Today I have written to financial and consumer affairs bodies and the Minister for Consumer Affairs Jo Swinson about a ridiculous situation which a constituent raised with me.
A constituent of mine was contacted by pay day loan company Quick Quid incorrectly informing him that he owed them money and was at risk of this being passed on to a debt recovery company. What was particularly surprising is that the man has NEVER had any loan with Quick Quid!
He contacted the company and was told that this was sent in error and that his “account” was “clear.” He was understandably infuriated to hear that his “account” was “clear” because he never had any account with the company!
I make no secret of my view that companies like this target vulnerable people and trap them in a cycle of debt and should be regulated. However this story raises further questions about the practices they engage in.
I understand that Quick Quid issued a statement saying that many “customers” had been contacted by accident and attributing this to error. Firstly this added to the ridiculousness of the situation as my constituent and many of the other people contacted were not “customers” of Quick Quid but simply people whose details the company had got hold of.
Secondly I don’t think it is acceptable to simply explain this as an “error” and leave it at that. I cannot understand the process which starts with Quick Quid acquiring somebody’s contact details and ends with them being notified that they owe money on an “account.” I strongly believe that a proper explanation needs to be got from the company as to how information which they buy for marketing purposes interacts with the live system which they use for managing accounts. I believe that we need proper reassurance that this won’t happen again and this can only be given by an understanding of how it happened in the first place.
My constituent in this instance was thankfully a confident solicitor who was very clear that he had no debt with Quick Quid or anyone like them but had he been less confident or had he held a number of debts or an existing debt with the company, then this email would have been extremely distressing. He also tells me that he had to spend a long time on the phone waiting to resolve this, being offered “roll over” loans (at very high rates of interest) throughout.
I have written to the Financial Conduct Authority, the Office of Fair Trading and the Minister for Consumer Affairs Jo Swinson to see what powers each of them have to investigate this properly.
If anyone else has been affected get in touch... firstname.lastname@example.org 0161 232 0872
I’ll keep you posted!