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Wonga criticised by the OFT

Wonga criticised by the OFT

Category: Loans

Updated: 23/05/2012
First Published: 22/05/2012

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Payday lending firm Wonga has been criticised by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for using 'aggressive' and 'misleading' practices.

It was found that some Wonga staff suggested to customers that had defaulted on their loans that they had committed fraud.

It was also insinuated that Wonga would consider contacting the police if customers did not act as Wonga requested.

The OFT says that the payday lender acted without appropriate justification.

It was also found that the wording in call scripts used by Wonga staff stated that customers with jobs in the public or financial sectors should not find themselves in debt, and that this was stated in their terms of contract.

As a result of the findings, the watchdog has told Wonga that its communication must not, without appropriate justification:

  • allege that a customer has, or may have, engaged in criminal conduct or refer to the consequences of such conduct
  • state that a customer should not be in debt if the customer has a certain employment status or for any other reason.

"We have acted to ensure that Wonga does not behave this way again," said David Fisher, director of consumer credit at the OFT.

"I would like to make it clear to businesses that they must not adopt aggressive or misleading practices with their customers."

The action comes in the midst of an OFT review of payday lending which began in February.

The regulator is to announce its findings and outline a strategy for the sector to raise its standards later this year.

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