Lawsuit filed against company with Farmington, Shiprock locations

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FARMINGTON — A Crownpoint couple is claiming a northwest New Mexico company and its subsidiaries violated federal and state laws by failing to fully disclose fees and rates for a tax refund anticipation loan.

William and Sammia DeJolie filed a class-action lawsuit this month in federal court in Albuquerque against T&R Market Inc., Tancorde Finance Inc. and T&R Tax Service Inc.

The 15-page complaint states the couple received a tax refund anticipation loan last November and alleges the companies deceived them by not listing an accurate annual percentage rate and additional charges for tax preparation service.

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T&R Market operates several businesses, including a grocery store and gas station in Gallup, and is the parent company of Tancorde Finance and T&R Tax Service, the complaint states.

Tancorde Finance is identified as the creditor in all tax refund anticipation loans by T&R Tax Service, which has locations in Farmington, Shiprock and Gallup and in Chinle, Ariz.

The DeJolies alleged the companies violated the Truth in Lending Act and the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act, as well as engaging in willful breach of contract, unjust enrichment and civil conspiracy.

According to the complaint, the Truth in Lending Act requires disclosure of credit terms and disclosure of the finance charge for a loan.

The complaint states the DeJolies applied for a "holiday loan" in November 2016 from T&R Tax Service in Gallup because they needed money for travel and to buy food for Thanksgiving.

A "holiday loan" is one of two types of tax refund anticipation loans offered by the tax service. It is offered before tax season in November and December, and the loan amount is based on a refund estimate, then repaid from the actual tax refund, the complaint states.

The DeJolies were approved for a $1,250 loan, and the payment total consisted of the loan amount plus a $250 finance charge and a $25 document fee, according to the complaint.

Court documents further state the contract for the loan showed a 264 percent annual percentage rate, but hidden charges revealed the true annual percentage rate was 385 percent.

In addition to the loan and its associated fees, the DeJolies were charged $157.05 for tax preparation instead of the $145 price listed on an invoice prepared by T&R Tax Service and a credit check fee for $9.75, according to the complaint.

The complaint states the additional fees were not previously disclosed, and the companies did not have contractual right to collect them.

Tony Tanner, co-owner of T&R Market, said on Friday the companies have not received a copy of the complaint.

"We haven't been served yet," Tanner said adding he could not comment until the legal papers are received and reviewed.

Nicholas Mattison, an attorney representing the DeJolies, said the couple filed the complaint after they realized the loan offered by the defendants was higher than expected.

Mattison said the DeJolies hope to get a remedy for themselves and other customers involved in the matter.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

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