Yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle reported that City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a UCL action against a group of "payday loan" firms for "marketing of short-term installment loans at unlawful interest rates to low-income borrowers." A copy of the complaint, which seeks injunctive relief, restitution, and civil penalties under the UCL, is available at this link, along with the city attorney's press release.
The complaint invokes the UCL's "unlawful" prong by alleging violations of the California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law (Fin. Code §§23000 et seq.), the California Finance Lenders Law (Fin. Code §§22000 et seq.), and other laws. The complaint also invokes the "unfair" prong by alleging that the defendants' "lending and brokering practices constitute unfair business practices because they offend established public policy, and because the harm they cause to consumers in California greatly outweights any benefits associated with those practices." This, of course, is the pre-Cel-Tech formulation of "unfair." The complaint's "aiding and abetting" allegations are also interesting.