those payments toward reducing the loan principal.Even in the cases where consumers consented to loans from the Hydra Group, the defendants violated federal law by requiring consumers to agree to repay by pre-authorized electronic fund transfers. Federal law says repayment of loans cannot be conditioned on consumers’ pre-authorization of recurring electronic fund transfers.Even when consumers successfully close their deposit accounts, the Bureau alleges that in many cases the Hydra Group sells the bogus debt to third-party debt collectors. Though there is no legitimate basis for the debt, consumers are still contacted and pursued for loans they never agreed to.

If you’re having issues with a payday loan scam (or any kind of financial scam), it’s important to watch your bank and credit card statements for unauthorized activity, and to work with the financial institution to shut down accounts that are being accessed illegally. It’s also important to keep an eye on your credit reports for unauthorized debts and to watch your credit scores for big changes that could indicate a problem on your credit reports. Consumers are allowed one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. They can also sign up to monitor their credit scores for free using a resource like

More from
The Truth About Payday Loans6 Payday Loan AlternativesHow to Use Free Credit MonitoringLoansFinancials IndustryCFPBpayday loansbank accounts […]

Seventh Circuit: Claims against payday loan provider can continue …

Recently, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes the states of Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, overturned a lower court’s ruling when it decided to allow a class action lawsuit against an online payday loans provider to continue.

The suit involves three plaintiffs who each borrowed $2,525 from Western Sky Financial LLC, one of several online payday loan businesses operated by the defendant. The plaintiffs charged that the loans violated federal and state lending laws.

The defendant, who is a member of the Cheyenne River tribe, argued that the lawsuits should be dismissed out of federal court because of an arbitration provision in the loan agreements providing that Cheyenne River tribal courts should have jurisdiction over any disputes.

The lower court judge initially agreed and dismissed the claims in 2012, but the Seventh Circuit decided last month that the claims can continue after determining that the arbitration clause in the loan agreements was “unreasonable” and “unconscionable” to the borrowers.

What that means is the suit will be able to continue and a federal court will decide whether the loans — which charged interest rates of up to 139 percent — were violated federal and state lending laws.

The same defendant is also facing a federal racketeering class action lawsuit. He also agreed to pay fines close to $1 million to the Federal Trade Commission after being accused of engaging in “unfair and deceptive tactics to collect on payday loans.”

As you can see, there are many payday loan providers throughout the country who run questionable, if not criminal, operations. That’s why it’s important to seek out options such as credit counseling or debt negotiation in effort to find a solution to your debt problem instead of making your financial situation worse.

Additionally, it’s vital to work with a service that is trustworthy and professional — one that has your best interests at heart and won’t take advantage of your situation.

Source: The Cook County Record, “Seventh Circuit revives class action suit over payday loans; calls arbitration clause “unconscionable” and process “a sham,” Jonathan Bilyk, Aug. 25, 2014


American Apparel lender Lion Capital demands $10-million loan be paid

The wealthy playboy behind American Apparel Inc.’s latest crisis isn’t ousted Chief Executive Dov Charney. It’s a London financier named Lyndon Lea.

American Apparel told securities regulators Tuesday that Lea’s private equity firm, Lion Capital, has formally demanded repayment of the nearly $10 million it lent to the Los Angeles retailer, which carries a sky-high annual interest rate of 20%.

A default could throw the company into bankruptcy by triggering demands for repayment on additional debts. Those debts include a $30-million loan from Capital One and $206 million in senior secured notes — a kind of corporate IOU.

“It’s like pulling on a thread of a cheap suit, and the whole thing just falls apart at the seams,” said Craig Johnson, president of consulting firm Customer Growth Partners.

It’s like pulling on a thread of a cheap suit, and the whole thing just falls apart at the seams.- Craig Johnson, president of consulting firm Customer Growth Partners

American Apparel said it doesn’t believe Lion Capital’s claims are valid and may seek damages against the London investment firm for improperly accelerating payment of the loan, according to a filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company’s directors last month voted Charney out as chairman and chief executive, citing misconduct, including allowing the online posting of nude photos of a former employee who was suing him. The board’s vote immediately suspended Charney from his CEO job, pending an ongoing investigation into his behavior, although a 30-day wait is required for termination under his employment contract.

