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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Unenforceable Loans

It has recently been brought to the Office of Fair Trading's attention that some debt advice companies are using unfair and misleading advertisement to entice people who are struggling financially, to try and claim on unenforceable loans. Some of these debt advice companies do not even have a license to be practicing.

All debt, whether it be a credit card or a loan agreement is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act, which was recently modified in April, 2007. The changes to the Act mean that any credit taken out before April 2007 may not have abided by the new rules. Some people have taken this as an opportunity to question the validity of their loan, and some have had their loans (and their current balances) written off.

The OFT have noticed that the changes in the Consumer Credit Act has created a surge in debt companies offering a service to help them eradicate their 'flawed' debt. Although the OFT recognises that this form of reducing ones debt cannot be avoided, they have deemed some practice's advertisement methods as being deceiving. One firm claimed that 80% of credit agreements could be claimed against. This is extremely misleading as this process isn't as easy as the firm makes out- giving the public false hope that some of their debt can be cancelled quickly and simply.

Many of these firms were operating without a license from the Consumer Credit Act, and even more of these firms were using a misleading advertisement campaign. Breaching the rules of advertisement in this area of the law can leave the firm left to pay a hefty fine- up to £50,000. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is currently investigating ten firms who have used deceptive advertisement to pull in customers, all of which could be facing fines. Also, the OFT and the SRA are clamping down on companies which are offering debt advice but do not have a licence. Practising without a licence can lead to prosecution and a criminal record.
If you are looking to wipe debt, make sure you go to a reputable debt advice company. Make sure the debt advice company you use is fully licensed, and get as much information as you can from the company before you go ahead with this procedure.


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