UK Government Must Name And Shame Misleading Credit Companies

12 January 2012

38 out of 47 UK credit companies 'mislead' public

SNP MEP Alyn Smith has called for the UK Government to name and shame online credit companies following a Europe-wide assessment which concluded two-thirds of banks and credit card services are guilty of misleading the public.

Previously Alyn had called on the UK Government to take action against payday loan companies who are offering short-term loans at astronomical rates of interest.

Alyn said:

“The assessment found that two-thirds of 242 banks and another 2320 companies involved in credit card services offering credit products - such as credit cards, personal loans or car loans - either gave deceptive information, omitted essential information or were misleading about costs, with the most common violation being the failure to disclose the annual percentage rate (APR) on credit and whether interest rates are fixed or variable.

“It's worrying, though sadly not surprising, that such a vast number of these companies are falling short of standards required by European law. I am well aware of these sort of problems with credit companies having campaigned on this issue for some time.

"This study included investigation into 47 UK credit websites - 38 of which failed to comply to EU consumer law. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has refused to disclose details of the 47 websites or companies investigated, and declined to confirm whether any of the 47 belonged to state-owned banks.

"I am now calling on the UK Government to name and shame these companies which are guilty of targeting the financially vulnerable. Times are tough and when people sign up to these companies it is often an act of desperation and sadly it frequently ends up with even deeper debt and more financial difficulties. It is shameful that these companies seek to exploit the poorest, most vulnerable in society.

"The UK Government has consistently failed to regulate the financial markets and have done absolutely nothing to reform the system despite an almost global agreement that change must happen. Their ignorance is now leading to misery for thousands of Scots who are turning to these companies as a last resort to make ends meet.”

The ‘sweep’ by national enforcement authorities took place in September last year.

More information can be found here: http://www.euractiv.com/infosociety/website-credit-rip-offs-exposed-sweep-news-510076?utm_source=EurActiv+Newsletter&utm_campaign=6425a59ed4-my_google_analytics_key&utm_medium=email