Usury is a crime that is characterized by the granting of a loan at an interest rate higher than the established ‘threshold’ rate, which is calculated by increasing the average Global Effective Rate (TEGM) by a quarter, plus a margin of further four percentage points. The difference between the limit and the average rate can not exceed eight percentage points. The rate is recorded every three months by the Bank of Italy on behalf of the Minister for the Economy and Finance and published in the Official Gazette. You can also find it among the frequently asked questions of the Master Loan website.
In a period of prolonged economic crisis like the one we are experiencing, it may be easier to find ourselves in difficult situations: loans or loans previously contracted can become difficult (if not impossible) to be repaid. And it is precisely in situations of great difficulty that the usurers try to enter. Money that apparently may seem easy to obtain but inevitably ends up dragging the victim into increasingly harder situations to manage. It is no coincidence that Law 108/96 defines usury as a “serious social crime”.
A situation of difficulty can arise as over-indebtedness that becomes impossible to manage and that can lead to the search for new sources of financing to continue to return the money we have received. The risk of going from over-indebtedness to being a victim of usury can, in some cases, be very high.
If we are therefore in a situation of indebtedness that we can not manage, the first step is probably the comparison with the credit institution that we are repaying, to request a restructuring of the debt, to obtain new conditions that allow us to pay the installments with more tranquility until the extinction of the debt.
That’s why, before asking for any loan, we should evaluate our economic situation and our credit history to see if we can support the repayment of the installments. To do this you can turn to tools like Mettinconto, which allows us to evaluate our credit information and plan our debt responsibly.
The law against usury provides, in addition to penalties for those who commit the crime, also a series of tools to help victims. Often the stories of wear and tear are not told, out of shame or fear, but it is necessary to contact the police forces as soon as possible or at an anti-usury center to denounce the usurer and to begin a return journey to normality.