American Apparel argued Tuesday that Lion Capital can’t call in the loan until July 19, when Charney is slated to be officially fired as CEO, according to the filing.

Representatives for Lion Capital and American Apparel declined requests for comment.

The latest turn of events adds even more uncertainty.

lRelated Company TownAmerican Apparel sorry for using Challenger disaster photoSee all related8

American Apparel is seeking permission from other lenders to pay Lion. If it can get that approval, American Apparel said it would be able to pay off the loan.

But the company warned that if those lenders don’t permit the repayment, other defaults may loom, which “could result in a material adverse effect on the company and its business.” Although American Apparel didn’t name Capital One in its filing, it has previously said that its revolving line of credit with that company could be called because of a provision that links it to the Lion loan.

The move by Lion raised speculation that the private equity firm, whose purchases have included luxe shoe brand Jimmy Choo and Bumble Bee Foods, is interested in taking over the troubled retailer instead.

American Apparel’s interim chief executive, John Luttrell, has said that the company is not interested in a sale.

Lion Capital, which holds the right to buy a 12% stake in American Apparel, has been lending money to the company since 2009, when Charney first turned to Lea for a cash infusion.

Its current lending agreement includes an unusual provision that allows Lion to call its loan if Charney leaves his CEO job.

Jerry Reisman, a corporate law expert who has worked with the retail industry, said Charney himself may have pushed for that requirement to be written into the loan deal.

“Perhaps Dov had that clause inserted into the loan agreement as a covenant to make sure the company didn’t fire him,” Reisman said.

A person familiar with the matter said that Lea has been supportive during Charney’s time as CEO and would welcome his reinstatement.

The two men appear to share a taste for headline-making pursuits.

Charney has talked openly about having relationships with employees and has been sued several times for sexual harassment. He has personally photographed women in provocative poses for company advertisements.

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Lea, a former director of American Apparel, has developed a reputation for throwing decadent parties in his California mansion, where sushi reportedly has been served on the bodies of scantily clad women.

Both men are 45, born days apart in January 1969. Both have ties to Canada: Charney was born in Montreal, and Lea went to college at the University of Western Ontario.

Observers say that it’s too early to tell what Lion’s plan is for American Apparel, and whether the investment firm really backs Charney.

Some say the company may be finally throwing in the towel and walking away from a highly risky bet; others say the company may have called in the loan to pressure the board to accept a buyout offer.

“Lion is first and foremost not a lender, they are a private equity firm that makes controlled investments in consumer brands,” said Lloyd Greif, chief executive of investment banking firm Greif & Co. “It’s right up their alley to potentially buy the company.”

The American Apparel board may have few options left.

The company could pursue a bankruptcy, possibly with a buyer already in place to take it over afterward, said Johnson, the consulting firm executive. Other options include trying to sell more shares, liquidating some assets or finding another lender. But Johnson said that, given the chaos, it is highly unlikely a reputable lender would extend a loan.

“Capital One is probably worried about getting out with the money” already lent out, Johnson said. “The question is, is it throwing good money after bad?”

American Apparel could still be saved with funds from Standard General, the New York hedge fund that controls a 43% stake in the company after reaching a deal with Charney.

Standard General said in a letter to investors last week that it plans to introduce new board members and improve the retailer’s management. The firm said it may use its resources to help American Apparel avoid a bankruptcy or liquidation.

But analysts say that scenario is unlikely.

“I would highly doubt that Standard General is in a position to double down the risk by stepping in and effectively taking the place of Lion Capital,” Greif said.

Greif pointed to Standard’s letter as one sign that the firm’s investors didn’t cheer the deal with Charney.

“The only reason you send a letter like that is if they felt compelled to explain their rationale to all of their institutional investors, to explain why they are dealing with a guy like Dov Charney,” Greif said. “That was a defensive posture.”

Even if American Apparel avoids default, it faces other financial problems. The company has lost nearly $270 million in the last four years and is more than $200 million in debt. It will owe bondholders $13.5 million in interest in October.

For his part, Charney has been keeping a relatively low profile. But photos showing a man who appeared to be Charney visiting an American Apparel store in New York popped up Monday on Instagram.

