When it comes to doorstep loans be careful. You only have to search the internet to read some of the horror stories and adverse press relating to doorstep loans – a quick search just now uncovered headlines suggesting that doorstep lenders are preying on those in debt and targeting the venerable, doorstep lenders make money out of misery, debt-ridden disabled people are turning to doorstep lenders to make ends meet, the dangers of doorstep loans, families resort to doorstep loans to pay for Christmas.
We’re not suggesting that home credit is all bad and, when used correctly, like most products it will have a place in society. What we are saying though is think carefully and take steps to make sure you find the right product and that you deal with the right lender.
Legal Doorstep Lenders
Make sure that any potential lender is operating within the law. The lender must be licensed – it’s a strict legal requirement. Consumer Credit Licenses are issued by the Office of Fair Trading and can be checked on the OFT website www2.crw.gov.uk
If you are considering a doorstep loan always ask to see the lenders license if they have not already shown it to you – if they can’t show you the license don’t deal with them as they are an illegal lender, affectionately known as a loan shark.
For your safety and the safety of others you should report them also. This can be done both anonymously and confidentially as follows:
England – Illegal Money Lending Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scotland – Illegal Money Lending Team: email@example.com
Wales – Illegal Money Lending Unit: firstname.lastname@example.org
Northern Ireland – Trading Standards Consumerline: www.consumerline.org
The Highest Standards Of Home Credit
Expect high standards of business and consumer relations which is exactly what the Consumer Credit Association, the trade association for the home credit industry throughout the UK and Republic Of Ireland, was set up to deliver.
Look out for their logo (right) visit their website www.ccauk.org and choose a lender who belongs to the CCA and you can be assured of high standards. The CCA has its own code of practice which was launched in 1984 and now sets the benchmark for doorstep lending.
To maintain the high standards required of their members discipline has always been part of the Code. The association has the power to take the ultimate sanction of expulsion should any member not comply. There are specific processes set out in the Code in respect of customers, members and the Consumer Credit Association.
Compare Doorstep Loans
Doorstep loans can be a very expensive way of borrowing so compare your loan to make sure you get the best deal. You can compare home credit loans on Lenders Compared, an independent comparison website at http://www.lenderscompared.org.uk/
Lenders Compared is completely free to use and is an independent price comparison website with a focus on doorstep loans. The aim is simple – to help you find the best doorstep collection loan and the best deal. They’re not there to promote or sell you anything and there are no sponsored results or other adverts on this site – it’s just a fair, independent price comparison site for the home credit industry which you will find advertised on and linked from all reputable lenders websites and literature and is funded by the many large, reputable home credit companies.
The website was set up after the Competition Commission’s investigation into the home credit industry. The Competition Commission is an independent public body. It aims to ensure healthy competition between companies in the UK for the benefit of companies, customers and the economy.
Challenge And Complain If It Doesn’t Seem Right
Know where to complain if things aren’t right. If your lender is a CCA member it’s straightforward. Simply visit the Consumer Credit Association website at www.ccauk.org download their code of practice and follow the instruction on how to register a complaint against a member company.
There are also strict laws surrounding home credit – for example, it’s a criminal offence to attempt to make a cash loan away from trade premises unless the lenders visit is made to a home as a result of a written, signed instruction.
If you feel that an agreement may not have been properly made you should seek the help of a legal adviser – try the Citizens Advice Bureau which is a completely free service. If the agreement has not been properly made there may be no obligation to repay the loan. You can visit a local branch of the CAB or click on their website: http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/
Doorstep Loans Are NOT A Solution For Debt
Finally, it can be incredibly tempting to turn to a doorstep lender if you have bills or financial commitments that you are struggling to pay. In this situation a doorstep loan may not be the answer – borrowing at high interest may provide a quick fix it will only compound the problem in the long run. There are other solutions if you are struggling with money and there are plenty of free debt charities ready and willing to help.