Citizens Advice reported payday lender ‘Toothfairy Finance’ to OFT
Four payday lenders and three debt collection firms reported to OFT by Citizens Advice are no longer operating
Consumer body Citizens Advice reported ‘alarming’ business practices of the payday lender Toothfairy Finance to the OFT.
Citizens Advice presented a dossier of evidence to the OFT in February 2013 asking them to take immediate action to stop four payday lenders and three debt collection companies trading.
The evidence provided by Citizens Advice sparked formal investigations and Citizens Advice continued to provide OFT with consumer complaints. All of the companies it reported are no longer able to lend money or collect debts.
The firms were Tooth Fairy Finance, Easy Finance Club and Community Pay Day who all came under the licence of Web Loan Processing Limited who went into administration in November 2013. Linked companies Marshall Hoares Bailiffs Limited and Northern Debt Recovery Limited surrendered their licences. CIM Technologies Limited licence lapsed in April 2013 which means it can no longer operate.
The other payday lender was MCO Capital Limited (which ran Speed Credit) and was shut down by the OFT in March 2013.
The consumer body uncovered the following problems with Toothfairy Finance, and associated debt collection firms Marshall Hoares Bailiffs Ltd (previously Toothfairy Cheque Cashing Ltd) and Northern Debt Recovery Ltd:
- Taking further, hefty, payments from borrower’s bank accounts even after the loan had been paid off.
- Abusive and aggressive staff making frequent telephone calls and text messages to customers.
- Pretending that they were bailiffs and threatening to enter the customer’s home to seize their belongings.
- Unwillingness to accept payment plans from people in debt or bureaux acting on their behalf.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:
“This sends a strong message to unscrupulous companies that exploiting customers does not deliver a sustainable business. The sharp practices employed by these firms were particularly alarming and caused significant distress for customers.
“In some cases, people were subject to constant harassment, left seriously out of pocket and given no option to get on top of their debts. What was supposed to be a quick fix turned into a debt nightmare.
“There is now an onus on the company which has bought the loans to treat people fairly and within the law.
“This case is a timely reminder of the need for tough action against a booming payday loan industry that is preying on its customers. It is vital that the Financial Conduct Authority sticks to its guns to clamp down on payday lenders and debt collectors to make sure people are treated fairly. The regulator must put new applications to lend money or collect debts under serious scrutiny.”
Citizens Advice gathers a wealth of evidence on the detriment caused by businesses to consumers through its advice work. The consumer body uses it evidence to press regulators to take action and will continue to do so when the FCA takes over responsibility for consumer credit.
Notes to editors
- Today, Friday 10 January, the OFT has announced it was investigating Toothfairy Finance.
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
- To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at www.adviceguide.org.uk
- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or 08454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.6 million problems from April 2012 to March 2013. For full 2012/2013 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 22,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.