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Home credit (Doorstep loans)
Reporting a problem to Trading Standards
Trading Standards deal with complex consumer problems and potential criminal activities.
If you want to report a problem to Trading Standards, you should contact the Citizens Advice consumer service, who share information reported to them with Trading Standards.
Home credit, or doorstep loans, is where you borrow money and the lender calls at your home to collect the repayments. The loans are usually for smaller amounts and you will be charged a high rate of interest for borrowing in this way.
Checking a lender is authorised
The law says that home credit lenders have to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Agents of home credit lenders do not need their own FCA authorisation but can come under the authorisation of the lender that they represent.
You can find out whether a home credit lender is authorised by checking the Register on the FCA website at www.fca.org.uk.
If someone offers to lend you money on the doorstep, it's a good idea to ask to see their or their lender’s authorisation. If they don’t have one, they are operating illegally and you should avoid borrowing from them.
For more about illegal lending, see Loan sharks.
Many home credit lenders belong to the Consumer Credit Association (CCA) and follow the CCA Code of Practice. If you have a problem with a CCA member, you can complain to the CCA. You can get more information about the Consumer Credit Association and its code of practice on the CCA website at www.ccauk.org.
It is a criminal offence for a lender to call at your home to offer to lend you money unless the visit is made in response to a written and signed request. If an agreement is not properly made, the lender may not be able to force you to repay the money.
If you are not sure whether an agreement has been properly made, you can get help from an adviser, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.
If a complaint about a home credit lender cannot be resolved with the lender or by the Consumer Credit Association, the compliant can be referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service
You can compare home credit loans on Lenders Compared, an independent comparison website at www.lenderscompared.org.uk.
Doorstep lenders may also offer trading cheques and vouchers. These can be exchanged for goods, usually clothing and soft furnishings and usually at specific shops. You repay the amount to a company agent who normally calls at your home. Interest rates are often high for this type of credit.
For more information about different ways of borrowing money and getting credit including dealing with loan sharks, see Types of borrowing.
You may also find the following Adviceguide information helpful:
- Getting the best credit deal
- Credit cards
- Banks and building societies
- Help with budgeting
- Help with debt in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
- Help with debt in Scotland.
The Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service is a free, independent service. Their website (www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk) has lots of useful information about borrowing and managing your money.
Go to their website for more information about: