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his employer will be notified if he does not pay .up at once. The next step
for the purchaser is to the loan shark's office.
Ignorance, and the usual fear of a legal-appearing document, makes
the victim easy picking for the instalment house. Put to the test, with the
purchaser having the backing of his employer, the instalment house seldom
carries the wage assignment to court It is a last resort and the burden
id placed on the purchaser.
The majdrity of court tests on wage assignments are started by the
purchaser. But such procedure costs money. The purchaser is poor, and,
rather than go farther into debt, he allows himself to be plucked.
A wife assigns her husband's wages when making a purchase, and, if
necessary, the instalment house files a claim with the husband's employer.
Lawyers differ as to whether such a
contract is binding.
In one case an instalment house
even tried to collect on a man's wages
for a bill his sister-in-law had-contracted.
The Day Book has discovered the
system by which these instalment
houses prey on, their purchasers.
From day to day it will uncover the
procedure, and show up these self
styled philanthropists in their true
All the records of the cases which
will be related are on file in the of
fices of the Legal Aid Society, which
is doing its best to rescue the victims
of the wage assignment oppression.
It is significant that in the majority
of cases it undertakes the Legal Aid
Society is successful in forcing the
instalment houses to stop hounding
the purchasers, and take only a fair
The instalment houses do not like
publicity. They do not want litiga
tion. Weber's Department Store, Clark
and Van Buren streets, one of the
chief filers of wage assignments, will
have nothing to do with the Legal
Aid, according to an attache of that
office. They prefer to deal with the
victims, realizing that the latter are
frightened by a printed form which
has the appearance of a legal docu
ment. The experience of Edward McCul
lough, an expressman, 4214 Normal
avenue, is typical of the system of
Herbert L. Joseph & Co., who deal in
clothes and jewelry on the instalment
plan, at State and Quincy streets.
McCullough makes $15 a week, is
married and has three children, the
oldest three years old and the young
est three weeks.
His first experience with the Jos
eph Company was about April, 1909.
McCullough was to be married, and
went to the instalment house to pur
chase a wedding ring and a suit of
clothes. For the ring he paid $10,
for the supt $27
He was to pay at the rate of $1 a
McCullough says he paid his bill
in full, and got his final receipt. He
was annoyed by an agent from Jos
eph's, but showed his receipts, and
was let alone.
At" this time McCullough had a lit
tle business of his own. His estab
lishment burned down, and the re
ceipts were destroyed in 1912.
October 8, 1912, McCullough began
work for the Valvoline Co., 7 S. Dear
Three months ago, he says, an
agent of Joseph & Co. came to him
and threatened to garnishee his
wages unless he paid $1 a week. Mc
Cullough says he had not purchased
anything from 1909 until the time he
was threatened. He claims he had
paid his bill in full.
The receipts were burned up, but
his assertion that he had paid in full!
is borne out by the fact that he was
let alone from 1909 until 1913, four
years. If he had not paid up his
wages would have been assigned Ion
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