Credit firms face cold calling ban

Credit firms will be banned from cold calling consumers if a super-complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) filed by Citizens Advice is approved.
A super-complaint can be made by a designated consumer group if it believes an issue is “significantly harming the interests of consumers”. The OFT has 90 days to respond by stating what action, if any, it plans to take on the issue and the reasons behind its decision.
The issue centres on the rise of unscrupulous credit businesses cashing in on people needing loans during tough economic times.
Citizens Advice claims fraudsters are telemarketing consumers to offer them loans before charging them hefty up-front fees. Loans often fail to materialise and victims are then charged a premium rate when calling to complain.
Some victims have even been persuaded to hand over their bank details and later found that money had been taken from their account without permission.
After trying to complain, victims are then inundated by calls and text messages offering loans or debt management services from other firms.
The chief executive of Citizens Advice in England and Wales, Gillian Guy, said: “This problem is set to grow much worse. The framework of consumer protection about unsolicited marketing and up-front fees charged by credit brokers is not only complex, but loopholes give too much room for bad practice to flourish.
“We believe that the Consumer Credit Act and data protection legislation need to be urgently updated to tackle these problems at root cause.”

Related stories:
Joint attack on £3.5bn scammers
OFT in ‘cash for gold’ clampdown

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