The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has been accused of being "too passive" in its approach to regulating consumer credit, particularly with regard to payday loan providers.
A report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) claimed the OFT lacks the necessary information and understanding to effectively regulate credit providers and that its reactive attitude risks leaving serious failings and problems undetected.
It also stated that the OFT does not possess a firm enough understanding of how various types of credit are used and how harmful the implications of not complying with regulations can be for consumers.
The OFT has pledged to crackdown on payday loan companies.
A report published earlier this year by the regulator uncovered a series of inappropriate and irresponsible practices by the fifty largest payday lenders. All lenders were issued with a twelve week turnaround period, which expired at the end of this month, in which to address and improve their practices.
Findings from the OFT's follow-up report are due to be published shortly, although the Government has asked the OFT to outline what action has been carried out as a result of the review and what it is doing to revoke the licences of any firms who have failed to comply.
The report stated: "We are concerned that regulation is not addressing the poor practices of some credit providers, which are leading some consumers into serious difficulties and unmanageable debts.
"We have serious reservations about the predatory techniques used by some home-credit providers to sell and target loans to low-income customers, encouraging people who cannot afford it to take out further loans for new expenditure."
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