Jen Snow, who snapped the photos of the man wearing a bright blue T-shirt and white pants and shoes, wrote on Instagram that she asked store employees if the man was Charney.

“One nodded ‘yes’ tentatively,” she wrote. “And the other asked me, ‘And how was your day at work?’ with an intonation of palpable discomfort.”

The visit — if it was by Charney — may have violated the terms of his suspension. A termination letter obtained by the social network Whisper said that Charney is not allowed to visit company facilities, including stores or apartments, during his suspension period.

Twitter: @ByShanLi, @byandreachang

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times […]

Bank Watch: Bank of America joins NY effort to stop payday lending

Bank of America has become the first financial institution to use a tool developed by a New York regulator to crack down on online payday lending in that state, officials announced Monday.

The tool, created by the New York Department of Financial Services, is a database of companies that have faced actions from the department based on evidence of payday lending, the department said. Payday lending in all forms, including online, is illegal in New York.

The Charlotte-based bank will use the tool to identify and stop online payday lending in New York, in the latest move by officials in that state to do something about short-term lending over the Internet. A press release from the Department of Financial Services says Bank of America will use the database to, among other things, identify companies that might be involved in illegal lending.

Nationwide, the online payday lending industry has been under scrutiny by regulators, who say such lenders are attempting to skirt state bans on payday lending by offering loans over the Internet. As regulators across the country increasingly crack down on payday lenders, big banks that finance those businesses have also come under scrutiny.

“Our administration is continuing to aggressively combat online payday lending, and today we are urging the private sector to join us in protecting New Yorkers from this illegal activity,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “I applaud Bank of America for stepping up as an industry leader in this area and doing the right thing to help safeguard New York’s consumers.”

In an email to the Observer, Bank of America spokeswoman Anne Pace said the New York initiative provides the bank with another tool to help protect its customers from predatory lending practices in New York. The bank will use the database to spot and manage potentially problematic activity affecting customers who have deposits in the bank, she said.

Payday loan businesses are banned in North Carolina, but state officials say that hasn’t prevented the products from being offered here.

Late last year, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper filed suit against South Dakota-based payday lender Western Sky. In filing the suit, Cooper said more than 100 complaints had been logged with his office about the company.


More than Cash Advances


Jan 08, 2014 | Vote0 0More than Cash Advances More than Cash Advances 1-866-205-CASHplay/pause


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It happens to everyone. You’re short on cash and it’s still three days until payday. So you’re at Money Mart for a quick cash advance, but there’s more errands to be done and you’re not only strapped for cash, but time as well. Where else can you trade some unwanted gold for money, exchange foreign currency, process and claim your income tax and register for a new VISA prepaid card? Turns out you’re already there. “I think a lot of people are under the misconception that Money Mart only offers quick and convenient payday loans,” says Nancy Fuschino, Money Mart Senior Product Manager for Precious Metals and Currency Exchange. “But we have many other financial services that are just as convenient and valuable to our clients.”

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Making it easier than ever to make some quick money is Money Mart’s Cash for Gold program. Any gold or silver jewelry can be brought into the store, assessed on the spot and then traded for instant cash. “The convenience of this service is there’s no credit checks or holds,” says Fuschino. “Once the jewelry is in our hands and assessed, the money is instantly theirs.” If you prefer safely and securely mailing your jewelry instead, simply fill out the online form to receive a mail-in kit, and a cheque will in turn be mailed back. Money Mart customers can also choose to receive a secured cash 365-day loan against the value of their gold, with the option to buy it back at any time within the year, at a low interest rate.

Currency exchange is another popular service Money Mart offers. “A lot of banks are trying to get away from exchanging money so we’re able to offer very competitive rates and hold a lot more currencies than they do,” says Fuschino. Money Mart stocks a variety of currencies in store so they are readily available to their customers.

Also available at Money Mart: Titanium+® Visa® prepaid credit cards, tax preparation, electronic bill payment services, and Western Union money transfers and orders. Whatever your financial needs, Money Mart has you covered.

Visit to find the location nearest you or call 1-866-205-CASH. (Pawn service offered in select stores) .

