OFT chastises lender for aggressive collection practices

Wonga is at it again: the Office of Fair Trading has condemned the payday loan provider for using misleading and aggressive debt collection practices after a recent investigation into the methods employed by the provider of short term loans.

The OFT found that Wonga has been sending emails and letters by post to a selection of their customers in which allegations were made that these customers had been defrauding the payday advance lender.  These missives contained threats, both implicit and explicit, that Wonga would contact the police unless the recipients of the letter marched to Wonga’s tune – and if these customers ignored these not-so-subtle entreaties, they would instead receive phone calls at all hours..

The Wonga customers selected for the dubious honour of being harassed by the lender were those who had entered into deb management plans or who had reversed card payments made to the lender in order to claim money back from them.  However, the OFT declared that the lender’s behaviour was both misleading and aggressive, warning the firm that if it persisted in using similar business practices, it could face fines a high as £50,000.

Wonga, of course, has begun to backpedal rapidly, claiming that the only letters they sent out were to those customers that could have actually been defrauding the lender.  Moreover, the lender said that the last of these letters was sent out more than 18 months in the past, and that any phone calls that might have been placed had made use of a script that was last used in January of 2010.

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