Loan sharks problems - what are your legal rights?
18 January 2013
Loan Sharks, otherwise known as "illegal money lenders" are on the increase as consumers find it more and more difficult to obtain loans from high street banks.
What is a Loan Shark?
To be able to lend money in the UK money lenders must have a consumer credit licence form the Office of Fair Trading. The OFT regulates licensed money lenders making sure that they comply with legal obligations in dealing with customers, including the use of proper paperwork and fair collection methods.
Loan sharks operate outside of the law and as such they will often offer cash loans without paperwork, charge extortionate rates of interest, and often use violence and harassment to plunge venerable people into a 'cycle of debt'.
Under no circumstances what so ever go to a loan shark!
Do I have to pay back a loan shark?
NO, Illegal money- lending debts are normally NOT enforceable by law.
If you have borrowed money from a loan shark you are under no legal obligation to repay the debt.
You should immediately contact your local Trading Standards office.
I'm being harassed by a money lender, what can I do?
Any lender – licensed or unlicensed – who harasses you is breaking the law. You should report any lender who is harassing you to your local Trading Standards office and to the police if any threats or violence are made.
How do I find out if a lender is a loan shark?
The Consumer Credit Public Register lists everyone with an OFT licence as well as everyone who has applied for one or has had one taken away or suspended.
To search the public register, telephone 020 7211 8608 between 9:30am and 4pm Monday to Friday.
If a lender isn't listed as having a current licence, don't borrow money from them.
It's free to get basic information from the register, including trading names and the activities for which a business is licensed.
Report a loan shark
0300 555 2222
Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm
Text LOAN SHARK and the lender's details to 60003
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