The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has revoked Yes Loans’ licence to trade because it found that its business practices were “deceitful and oppressive”.
Yes Loans is a short term loans broker that was apparently misleading its customers into thinking that it was an actual loans provider rather than simply being a broker. At the same time, it was arranging short term loans that were not what their customers had asked for. The loans were usually much more expensive than other products which could have been offered at the same time.
Two businesses that were associated with Yes Loans, Money Worries Limited and Blue Sky Personal Finance have also had their licences revoked because of similar practices.
According to the OFT, Yes Loans, which is one of Britain’s largest short term loans brokers, had put a lot of pressure on customers to reveal their credit card details, apparently so that they could be used for a security check.
The company was also accused of deducting fees for brokerage, despite the fact that they had not advertised the fees in advance.
Yes Loans did try to change some of its practices after an earlier investigation by the OFT, but the watchdog obviously decided that it was too little, too late. The office said that there had been evidence of deceitful and oppressive practices for a long time and this fact, as well as the behaviour of some of the staff in the business, made it unfit to hold a licence.
The OFT’s director, David Fisher, said that the office would take strong action when it found that short term loans businesses were not treating people with respect, especially when they were particularly vulnerable.
He also said that a late change of heart, when only under pressure from the OFT, was not good enough as a sign that the business was fit to trade.
The companies whose licences have been revoked are taking the decision to appeal and are apparently not too repentant about what has been described of their activities. Their licences still hold up right through the appeals process, so they will still be able to trade quite legally. A joint statement from the three companies concerned said that they were very disappointed by the OFT’s decision and were trying to work out what to do next.