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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Woman, 90, crippled by loan debts running into thousands

Payday and doorstep lenders have been condemned by Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham as it was revealed that a 90-year-old town woman was allowed to wrack up thousands of pounds of debt.

Ann Pattinson, of Wesley Street, Workington, only found out her mum had taken out the loans after she died.

She found the loan paperwork among her mother’s possessions.

She said: “I came across a letter with all these loans on it and I thought ‘it can’t be right’ and then all these loan books started appearing out of envelopes.

“They loaned her £1,000 with £944 interest and then when she got that down to £624, they gave her another £1,000 loan.

“The repayments were close to £200 a week. She was living on her pension, which was £214 a week and out of that had to pay her rent, gas, electric and food. She couldn’t feed herself.

“We were absolutely flabbergasted. She was a proud little lady. If she’d only told us what trouble she’d got into, we could have helped.”

Her mother looked after Mrs Pattinson’s disabled brother and she claimed that some of the paperwork she found relating to loans was in his name.

Mrs Pattinson added: “It’s despicable. My mum should have been having a carefree life. She was 90.”

Companies which Mrs Pattinson’s mum borrowed from included Provident, Greenwoods, Loans At Home for You and Shopacheck.

Provident said it did not stop offering loans when people reached a particular age but only ever loaned amounts to customers appropriate to their income.

Sir Tony said: “It is a spiral of debt that people can easily get themselves into. A short-term loan can seem like an easy fix.

“But if you don’t read the small print, you won’t realise that some of these companies charge a 3,000 per cent interest rate.

“They are preying on the most vulnerable members of our communities and need to be regulated.”

Latest figures by the StepChange Debt Charity show that Workington is in the top 25 per cent of constituencies for people in debt to short-term loan companies.

Last year, Workington people owed an average of £1,835 – up 110 per cent on 2011 – when they turned to the charity for help.

StepChange said the Workington figures were among the most alarming increases across the country.

Sir Tony said he would support a private member’s bill on high cost credit in Parliament next Friday which, if passed, will bring in regulation for loan firms.

He said: “It can be difficult for people to see which way to turn when faced with financial worries but there are organisations out there, like StepChange, which can help.

“Allerdale Credit Union is also a fantastic organisation, which offers loans at a low rate for people who may be struggling.”

Angela Jones, Cumbria County Council's Trading Standards manager, said: “Instead of helping people ease their debts these types of loans can quickly send debt spinning out of control.

“We want to let people know that if you are struggling financially, borrowing from a doorstep lender is not the answer. We recommend using community-based lenders such as credit unions.”

Have your say

Go to your local Credit Union they are fantastic and will help you out if they can while making there terms and conditions clear and easy to understand and offering low interest rates. Makes a lot more sense than having these high interest companies that only want to take you for as much money as they can.

Posted by Mark on 8 July 2013 at 09:57

I do agree with you 'I' but why take out loans?
If you can not afford to pay up front then do without.
To many people just want everything right away because they think they are entitled to it. No, you have to pay your way through life, be content with what you have and ' never a borrower or lender be '.
I have never borrowed(except for the mortgage which was paid off well within the time period0, but, we keep putting the mortgage money into an account for those rainy days.
Life does not owe you a living, you have to earn it.

Posted by Andy on 5 July 2013 at 17:11

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