Issued By
North Yorkshire
County Council

DON'T SIGN UP FOR 'EASY' CASH ON THE DOORSTEP


HOUSEHOLDERS in the county are being warned by North Yorkshire county council's trading standards officers about doorstep cold callers offering cash loans at their homes.

They fear that people might be tempted to take advantage of the cash on offer, particularly in the run up period to Christmas.

Complaints reported to the service have shown that interest rates charged for these loans are sometimes in excess of 1000% APR.

One such incident in Malton involved a group of doorstep traders cold calling on consumers’ homes offering immediate cash loans. This act in itself of offering unsolicited cash loans at someone's house is an offence against the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Councillor Carl Les, the county council's executive member for business and community services, said: "The Consumer Credit Act legislation was made to protect consumers from high pressure doorstep selling techniques, where householders are pressurised into signing loan agreements at grossly overpriced credit charges.

“An example of the type of loan provided is usually around the £100 mark and the interest charged over a short period of only a few weeks works out at over half the amount borrowed. The calculation of the actual annual percentage interest rate (APR) works out to be many hundreds of per cent. This is a despicable practice particularly in a climate where interest rates on loans are at a virtual all time low and these sharp practices are aimed at vulnerable low income householders."

Trading standards officers warn that such incidents are more common then people think. Salesmen prey on those who are desperate for money, and as such their victims rarely report it to the authorities. But these are the people who can least afford the extortionate interest rates.

MORE…………..
Any householders who have been approached in such a way are urged to report the matter to the North Yorkshire County Council trading standards service on 01609-768606. People who have debt problems may get practical advice from their local Citizens Advice Bureau.

NOTE TO EDITOR: Picture Caption-Councillor Carl Les (left), executive member for trading standards and Stuart Pudney, head of trading standards and regulatory services promote the doorstoppers campaign and new hotline number.

27/11/03

Contact: Len Swift on 01609 768612

Executive member: Councillor Carl Les (Con) 01677-423702 Mob: 07860-639600
Group spokespeople: Councillor Steve Shaw-Wright (Lab) 01757-708849; Councillor Mrs Caroline Seymour (Lib-Dem) 01642-710382