MP slams rent-to-own retailers

Reporter:

Amy Sargeson

A Labour MP has described what rent-to-own retailers are legally allowed to charge for basic household items as “totally immoral”.

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones, who is a member of the Debt and Personal Finance All Party Parliamentary Group, is calling on the UK Government to bring in much tougher regulation to tackle the amount that rent-to-own retailers are allowed to charge.

In her first term in parliament, Ms Jones was part of a successful cross-party campaign that saw financial caps imposed on payday lenders.

She said: “A lot was done to toughen the rules and regulations around Pay Day loans a few years ago. Intensive campaigning meant that from January 2, 2015, there’s been an interest cap on payday loans of 0.8 per cent per day and no borrower should have to pay back more than twice what they have borrowed.

“This is something the Financial Conduct Authority has enforced strictly and the changes were much-needed.

“However the same does not apply when it comes to stores like Bright House and other rent-to-own outlets.

“As far as I can see, the current set-up just takes advantage of people who have little or no savings, and are forced to pay by installments. It just isn’t right.”

Ms Jones also pointed out a Beko Double Oven electric cooker can be bought from Tesco Direct for £239, but buying the same appliance through Bright House would cost £858 – when spreading the payment over three years and taking into account installation and delivery.

“Take for instance how much you would have to pay for a Beko Double Oven electric cooker. You can currently buy one of these from these from Tesco Direct for £239

The Clwyd South MP added: “Even if you paid for it over a year, you’d still be talking about £553.28 – a huge difference from what ordinary stores charge.

“A recent report by the End Child Poverty coalition is calling on the Government to back more effective regulation of rent-to-own while also improving access to interest-free credit from the State.

“These are the sort of practical, cost-effective ideas that I and others would like to see implemented – and we will continue to campaign on this issue.”

Email:

amy.sargeson@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Free Press

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