Is your lender licensed?

Loan_shark_lenders should be licensed

To show you unlicensed lending still goes on there was a conviction on 15 December 2010 against London North Securities Limited (LNS) at Southwark Crown Court for trading without a consumer credit licence between March 2007 and February 2010.

LNS was ordered to pay £400,000 under a confiscation order; money that will be used to compensate up to 56 customers of LNS, with payments ranging from a few hundred pounds to £50,000.

LNS is also required to remove approximately 70 charges that secured debts on borrowers’ properties.

In passing judgment Judge Rivlin, the Recorder of Westminster, said that the way LNS continued to vigorously chase debts while knowingly unlicensed involved ‘very serious instances of unfair and oppressive business practices’ and that it was ‘not difficult to imagine the distress and aggravation suffered by those subject to demands’, which would ‘rightly be regarded by most people as utterly heartless’.  The Judge made reference to the company’s ‘merciless exploitation of ordinary, vulnerable people’ and commented that ‘those who have suffered … should be compensated as quickly as possible’.

Mr Harvey Collis, the sole director of LNS, gave an undertaking to the court that he would never again engage in any activity that requires a consumer credit licence and charges against him were ordered to lie on the file. This means that if he breaches the undertaking and involves himself in licensable activity in any way he is likely to be in contempt of court and subject to imprisonment and/or a fine.

Ray Watson, Director of the OFT’s Consumer Credit Group, said:

‘LNS traded in blatant disregard for the law, and this outcome sends the clearest message to traders that they must be licensed or face action by the OFT. I am delighted that, as a result of the Court’s decision, significant compensation will be paid to borrowers who dealt with LNS while the company was unlicensed’.

Source of article is a press release from the Office of Fair Trading on 16 December 2010.