Official warning: the latest lenders you need to steer clear of

posted by in Debt, Debt Law

If you’re thinking about taking out a loan, you should beware of unauthorised lenders, according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

You might remember that back in December, we told you about the FCA’s warning about 15 lenders to avoid over the festive season.

Since the start of this year, they’ve issued a further 44 warnings about lenders who they believe are working without official permission or authorisation.

Why is it a big deal if a firm isn’t authorised by the FCA?

Almost all firms and individuals carrying out consumer credit activities in the UK, such as lending money or offering debt advice,  should be authorised by the FCA. However there are still some firms that act without their permission.

This leaves anyone who borrows from these firms vulnerable, as they won’t have the protection of a regulatory body to ensure they’re treated fairly.

When a firm has authorisation and permission to trade from the FCA it means there’s more protection for you as a customer, and an assurance that the company will follow the rules. Having no protection could lead to unfair treatment, such as inflated interest rates or upfront fees.

So who’s on the list?

The following firms are among the 44 who have received warnings since the start of the 2016 and the FCA believe are working without authorisation:

For the full list, please see the FCA’s News List.

While the sites listed by the FCA are simply not regulated, this also exposes a wider issue, that some loans could potentially be scams.

How can I protect myself from unauthorised firms?

The FCA strongly advise you to only deal with firms that are authorised by them. You can find out more by checking the Financial Services Register and Consumer Credit Interim Permission register.

If a firm doesn’t appear on the Register but claims it does, you should contact the FCA Consumer Helpline on (freephone) 0800 111 6768.

I’ve used or have been approached by one of these firms – what can I do?

If you think you’ve been approached by an unauthorised firm or contacted about a scam get in touch with the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

Be aware that if you give money to an unauthorised firm, you won’t be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong. If you’ve given any money to one of these companies there’s no way for the Ombudsman or FSCS to intervene on your behalf.

If you’re struggling with your finances after taking out one of these loans, or are considering applying for a loan, get in touch with us. We can help you put together a budget and look into any debt solutions that may be available instead.

Our online advice tool Debt Remedy can help you put together a personal action plan in around 20 minutes.

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Laura Davies joined the MoneyAware team in May 2014 from a background in public relations. Outside of work, Laura enjoys travelling, reading, drinking tea and spending too much time on Buzzfeed.

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  • rosario guarisco

    hi ,can you help, my cousin has same name as me made sam debts know ther on my credit file can they be removed