Wonga Boss Grilling

November 5, 2013 by  

Wonga Boss Grilling, Wonga’s chief operating officer warned against “jumping to conclusions” about the firm, as he goes before the Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee

The website of payday loan company Wonga
Payday lender Wonga has defended its business practices ahead of a grilling by MPs.

Wonga’s chief operating officer Niall Wass warned against “jumping to conclusions” about his company, after a report found “deep-rooted” problems in the way payday lenders attract and treat customers.

Mr Wass said: “I am not sitting here today saying that everything we do is perfect; what we are trying to do is use great technology to give a really fair, transparent service to customers.”

Mr Wass challenged the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, who has criticised payday loan companies, to use Wonga services.

“What I am asking him and others to do – go use the service, see if you think it is fair and transparent, take out £30 for 10 days, pay it back after a week and then judge us by our customers,” he said.

His remarks came as Wonga made a film showing the positive experience of the “silent majority” of its customers, ahead of a session in the House of Commons when MPs will question payday loan companies.

Representatives from Wonga, QuickQuid and Mr Lender – three of the biggest payday lending firms – will appear before the Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee.

MPs are expected to follow up on the damning report by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which criticised payday loans for the way they attract and treat customers.

Lenders have come under intense scrutiny from the Competition Commission and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) since the OFT report was published in September amid reports of widespread impropriety in the sector.

The committee hearing pre-empts the transferral of regulatory powers in the consumer credit market from the Office of Fair Trading to the FCA on April 1 2014. The new body, which came into being in April this year, has promised to strengthen protection for consumers.

To do so, it has been equipped with the power to impose unlimited fines and compel businesses to give people their money back when they have lost out due to poor treatment.

New curbs proposed by the body in October will force lenders to place “risk warnings” on their promotions and advertising, urging consumers to “think” before taking out a payday loan.

Richard Lloyd, the executive director of Which?, will also appear before the committee today. He welcomed the FCA’s new role but said “the Government and regulators must go further to clean up the wider credit market”.

Consumer Minister Jo Swinson said a “huge amount” had already been done by the Government to tackle concerns over payday lending.

“We are already taking enforcement action which has seen 25 payday lending firms leave the market in their entirety,” she told ITV Day Break.

“While … some customers manage OK with this type of lending when it is for an unbudgeted emergency, when it is actually a sign of deeper financial problems, if you can’t afford to make ends meet at the end of the month, then actually what people need is not a loan, it is some debt advice.”

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