Wonga letter scandal
Wonga has been very much in the news for the last couple of months, but what is of particular legal interest is the latest development, which has seen Wonga ordered to pay a total of £2.6M to compensate around 45,000 customers.
This Order has been made by the Financial Conduct Authority, which oversees lenders and financial institutions. Wonga’s offence was writing letters giving the impression that those letters had come from law firms, and threatening legal action, and then adding charges to the customers’ bills to “cover administration fees for sending the letters”. Why this is of particular interest to Caversham Solicitors is that these tactics are quite widely used, and many times we have taken issue with finance houses and their (suspected fictitious) law firms about this practice. Wonga were not found to have crossed the line to have been pretending to be a firm of solicitors, which is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment, but the letters which originated from Wonga gave the appearance of having come from (non-existent) solicitors firms. An FCA spokesman said “Wonga’s misconduct was very serious”.
Caversham Solicitors’ very strong advice if you receive such a letter, perhaps as a result of falling behind with hire purchase or loan repayments, is that you contact us right away. Delay of itself can have serious consequences, because normally the creditor will pile on the pressure with more letters and more charges: so act quickly.
To discuss your circumstances please contact Robert Last on 01189 478638.