People struggling with debt urged to seek help at free drop-in sessions
On the day controversial payday lender Wonga revealed they made more than a million pounds a week last year, Flintshire Citizens Advice have urged people to seek debt advice.
Wonga, reported a pre-tax profit of £84.5m for 2012, an increase of 35% on the previous year, they lent £1.2bn in total, an increase of 68%.
Many “payday loan” firms target people who cannot get a loan from a High Street bank.
Citizens Advice urges payday lenders to focus on treating customers fairly rather than growing profits regardless of the cost to consumers.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Payday lenders’ profits come directly from the pockets of consumers, many of whom turn to them out of desperation rather than choice.
“The payday loans industry must focus on boosting customer welfare, rather than boosting profits at the expense of hard-pressed householders who struggle to pay back unaffordable loans.
Our evidence shows persistent, deep-rooted problems with the way payday lenders treat their customers, so we want to see lenders’ focus shift from increasing profits even further to looking at how they can tackle their customers’ complaints and become more responsible lenders.
“Consumers are already bombarded with glossy payday loan adverts which mask the misery of a life in debt. We want people to fight back and report irresponsible and misleading adverts as well as fighting irresponsible lenders
For those struggling with debt and considering a payday loan, Flintshire Citizens Advice Bureau are holding debt drop-in advice sessions every Tuesday at its Deeside office, from 9am until 12.30pm.
Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant said:
“Unfortunately, due to cuts to benefits and other economic pressures, many people have found themselves struggling to make ends meet.
“While I and volunteers at the CAB would advise people to avoid payday lenders and ‘quick fix’ loan companies, some feel there is nowhere else to turn in their circumstances.
“These weekly sessions can offer a real lifeline to people who are unsure of the next steps to take to tackle their debt problems and the advice offered by volunteers is excellent.
“They will also be happy to give tips on how to avoid problems in the future and other help available in the local area.”
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