Money Mart® is a registered service mark of National Money Mart Company. Titanium+® is a registered service mark of Nextwave Card Corp. Visa is a registered service mark of Visa International Service Association. Western Union® is a registered service mark of Western Union Holdings, Inc. © 2013 National Money Mart Company. All rights reserved.


Title Loan Company Continues to Grow Throughout New Mexico


TitleMax does not check your credit so it doesn’t matter if you have good, bad, or no credit. You can still be approved for a title loan as long as you have a clear car title.

Albuquerque, NM (PRWEB) May 24, 2014

TitleMax, one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing car title loan companies, is continuing to grow throughout the Western region of the United States including new store locations in Albuquerque, NM. Since opening its first store in New Mexico, July 2013, TitleMax has opened seven additional locations throughout the Greater Albuquerque-Santa Fe Area including the following cities: Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Clovis, and Los Lunas. Residents throughout these areas can visit these locations for all of their car title loan needs. To find a TitleMax closest to you, click Title Loans Stores.

TitleMax offers individuals with little, no, or even bad credit the opportunity to get a cash loan up to $10,000 based on collateral, not credit history. Store hours are Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“TitleMax offers quick, cash title loans while providing superior customer service,” said Otto Bielss, Senior Vice President of Operations for TMX Finance. “TitleMax does not check your credit so it doesn’t matter if you have good, bad, or no credit. You can still be approved for a title loan as long as you have a clear car title.”

About Car Title Loans

A car title loan is a fast way for credit-challenged individuals to secure the short-term cash they need. To get a TitleMax car title loan in New Mexico, an individual must have a clear, or lien-free, car title and a government-issued ID. With these items, an individual can obtain a loan up to $10,000, while still maintaining the use of their vehicle. No insurance is required, there are no credit checks, and most loans can be completed in as little as 30 minutes.

About TitleMax

TitleMax, a subsidiary of TMX Finance, provides financial products to people without access to traditional credit alternatives. TitleMax has been a trusted consumer lender for over 14 years, helping hundreds of thousands of people in getting cash when they need it. Since its inception in 1998, TitleMax has grown to over 1,350 stores, spanning 16 states and provides car title loans to over 2,500 people each day.

Please visit for more information on car title loans and how TitleMax can be of service.


Beware of advance-fee loan scams

These schemes victimize desperate people who go online searching for a loan.

In the most recent scam, thieves are using the name (Blazer Financial Services) and address of a former loan company that has been out of business in the Macon area for many years. Similar scams around the nation have used hundreds of company names and addresses to dupe consumers.

In virtually all cases, the consumer said he or she applied for a loan online and was then contacted by phone or e-mail.

Scammers demanded that consumers take out insurance coverage on the loans by loading cash onto Green Dot MoneyPak cards and then forwarding the access codes. Usually, they demand between $600 and $3,000 to secure the loan. After receiving the first payment, the scammers demand additional payments until their victims run out of money or catch on.

Such Green Dot transactions are difficult to trace. Other phony loan companies have used Western Union or MoneyGram to obtain payments.

The scammers use authentic-looking loan documents and elaborate Web sites, but it is illegal for any company making loans by phone to take up-front fees.

Typically, the phony loan businesses change their names and addresses every two to three weeks in attempts to keep a step ahead of law enforcement, the Better Business Bureau and angry victims.

The BBB offers the following advice when looking for a personal loan:

• Be wary of applying for online loans through unfamiliar businesses or Web sites. Many of these sites are run by scammers or by people who sell your information to scammers.

• Do not send money by wire transfer or prepaid card. Once it is sent, you have very little recourse.

• Understand that any business operating by phone and charging insurance or other fees in advance of making a loan is operating illegally.

• Do not do business with anyone who cannot give you an address that you can confirm.

• Make sure you under­stand all requirements before entering an agreement.

If you’ve been victimized, file complaints with:

• Federal Trade Com­mission at

• Internet Crime Com­plaint Center (iC3) at if the scheme occurred online or by e-mail.

• Your state’s Office of Consumer Protection or Attorney General’s Office.

• Better Business Bureau at

• If you were asked to wire money to Canada, file a complaint with Canadian law enforcement by calling (888) 495-8501 or e-mailing