On 31 July 2018, the Financial Conduct Authority (“The FCA”) issued a First Supervisory Notice notifying the firm that it had varied its permission to prevent the firm from lawfully:
- Entering into any new regulated credit agreements and credit broking.
This took effect immediately. This means that the firm cannot now lawfully offer regulated credit agreements to finance the purchase of vacuum cleaners in the way that it did previously.
November 2018 update
The First Supervisory Notice also had the effect of removing the firm’s permission to exercise its rights as a lender, which affected its ability to collect debts owed to it under existing credit agreements. This part of the First Supervisory Notice took effect from 1 November 2018.
A Second Supervisory Notice was issued on 20 November 2018 that confirms the FCA’s decision in the First Supervisory Notice to remove the firm’s permission to enter into new agreements, broker agreements and exercise its right as a lender.
What customers should do
Customers who have existing contracts with the firm should consider getting legal advice from a solicitor, legal advice centre or Citizens Advice Bureau. They may wish to take a copy of their paperwork and the First Supervisory Notice to get advice on their legal position.
You can get free and impartial advice from the Money Advice Service. (The Money Advice Service provides independent advice online, or you can call the Money Advice Line on 0800 138 7777).
Please contact the FCA 0800 111 6768 (freephone) or 0300 500 8082, if the firm attempts to sell you a vacuum cleaner on finance.
Why the FCA has taken this action
The FCA found that the firm:
- Sold and brokered regulated credit agreements during cold call visits to customers’ homes in breach of a requirement on its permissions which precluded it from doing so.
- Failed to carry out adequate affordability checks on customers’ ability to repay credit. In at least two cases seen by the FCA, the firm entered into a consumer credit agreement despite being told by the customers that they could not afford the credit.
- Misled the FCA.
- Has close connections with a firm the consumer credit licence of which was revoked by the Office of Fair Trading.
The firm has a right to refer the FCA’s decisions to the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber).