The use of loan sharks is on the rise with potentially costly consequences. Here’s a quick guide to why loan sharks are bad news and how you can get help if you have used one.
Why loan sharks are a problem
A loan shark is an unlicensed moneylender. This means they are not regulated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and do not have to follow the OFT’s codes of practice. Because they’re not licensed, loan sharks operate outside the law and this means if you borrow from them you could:
- get a loan on very bad terms
- pay a very high rate of interest
- be harassed if you get behind with your repayments
- be pressured into borrowing more to repay one debt with another.
A recent BBC news article featured at 57-year-old who had been pressured into paying back over 100 times more than she had borrowed!
What about Metropolitan and our customers?
One in six social housing tenants are reported as having made use of a loan shark – a demographic that includes Care and Support customers. Difficulty managing money can contribute to a chaotic lifestyle, ultimately affecting a customers’ ability to live independently. Anyone under pressure from a loan shark is likely to neglect their priority debts, such has rent or heating. It’s important – particularly with the economic conditions – that staff and customers are aware of the dangers of loan sharks.
What to do if you have borrowed from a loan shark?
If you have borrowed money from a loan shark you are under no legal obligation to repay the debt. You should contact your local Trading Standards office immediately on 020 7364 6886. They will help you deal with your situation and the loan shark.
How can I find out more?
You should tell your support worker and contact your regional Illegal Money Lending Team on the details below.
England Illegal Money Lending Team
Tel.: 0300 555 2222
Text: loan(space)shark(space) + your message to 60003